When was the last time you had to look around before you held your partners hand? Or the last time you squealed at the sight of your community being represented in the media? How about the last time you read a story about your community being victimised and discriminated against because of who they love?
The reason I ask is because Stonewall, a charity there to support and empower the LGBT community; recently released new statistics regarding LGBT Hate Crime and Discrimination in the UK, and the results are still as shocking as ever.
As you’ll probably soon tell I’ve sat on this post for a few days, debating whether to hit publish, as no matter how many times I’ve tried I’ve failed to really write a conclusion to it. I guess until discrimination ends there won’t ever be a conclusion. I guess I also needed to get a few things off my chest.
Definition: A crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.
A hate crime can include but is not limited to; racial or homophobic slurs (that’s so Gay), being refused service because of your sexual orientation or gender, to being verbally or physically abused, and yet it is still so under reported despite the government changing laws regarding how Hate Crime is tackled and courts applying tougher sentences (albeit still not tough enough in some cases) to those that commit Hate Crimes.
So why in 2017 are we still being targeted?
— Amy Nicholson BEM (@GeekyMama85) July 3, 2017
In July, T.rump reinstated the ban on Transgender people from serving in the military! A ban on people wishing to fight and serve their country.
Last week, I read a story about the abuse a gay family received after featuring for 10 seconds as part of an advert about chips. Purely because they were two dads.
And this week Australians (gay or straight) are voting whether same-sex couples can marry in Australia. Voting on whether two people who love each other can marry.
I thought I’d feel happier. Our postal survey letters arrived today, and I thought I’d feel some joy. I thought I’d be happy that 1. They actually arrived, and 2. I’d get to tick the Yes. . But I didn’t feel any joy or satisfaction at all. . I only felt intense sorrow. . I’d walked in the door from working all day in a hospital, kissed my darling wife, and cuddled my excited daughters who clamoured over me to tell me about their day. I’d seen the letters on the table right away and my heart sank, even as they kissed and cuddled me. . As I ate dinner, I opened the letter and thought, “so this is what my beautiful, loving, wonderful marriage has been reduced to.” . The question might as well have read “Should the law change to allow Shan and Zann to marry?” It felt that personal and invasive. It felt like 22 million people were looking directly at us, deciding whether or not we can be legally married based on how they feel. . Yes or No. . As I ticked the Yes, I thought of all people who so easily ticked No. Who, with one simple stroke of their pen, were deciding our fate. . We’re lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family who’ve reassured us that they’re voting yes. One of my beautiful colleagues told me “My husband and I voted Yes. At least ours will cancel out two No votes.” I hugged her. I needed to hear it. . I voted Yes and hated every second of it. . But I love my beautiful wife and our daughters. If we have to do this, I’m doing it for them. . As we sat at the table, ticking the Yes box, my wife said “I’m keeping this letter (the one that came with the survey) so that one day I can show our girls what we had to do, that our whole country voted on our marriage. We’ll be (legally) married by then and this will be history.” . #voteyes #marriageequality #australianmarriageequality #ame #lovewillwin #loveconquersall #iwanttomarrymywife
So, What is your problem?
The last time I checked, simply being Gay did not hurt anyone. It didn’t ruin a business. It didn’t effect the weather. So why are people so afraid? I can only assume it’s fear as why else would masses make it their mission to discriminate against us? Is it fear of the unknown? Fear of change? Fear of something a bit different? Although it’s hardly a new ‘trend’, folks have been openly Gay since the 80’s and secretly Gay for a lot longer, and yet the hate is still there.
Ironically, over the past few decades there have been an array of talent from the LGBT community, just look at some of these heroes; Alan Turing, Sally Ride, Tammy Baldwin, Oscar Wilde. All of these people were Gay, and yet they did amazing things for the world.
As an LGBT family I concentrate on LGBT issues and will continue to do so on this blog, however discrimination goes beyond the LGBT community. It can be related to gender, race, or disability.
It’s important to remember that people have lots of different elements to their identities – someone might be bisexual and also black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), or trans and Catholic, gay and disabled, non-binary and dealing with a mental health issue. This may mean they suffer multiple levels of discrimination in their life. Being an ally is about listening to and learning from someone else’s experiences and showing your support for them.
Being Gay is not a choice, just like being allergic to nuts isn’t a choice. There’s no “cure” or magic potion to stop you being Gay – despite what others may think. It’s something you’re born as. We don’t choose to be gay just to piss off your ignorant ass.
Once I’d got through the understanding and realisation of who I was, the coming out part was one of the easiest things I had to do. I had a supportive family, decent friends, and my workplace didn’t give too hoots. For others it’s not so easy, and being Gay can even be a burden thanks to harmful stereotypes and generalizations surrounding the gay community. For some it’s even something they don’t want be, therefore they try and hide it – but this often causes more harm to themselves and can sometimes even lead to suicide in the most tragic cases.
Being an LGBT Ally.
I’ve written before about how you can be an LGBT Ally as a business, and other Rainbow Families have done the same but my message still stands. You don’t have to be LGBT to be our ally. Now is just as good a time as ever to stand up against discrimination. Being an ally can range from educating yourself about the LGBT community, listening and being supportive to someone else, to standing up against discrimination – whether it’s in the workplace with a colleague or at a bus stop with a stranger.
If we want to live in a world where people are accepted without exception, we all need to be part of the solution.