Text Reads: The Esperanza Blog

February is LGBTQ+ History Month – Here Is Why We Need to Learn More

an image of the stonewall riots featuring marsha p johnson

Image: Marsha P Johnson at Stonewall BBC

Image: Marsha P Johnson 
at Stonewall BBC

 

Why do we need an LGBTQ+ History Month? Because no matter how much you think it, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people are not equal in society. It is fundamental to the progress of acceptance for all people to learn more about LGBTQ+ history. Why? Because the hatred that remains now was born from the ignorance and intolerance of the past, and we are still not free from the stigma.

‘We never had all these genders and sexualities in our day’. The simple fact is this is wholly untrue. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer people have always existed, and while we can be slightly more public about our existence now, the attitude of society as a whole hasn’t moved on as much as you’d like to think. In fact, you can head to the Human Dignity Trust now to see a full list of countries that still criminalise being LGBT including those 11 who still implement the death penalty.

Why do we need an LGBTQ+ History Month? Because no matter how much you think it, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people are not equal in society. It is fundamental to the progress of acceptance for all people to learn more about LGBTQ+ history. Why? Because the hatred that remains now was born from the ignorance and intolerance of the past, and we are still not free from the stigma.

‘We never had all these genders and sexualities in our day’. The simple fact is this is wholly untrue. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer people have always existed, and while we can be slightly more public about our existence now, the attitude of society as a whole hasn’t moved on as much as you’d like to think. In fact, you can head to the Human Dignity Trust now to see a full list of countries that still criminalise being LGBT including those 11 who still implement the death penalty.

An embroidered patch of the new pride flag

Image: Pride Flag Splodge

Image: Pride Flag Splodge

What has changed in recent years, is our ability to understand, analyse or define our gender identity and sexuality. The presence of people who are not straight or cisgender is not new, but as language develops, it becomes easier to talk about gender and sexuality in a more accurate way.

Another recent change to the world in terms of history, is the internet, and more specifically social media (Which gives us all a front row seat to many things we could class as new to our own eyes). Along with social medias ability to unite people who feel alone by sharing stories across the globe, it provides a platform to preach hate.

It only takes a quick scroll through the comments on any article about LGBTQ+ rights to discover a barrage of negative comments. From ‘it’s more unusual to be straight now’ to purposefully miss gendering people.

Of course, gay is not taking over like these comments would have us believe. When these commenters lock their phone or turn off the computer, they carry on with their regular life, not worrying about LBGTQ+ issues and inequality. When we lock our phones we’re alone in a world where we have to question every intention, every unjust scolding at work, every interaction with family, every walk down the street…

Further, as the law begins to catch up slowly and allies are able to shout louder, LGBTQ+ people are living their lives less secretly. Our community is still making its history. Only in December 2020 was the law on blood donation for gay and bisexual men relaxed allowing men who are in a long-term relationship to give blood freely. It was only in 2017 which this rule was relaxed from one year after having sex to three months, laws routed in deep homophobia.

image of olive morris with a megaphone

Image: Olive Morris Black Plaque Project

Image: Olive Morris 
Black Plaque Project

Our community is currently fighting a ruling that under 16’s are unlikely to be able to consent to puberty blockers. For a transgender person, this puberty delaying medication gives them the opportunity to stop the irreversible changes of puberty. Delaying such a monumental change to the body sounds like such a simple way to treat gender dysphoria for young people, especially when you consider that 48% of trans people in the UK have attempted suicide. Yet the opposition stick with the argument that there’s a possibility a young person will change their mind – of course there will be those who do, and they are able to stop using blockers and experience puberty. Unfortunately, the transphobia we face in society is far too ignorant to the clear fact that transgender people have always existed, and the lifesaving treatment needed within the community is at risk.

As well as the discriminatory laws which still affect LBGTQ+ people. Our community is still subject to being abused and oversexualised as well as facing discrimination in places such as the workplace, and this is in the UK alone.

Furthermore, once we as a community reach a ruling which takes us one step further toward equality, there is always the very real risk of it being taken from us. Just look at Donald Trumps efforts to strip away LGBTQ+ rights during his term in office and Boris Johnsons dropping of plans for trans people to be able to self-identify.

When talking about LGBTQ+ history, it is vital not to forget that here in the UK, our community is hugely privileged in comparison to those around the world. Globally, and in the UK, we are still making history and laws are still changing. We urge you to spend some time this LGBTQ+ History Month learning more about our history and its effects on our present and future, for only when we understand the mistakes of the past, can we make sure we do not make them again in the future.

As we are still in lockdown, and children are studying from home, we have curated a fantastic selection of educational resources which will help children to build a picture of LBGTQ+ history, why not add some to your home-school curriculum this month?

COMING SOON

LGBTQ+ educational learning aids and tell us about your home schooling experience using these tools at hello@esperanzaretail.com

 

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