Saturday, 7 January 2017

You're fooling yourself if you think we're in the age of acceptance

Ben Wardle, an LGBT Ambassador and writer has done some great work - but he ended last year telling us over on The Huffington Post that we are "witnessing an incredible revolution in attitudes to homosexuality". I like the idea, this idea that a dawn is breaking on a new world and I'll rejoice and skip down the street brandishing my rainbows and flaunting my engagement ring and chatting about my future wife to any sucker that will listen - but, the truth is, we're fooling ourselves if we truly believe that times have changed when it comes to acceptance of homosexuality.

It's hard to know where to start on this one, with the shooting in an Orlando gay bar that killed so many people and destroyed the LGBTQIA+ community, made us fearful in a way that in the modern world we have been thankfully mostly shielded from. Perhaps instead we could start with a homophobic president; the fact that nearly half of America thought a man that disregards the rights of thousands purely because of their gender, the person or people that they love was the best man to represent their country. We aren't in the light anymore, one of the most progressive countries when it comes to homosexuality and LGBTQIA+ attitudes has quickly gone from a country wide raising of the same sex marriage ban to many people, quite rightfully, fearing for their lives because of who they are.

Perhaps we should start with the fact that homosexuality is still illegal in 70 countries, still punishable by death in 12. Perhaps we should talk about the fact that people who consider their gender non-binary in my very university are having to fight for the right to change their gender on their registration forms. Perhaps we should talk about the fact that suicide rates, and self harm rates, are just as high in LGBTQIA+ individuals as they ever were, and considerably higher than are shown in their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts. Perhaps we should start with the fact that I only went to buy curly fries last week and the woman in Iceland was so disgusted I kissed my girlfriend when she was scanning my junk food that she felt the need to stare.

Maybe we should start with Trump, or Pence. With the fact that, less than twelve months ago, the UK fell down to third place in LGBTQIA+ rights rankings, or perhaps we should focus on the fact that in the survey to decide the rankings, the EU's financial keystone of Germany scored just 55%. We are on a dawn of something, Wardle is right; we are witnessing an incredible revolution in attitudes; but we're fooling ourselves if we think that rights for LGBTQIA+ individuals are going any way but down.

It's not the time to be complacent about LGBTQIA+ rights, 2017 is the year to claw our way back.

Sammy xo.

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