The London Gay Pride march is this Saturday, the 29th of June.
Pride is many things: a carnival to rejoice in being fabulous; an opportunity to pick up that guy/girl of your dreams; just a great excuse to get drunk. However, we often forget what Pride is really about. These reasons are threefold.
Firstly, we come together to remember the sacrifices our brothers, sisters and otherwise defining siblings made to get us here. Members of the LGBTIQ* community have been persecuted throughout recorded history in one way or another. The constant threat of violence plagued their lives, be it domestic or in public, from common assault to rape to murder. As our community began to form into tighter groups to call for decriminalisation, police tactics became more brutal. We will never know just how many LGBTIQ* people were injured, killed or otherwise silenced during these periods. What we do know, however, is that this didn’t stop them. Pride marches take place around the world at the end of June to remember the Stonewall Riots, the turning point in the battle for rights, which birthed a movement bringing rights to LGBTIQ* people, even if only some rights for some of our community. We also remember the members of our community who slowly wasted away because governments decided that the AIDS pandemic was only about our community, and that it wasn’t worth fighting. We thank them for using their last months, weeks and days to raise awareness and make treatment and prevention avaliable to everyone. To not celebrate Pride is to ignore these sacrifices that let us come together to have this movement.
Secondly, we come together to speak up for other members of our community who don’t share the same rights as ourselves. Violence for people who openly identify as LGBTIQ* is still an everyday occurence in many parts of the world, and our country is no exception. We can demonstrate this through the horrific statistics compiled by the team behind the Transgender Day of Rememberence, who attempt to document the murders of trans* members of our community around the globe (see www.transgenderdor.org for more information). There are countries where homosexuality and defining as transgendered is illegal. Indeed, it carries the death penalty in some parts of the world. When we come together, we can use our collective voice to show solidarity with our siblings, but also to call on our own government to stop turning away LGBTIQ* asylum seekers who flee to the relative safety of our less than prefect society, and to put pressure on other countries to move to greater equality and more rights. To not do so is to abuse our own priviledge. The fight in every corner of the world is not over until every person enjoys the right to be who they are and to love who they love.
Finally, we celebrate Pride to acknowledge that there are still gains that must be won in our own countries. There will be people this year who say “what is the point of Pride now you can get married, you’ve got equality”. We have to stand up and say that this is not the end of our fight. Trans* people still face barriers to their healthcare, both in the process of transitioning and in everyday health matters. Young LGBTIQ* people are all to often ignored in school sex education. Most of all, our community still faces everyday discrimination, in our workplaces, educational establishments or just on the street. Full equality is the breaking down of every last barrier. There aren’t barriers still left, so much as an institutional Berlin Wall. Our job at Pride is to say we don’t buy it, and to tell everyone that we’re going to keep fighting.
These three reasons are why the London Young Greens are going to be at Pride this year, and we hope you are going to be too.
Below is a press release from the Federation of European Young Greens, which demonstrates the above reasons. Read and remember, the fight is not over.
Co-chair of the London Young Greens
Skopje Pride Week: STOP THE HATE VIOLENCE TOWARDS LGBT PEOPLE
On Saturday, 22nd of June the first Pride week in Skopje “Silence=Death” started and it started with violence. The violence in the social media started the same moment the Pride week was announced. On the opening day, Saturday, the threats on social media turnt into physical attacks.
All of this violent attacks were preceeded by days of social media hate speech and calls for organized violence towards the pride week organizers and LGBTI community. This violence was preceded the very same day by so called anti-gay parade protest initiated on facebook and followed by NAZI symbols and hate speech against LGBTI people.Only around 20 people were on that protest, however, after they left their gathering place (the main Church in the city) they went on the square where they have severely beaten up a minor and commiting a hate crime on the ground of religion and ethnicity. Later that day on the opening event in the LGBTI Support Centre, while the opening event was happening, around 40 masked people attacked the LGBTI Support centre,throwing stones, glass bottles and metal bar at the centre and the LGBTI activists, with the attention to destroy everything no matter the consequences. During the attack one policeman was hurt and the attack created fear and panic among the participants and guests.
“Even though this is not the first attack of the LGBTI Centre, it is the first one committed in the presence of people and during an event, hence it is our opinion that the intolerance towards the LGBT community is increasing” says Slavco Dimitrov, executive director of the Coalition “Sexual and health rights of marginalized communities”, organizers of the Pride week.
The Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) is condemning the violence and hate speech against the LGBTI people in Macedonia. We support Macedonian activists demands that the Ministry of Interior undertakes all the measures necessary to identify and arrest the perpetrators and also to work on prevention on homophobia and hate crimes. We also ask representatives of Macedonian government to condemn the violence publicly and start undertaking measures for promotion of the rights of LGBTI people, in stand of spreading homophobia in public speeches and policies. We ask representatives of the European Union to express political support and pressure the Macedonian government to swiftly elucidate the attacks.