As you may have figured from my other articles, I’m a gay man. Not ‘flamboyantly’ so, but nor am I a man’s-man either. I’m allergic to the gym, and I own skinny jeans (crikey!). I worked for a while in a college, running an LGBT team (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender), and this lead me to become quite politicised around the LGBT movement.
One thing that struck me then, and often since is that the LGBT movement is very, very good at making lots of noise, but not very good at being heard. We have big glittery parties every year, where the majority of people attend to get catastrophically wasted, myself included sometimes – and we call these events ‘Pride’.
It seems to me that most people have forgotten the origins of Pride events – a riot in New York,1969 that occurred as a result of a police raid on the Stonewall Inn.
The Inn was owned by the Mafia & catered to, what was then, the lowest of the low; Drag-queens, rent boys and the homeless. Police leading the raid lost control of the situation, and the patrons rioted, over the following weeks and months that one night turned into organised resistance, two Gay newspapers and grassroots LGBT rights groups. Now, I’m not suggesting that we have an annual gay riot, but perhaps if people thought more about how far the struggle has come, it would help people think about how far it still has to go.
In the UK we are very fortunate that we are able, for the most part to be who we are with little risk. Obviously, that is not the case for many countries around the world. Russia being the one in the press most often at the moment – And this is has got me frustrated (to put it politely). It is an awful thing that is happening, and there are huge political pressures and undercurrents pushing to make things better.
However, the number of people I’ve encountered, from the LGBT community who have little knowledge or interest in this is frankly, frightening. What we’re witnessing is global politics going backwards, in the past fortnight India re-criminalised same sex relations. To me, it is a no-brainer that you do what you can to help fight such; there are a million and one petitions floating about, you can get in touch with your local MP and ask them to raise the issue in the Commons, and then there is donating to LGBT/Rights charities (which requires some research) – none of these will make a huge amount of difference on an individual scale – I’m not quite that naïve.
But, surely getting aware, getting political & getting savvy is a much better, more proactive way of helping to change the world – not just in terms of LGBT rights, than just making a lot of ‘noise’ about an issue (which I suppose is what this is to a degree). I just wish that some people would tone down the “I’M HERE I’M QUEER” attitude – the screeching queeny attitude does nobody any favours, & instead wake up and tune in to what is going on around them.
I’m well aware this is rather poorly written – It is in essence a rant, a rant written in work. Apologies!