For over 15 years, the month of February has been reserved for remembering the history of the LGBTQ+ community in the UK. This community has long been oppressed in a society that has refused to accept them. Many have been discouraged from being comfortable with themselves and have had to live their lives in fear of being unjustly persecuted. It was not too long ago (1967) that laws criminalising homosexuality were repealed in the UK and legislation like the infamous Section 28 were in force. Fast forward to today, where it is no longer shocking to find an LGBTQ+ character in your favourite book or TV show. Individuals have been empowered to speak out against past injustices they have suffered. Same-sex marriage bans have been lifted in many countries in recent years. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows (no pun intended).
Queer, Transgender and Intersex People of Colour (QTIPOC) have always faced more barriers in everyday life than their White counterparts. As if the struggles of being an ethnic minority were not enough, the additional attitudes of some people towards gender and sexuality make it even harder to feel accepted. The wider LGBTQ+ community notably has a bad reputation for not taking the plights of non-White members seriously or not treating them with the same level of care. Tokenism, cultural appropriation and even racism are among issues that QTIPOC regularly deal with, often coming from those who supposedly should be the most understanding. Things tend to get even more controversial when religion is brought into the discussion.
While there have definitely been some positive changes, progress is still happening in 2021, and in order to keep it going, certain issues and mindsets need to be addressed. This includes areas of intersectionality such as race and religion which undoubtedly affects some more than others. Although the month has come to an end, it’s never too late to take the time to challenge our perspectives and see the bigger picture, but also never forget that everyone has value and was born with the right to be treated with respect, regardless of personal opinion. That’s all from me, one love.