I’d like to think I’m very observant at work, keeping my eye on the restaurant and being on the lookout for any customers needing help. Today though, a customer’s t-shirt caught my eye (luckily his food was fine, smiles all round).
The t-shirt was a poster of the 1984 benefit concert ‘Pits and Perverts’, a concert organised by the activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM). This organisation was a group of LGBTQ+ activists who formed an unlikely allegiance with the UK’s mining community. The part that stood out to me the most was the idea that, in the context of the ongoing AIDS crisis within the 1980s, gay and lesbian people were viewed as ‘perverts’.
So why in 2023 does this narrative continue? Within the UK, the past 18 months has been a whirlwind for the LGBTQ+ community, particularly for the transgender community. Starting at the present day (August 2023), the government recently announced a crackdown on gender neutral toilets, meaning that public toilets in non-residential buildings must be binary: male or female. The government argues that this move aims to ‘protect single-sex spaces’. We’re at the point where under Conservative rule where the government care more about who is using a public toilet, than helping families and those struggling to make ends meet.
The trans community in the UK has spent the majority of the year being vilified by the government as a way of deflection the sheer embarrassment of UK’s current leadership.
It’s obvious to anyone who carries an ounce of empathy that marginalised communities are being attacked for the sake of deflection, whether that be the trans community or asylum seekers (but the latter is a story for another day).
We see activists of both side of the argument appear on national television, one activist is usually a middle-aged, financially stable white woman, and the other is simply a man or woman trying to live their life in the face of adversity, being met with microaggressions from presenters who have also been around since the dawn of time.
The removal of safe spaces
So, in 2023, we’re unfortunately at the cinema (not watching Barbenheimer this time), but instead watching the current government press play on section 28 P.2: the removal of safe spaces for trans and non-binary people, the barrage of anger against pride celebrations. Interestingly, London pride was met with outrage when it emerged that £500,000 of public money was used to fund the celebration. Public figures such as Sam Smith are also bombarded by the media, simply for being themselves. This year also saw the awful murder of trans teenager Brianna Ghey, which also saw the right-wing press refuse to use the word ‘girl’ in their reporting of the story, and also using Brianna’s deadname (the name she no longer associated with).
Thatcher may be long gone, but her blueprint for hostility against the LGBTQ+ community never went away, and unfortunately continues to grow with every braindead individual who believes that an LGBTQ+ person simply just existing, is a pervert.
I wrote this in August, when I thought the rights of trans and LGBTQ+ people were already at risk. Little did I know the Conservative Party conference would deliver such bigotry.
The prime minister of this country, the person who is supposed to look make this country a better place for us all, has actively let the Conservative Party take on solidified transphobic stance against the community.
Trans people make up around 0.5% of the UK population, roughly around 250,000. Guess how many millionaires there are currently living in the UK? 4.6%, or 2,500,000. You’re more likely to interact with a millionaire than you are to interact with someone who is transgender who is simply wanting to exist as their true self. So why is it that they’ve rattled the government so much that they need to be discussed in most speeches given by members of the cabinet? Only to be met by a raucous applause afterwards.
This is quite possibly the worst I’ve ever felt about this country.
Solidarity to the community.
Transgender and non-binary charities and organisations
Below is a list of charities and organisations that can help transgender and non-binary people, as well as offer education and advice.
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