By Beatrice Stride, LGBTQ+ Coordinator
June is Pride Month, and although so much is going on in the world right now, we must also use this time to reflect on LGBTQ+ rights, as they undoubtedly remain under threat. Pride month celebrates the achievements of the community and marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in America, which led to greater LGBTQ+ liberation in the United States and worldwide. In a time where globally the fight for civil rights continues, it is important to remember that without protests and rioting the LGBTQ+ community particularly in Western society would be without fundamental human rights. Further, the Stonewall uprisings were pioneered by black trans women such as Marsha P Johnson, living in a society where over 300 trans people are killed globally, the majority being trans women of colour, we must include them in our activism and our fight for equality in the current climate.
We should feel proud to be members of a party which prioritises these issues. From LGBT+ Labour’s beginnings in 1975, it has fought both inside and with the Party for monumental changes for the community, from the repeal of section 28, The Equality Act and delivery of civil partnerships. This must continue in order to fight harmful transphobic attacks from the current government. News has emerged of the potential scrapping of proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, which will now attack trans people’s rights to self identify and make it an even more extensive process to change one’s gender legally. The requirement for trans people to live as their acquired gender without legal recognition for two years currently puts them directly at the face of discrimination with no protection.
Leaked plans also plan to exclude trans women from women’s spaces, extending even to public restrooms. This demonisation and dehumanisation of trans women who are often in vulnerable positions and in need of safe spaces put many lives in the UK at risk. Rebecca Long-Bailey has spoken in support of Trans rights and resisted transphobic organisations, and we hope that alongside her the whole party can hold Women & Equalities minister Liz Truss and the government accountable for their attacks on the Trans community. It is shameful that the Conservative party can stick a rainbow flag on their logo for this month while actively discriminating against LGBTQ+ citizens, particularly with the Prime Ministers history of homophobic comments.
Hopefully in this month, despite the lack of real-life Pride events, our local LGBTQ+ community can still feel included and celebrated. It can feel easy to forget in our small town that a diverse array of sexualities and gender identities exist and we must do all we can to ensure they feel welcomed and spread compassion, as many still backwards ideas on LGBTQ+ people persist. As LGBTQ+ coordinator for the constituency, it would be a pleasure to answer any queries about these issues. It is understandable that many ideas are very new and can be confusing, but education and talking about issues are the greatest tools we have, so please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.