Statement: Pride Month
Written by Mia Edwards and Sharon Zheng
The opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights read, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Concretized by international human rights law, the right to equality and non-discrimination applies to everyone regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristics which might differ from the majority. The unequivocal rights of the LGBTQ+ community must be protected, and their voices represented. Understood. Respected. Celebrated. We must actively work to dismantle systemic discrimination. Whether that discrimination is racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia or any other systemic prejudice, we can all work to help remove such ills from our society, our governments, and our collective unconsciousness.
We are devastated to learn about the recent acts of violence and mistreatment towards the trans community. In Ohio, Riah Milton was shot several times during a robbery attempt and in Pennsylvania, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fell’s body was discovered last Monday in what was likely a homicide. The pain caused by the deaths of these two black trans women was only compounded by the misgendering of their identities by the police and the media. Furthermore, the Trump administration has recently reversed protections for transgender people which forbid discrimination against patients who are transgender. The social and governmental exclusion and discrimination of transpeople have not gone unnoticed by protesters. While there is still much work to be done, acknowledging the extent of the violence and discrimination faced by transgender people is a valuable step towards sustainable change.
Please read on to learn more about how important protests have been for LGBTQ+ rights and how they intersect with the BLM movement:
The Stonewall Riots of 1969 marked a great shift in LGBTQ+ United States history, catapulting the fight for equal rights in the twenty-first century onto a national stage. As patrons of Stonewall Inn (a bar in Greenwich Village that was a major hub for the LGBTQ+ community) resisted the raid at present and stood up against police brutality, this sparked a rebellion over the proceeding days that contributed to the gay liberation movement and secured considerable civil rights protections and rights for the LGBTQ+ community. Popular narratives about LGBTQ+ histories often neglect to mention the influential and important work conducted by African American members of the community. It is important to remember the intersectionality between the African American community and the LGBTQ+ community. In the case of Stonewall, Marsha P. Johnson - an African American drag queen - was situated inside the Stonewall Inn during the initial police raid and was subsequently influential in organising protests against discriminatory police conduct in the days following the initial raid. Such a moment in history is pivotal to commemorate and to allude to, especially amidst the ongoing BLM movement and the significance of Pride Month.
We recognize the need for this platform to reflect our words, as no word will ever stand compared to actions. That is why we continue to make sure we have people who represent the diversity of those we represent in terms of sexuality, race and gender. This is something that though we are a new platform, we are proud to be doing.
Helpful Resources: #BlackTransLivesMatter: Actions & Resources for Solidarity: This document provides comprehensive educational resources and advocacy tools in support of #BlackTransLivesMatter, including books, articles, films, TV series, videos, podcasts, a list of organisations & groups, and further resources: https://tinyurl.com/ycwnkl4g
Telephone, Email and Instant Messaging Helpline for LGBTQ+ people in the UK: https://switchboard.lgbt/
12 Important books which highlight the history of Protest and Visitability within LGBTQ+ history, as outlined by the influential LGBT-themed Magazine The Advocate: https://tinyurl.com/yd6sohkk