Illustration by Nicole Collete-Leon
Despite June being LGBTQIA+ Pride month, lawmakers across the globe have attacked the community from all fronts. We have compiled a list of exactly what happened in the last few weeks of June 2020, and how we can all take action to support the LGBTQIA+ community.
In The UK
Transgender rights seem to be at the forefront of the UK’s affront on the queer community this year.
It starts with once beloved, now hated children’s author J.K Rowling releasing her TERF (trans-exclusionary-radical-feminist) manifesto. Despite claiming to be neutral, throughout her essay J.K. adopts a Helen Lovejoy-esque ‘Think of the children!’ trill, and vehemently defends a TERF activist that once compared being trans to blackface.
An even more alarming attack on Trans rights - the one that, unfortunately, has been propelled by hateful figureheads like J.K. - is from the UK Government itself. Boris - a known racist and homophobe - was never someone we looked to for his progressive policy, the moves made by his current government are shockingly overt in their discrimination, and make even Theresa May’s government look like a Thursday night at HEAVEN.
Brought to my attention by model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, plans were put in place by May’s government back in 2016 that promised that Trans people would be able to legally change their gender by self identifying, albeit still only as a binary man or woman. While far from perfect, these plans would have been an update to the current gender recognition act which requires a medical diagnosis to legally change gender. Now, these plans are due to be scrapped by the government, meaning that once again Trans people’s identities are taken out of their own hands and entrusted to strangers. This is a demoralising and dehumanising experience, especially as in the UK, a quarter of trans people report being dissatisfied and fearing discrimination from their health care provider.
In a move that has been described as a way to ‘placate’ the queer community, the government has instead moved forward with a ban on gay conversion therapies. But while we can question why this archaic therapy wasn’t already outlawed, the real question is when the government will stop focusing on tokenistic laws aimed at the ‘LGB’ part of the community and focus desperately needed moves forward for our Trans brothers, sisters, and non-binary family.
Any move to delay much needed gender related reform are well overdue in the UK - and the LGBTQIA+ community at large should see this as a direct affront.
What Can I Do?
Attend Trans Rights Protests if able
Use this template to write to your MP:
Donate to one of these Trans charities:
In the US
Where do I begin? If like me you’re not from the US, you might not be familiar with the outrageous prejudice that queer people in the states have had to endure, particularly in the last four years. Trump’s presidency has been a bumpy ride for all LGBTQIA+ people, but transgender people have had to weather the roughest roads.
Facing attack from all sides, the murder of black transgender women has been called an epidemic in the United States. 91% of the 26 transgender or gender non-confirming people murdered in 2019 were Black women, proving that Black queer women need support from their communities more than ever. The LGBTQIA+ community must stand with their family who need them most, and challenge the hate that leads to this violence. But the US government seems desperate to stand on the side of hate, following their military ban on transgender soldiers and outlawing the ability to legally change sex.
The ban on sex discrimination in health care for Obama’s government defined sex as a person’s ‘own internal sense of being’, meaning that if you could receive something like a hysterectomy for health reasons, the hospital would be required to do it for gender related reasons too. But Trump’s government has thrown the definition back to the biological definition of sex - the binary of man or woman - meaning the hospital is no longer obliged to provide these services.
The policy, and its approaching change, affects any federally funded healthcare provider. This means America’s already dystopian healthcare system just became a Wild West for Transgender people. Trump mirrored Boris with a distracting win in favour of LGBTQIA+ people - America’s supreme court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects both gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination.
On the other hand, this victory shouldn't be handed to Trump - it’ll be on the part of the 6 of the 9 Supreme Court judges that voted in favour of this ruling, along with the gay rights activists who fought for civil liberties long overdue.
How Can I Help?
- Sign this petition:
- If you live in the US, call your representative:
Donate to and support one of the charities below:
Poland’s president is up for re-election, and Andrzej Duda his reelection bid is the most alarming of all.
Poland has previously made news for it’s removal of the most basic of LGBTQIA+ rights, creating LGBQTIA+ zones across a third of its country back in February. While there’s no legal recourse anyone can take against gay people, there are road signs and stickers everywhere declaring ‘LGBT FREE ZONE’, proving that queer people have no safe space in Poland. This follows a rise in anti-gay rhetoric from the country’s leading party, the PiS, with their rallying cry - ‘get your hands off our children!’ - a terrifying and archaic ideology which believes subversive sexualities and genders relate to pedophilia.
In the run up to their June 28th election, Duda has leant into these ideologies favoured by the Catholic majority in Poland. His re-election promises are as follows: keeping marriage between a man and a woman; prohibiting adoption by same sex couples; creating anti-sodomy laws; defunding LGBTQIA+ groups; allowing health care providers a ‘conscious clause’ to deny services; and lawfully prohibiting gay ‘propaganda’.
Despite this almost unbelievable display of homophobia in 2020, Duda is still expected to win with 40% of the vote. Angry? Yes. Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? With the tides of 2020, no. Poland still faces massive swarths of homophobia at every Pride season, with Warsaw’s giant pride rainbow torched, homophobic violence at every march, and no recourse for Kaja Godek who publicly announced on television that ‘Gay people want to adopt children, because they want to molest and rape them’.
What can I do?
https://lgbtqpl.carrd.co/ has everything you can do from outside of Poland.
Here’s a petition to the EU:
Here’s a petition to the European Commission:
Places to donate:
Instagram infographic to spread:
Catch up with your queer friends, support Black Lives Matter, and keep safe.
Happy Pride 2020.
Written by Gaby Dixon