Monday, 15 February 2016

LGBT+ equality in the world today

Apparently I should no longer campaign for LGBT+ equality elsewhere in the world. Apparently somebody who I have considered a friend for years considers that me using my white privilege to campaign for LGBT+ rights in Africa, or the Caribbean, or India and Pakistan is silencing BME LGBT+ voices.

Now I know there are occasions when it seems strange for white people to stand up for BME people, times it looks like they are doing it for point scoring, but rarely have I heard that argument aimed towards LGBT+ activists. Some of us myself included have lived though the time when it became legal for us to act upon our sexuality. The "colonial" laws that still exist in places like India, Uganda or Zimbabwe and others were still in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland in the early 1980s, despite being lifted in England and Wales in the 1967.

My privilege includes the bullying and beatings I got through my school career, when teachers were unable to do anything to stop it. Those beatings were homophobic in nature. My privilege involves having church people jump to conclusions and consider me unclean. My privilege includes the largest party in Northern Ireland spouting all sorts of unfounded claims against LGBT+ people and many on Radio and TV talk shows in Northern Ireland allowed to call us perverts, abominations and such like on a weekly basis.

Without straight allies there would not have been the progress on LGBT+ rights in this nation as we are a minority. The same goes for the abolition of slavery without some of those privileged white people realising that their privilege wasn't the best way forward and the same applies to the end of colonialism.

Now I do recognise that there is still a lot to be done in the area of racial diversity, just as there is in sexual orientation diversity. I fully support calls for those campaigning for intersectionality to be at the heart of activism. But if you stifle any activism because it fails to be fully representative of that intersectionality you will fail to do anything, achieve any goals or raise any concerns with the powers that be wherever they are.

What we need is activism and voices, yes ideally those voices should be as reflective as possible. But if people from any group say that the activism of another group does not reflect them even if the issue they raise is relevant to them we stifle progress. Without that activism, however imperfect, we sometimes find that the voices we want to come forward don't feel secure, don't feel support and don't feel heard in the wider picture.

Recently we lost a great Liberal Eric, Lord Avebury. He stood up for LGBT rights while happily married to women, breast feeding rights while not being a woman, was recognised by secularists and Muslims despite being a Buddhist. He inherited an hereditary title but stood up for the common man.  His voice achieved things for minorities he was not part of, because he spoke up, because of his activism.

No comments:

Post a Comment