October 19, 2022

LGBTQ+ History Month: 3 ways to advocate for LGBTQIA+ equality

LGBTQ+ History Month: 3 ways to advocate for LGBTQIA+ equality

This LGBTQIA+ History Month, we can honour our progress in our community's march towards equality.

Since 1990, over 40 countries have outlawed homophobic hate crimes, and 30 have passed laws allowing equal marriage.

As recently as 2013, it was illegal for same-sex partners to marry in the UK.

But our fight for equality is far from over.

What forms does discrimination take?

We know that...
  • 25% of the world’s population still believes that being LGBTQIA+ should be a crime
  • 70 countries still criminalise same-sex relationships
  • The death penalty for same-sex relationships is either ‘allowed’, or exists in some form in 11 of these countries

So what can we do in our lives to honour our shared history and also learn from our predecessors in our march towards equal rights today?

Let’s have a look at 3 actionable ways.

(1) Learn about LGBTQIA+ History

Queer activists' tactics throughout history can teach us ways to advocate for ourselves. Peaceful protest tactics from Stonewall, ACT UP, the Dyke March, and more can still be used today.

For example, a "die-in" involves protestors lying on the ground completely still. In June 1989, ACT UP London used this method to protest against The Sunday Telegraph's homophobic reporting.

We also learned how to organise ourselves, how to build successful marches, and to galvanise communities towards action. The first Dyke March took place in 1993 in D.C.: it was one of the first visibility marches for sapphic people, and continues today.

History has the power to help us build compassion and strength from our past,  honouring those who made it possible to be who we are today.

(2) Support Queer Artists and Creators

Art has always been at the forefront of revolution and change.

Think of the likes of Keith Haring, whose work conveyed the societal themes of homosexuality and AIDS through iconography; or Nan Goldin, the American photographer and activist who documented post-Stonewall gay subculture.

We can support queer creators in our everyday lives. Listening to music by LGBTQIA+ musicians, visiting queer art exhibitions, and watching queer films.

It doesn't just show networks that there’s a demand for queer media and art. It also provides representation of LGBTQIA+ issues of today. Queer history has shown us that art is both political and powerful.

(3) Go to Protests (If You Are Able)

Queer activists throughout history have instigated progress through protests. From the Stonewall of 1969 to the ACT UP die-ins of the 80s and 90s, protests have successfully fostered change.

However, the media of today, just like the past, often casts protestors in a negative light. This is neither new nor surprising.

What is particularly concerning is the increased policing of our freedom to peacefully protest.

In the UK, the government is pushing through the "2022 Policing Act", which gives the police additional powers to shut down peaceful protests. The police already have powers to prevent public assemblies from causing serious harm but this bill cracks down on explicitly nonviolent dissent!

We have changed so much, and we have so much more to change.

Happy LGBTQIA+ History Month!

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