Keeping the queerdom

There has been significant progress in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in the United Kingdom. Same-sex marriage was legalised in 2014, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are increasingly visible and accepted in society. However, despite these advancements, there is still much work to be done to ensure full equity and protection for the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK.

One of the key areas where the UK is lagging behind is in the implementation of progressive policies that specifically address the needs and challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals. While there have been some positive steps taken, such as the ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ minors, there are still significant gaps in policy and legislation that leave LGBTQIA+ people vulnerable to discrimination and injustice.

Migration and quietness are related as the queer community is ‘Other’ed all over the world. Colonial social structures still play a very  big part in queer identity. We made progress in dismantling some of these social structures but there is so much more work to do especially pertaining to race and gender.

For the Black queer person and identity, longing for community and purpose is so powerful that it can drive us to join groups, relationships, or systems of belief that, to our diminished or divided self, give the false impression of belonging. But places of false belonging grant us conditional membership, requiring us to cut parts of ourselves off in order to fit in. While false belonging can be useful and instructive for a time, the soul becomes restless when it reaches a glass ceiling, a restriction that prevents us from advancing. We may shrink back from this limitation for a time, but as we grow into our truth, the invisible boundary closes in on us and our devotion to the group-mind weakens. Your rebellion is a sign of health. It is the way of nature to shatter and reconstitute. Anything or anyone who denies your impulse to grow must either be revolutionised or relinquished.

Pride month is an important time in promoting equal rights for all of us as well acknowledging the importance of self-affirmation, dignity, equality, equity in increasing visibility for the LGBTQIA+ community and our allies.

We must continue to nurture a safe, positive and barrier-free workplace for all of our people. We honour Pride Month’s radical history by sharing other widely recognised cultural observances for consideration. These ideas and input help raise awareness and provide opportunities for cross-cultural learning and connection in all racial communities.

One of the most pressing issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK is the lack of comprehensive protections for transgender and non-binary individuals. Transgender people continue to face high levels of discrimination in areas such as healthcare, employment, and housing, and access to gender-affirming healthcare remains limited and often inaccessible. Non-binary individuals, who do not identify within the gender binary of man and woman, also face challenges in having their identities recognised and respected by society.

The UK also lags behind other countries in Europe in terms of LGBTQIA+ rights in schools. While there have been efforts to promote LGBTQ-inclusive education in schools, including the introduction of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum, many schools still do not provide adequate support and resources for LGBTQIA+ students. This lack of inclusive education can contribute to higher rates of bullying, mental health issues, and self-harm among LGBTQIA+ youth.

Another area where the UK falls short is in the protection of LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers. LGBTQIA+ individuals fleeing persecution in their home countries often face additional challenges in seeking asylum in the UK, including discrimination from immigration officials, lack of access to appropriate healthcare and support services, and high rates of detention and deportation. The UK’s asylum system has been criticised for failing to adequately protect LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers and for perpetuating harm and trauma.

The lack of progressive policies and protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals in the UK not only harms the community directly affected but also hampers the collective struggle of all marginalised groups suffering under interconnected systems of oppression.

Furthermore, the lack of progressive policies for LGBTQIA+ rights sends a message to LGBTQIA+ individuals that they are not fully respected in society, which can have a negative impact on their mental health and well-being. Studies have shown that LGBTQIA+ individuals are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, as a result of discrimination and stigma. By implementing progressive policies that protect and support LGBTQIA+ individuals, the UK can create a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

In conclusion, the UK has made significant strides in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, but there is still much work to be done to ensure full equality and protection for the LGBTQIA+ community. By implementing progressive policies that address the needs and challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals, the UK can create a more inclusive and welcoming society for all, as queer liberation is inherently linked to migrant liberation and other liberation struggles. It is imperative that the UK government takes action to prioritise LGBTQIA+ rights and create a more just and equitable society for all.

by Jason Thomas-Fournillier

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