Yesterday, London held its Pride march. After having gone the last few years I decided to miss it this year. On the one hand, it was just too hot to be standing with thousands of people. And on the other: I really wanted to watch the World Cup quarter finals! But I got to appreciate the excitement through social media as my friends shared the joy of the day.
For the LGBTQ+ community, Pride is a time where you can be who you truly are without worry of any repercussions. Because, finally, you’re not standing alone. There are literally thousands of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgenders, and every other kind of queer person taking part. It is harder to be singled out in a crowd of straight people, for being different, even if they don’t hold any prejudice.
And yet, in London…
Get The L Out, an organization believing transgender women are just men infiltrating lesbian culture, forced their way to the front of the march, protesting transgender people, petitioning the removal of L from LGBT because the movement does “not represent our interests”. These lesbians are transphobic, unquestionably, and pushed themselves to be the first symbol the crowds would see, to lead a march which was started by the trans and queer peoplewho led the Stonewall riots in the late 1960s in New York.
But let’s forget about the ignorance of these women, and the history of the event they hatefully rejected. The most disturbing part of the entire process was the Pride in London organizers failing to stop and remove those who came to show nothing but hate on a day that is supposed to focus on inclusion and acceptance. Instead, the officials allowed the march to continue. Why? Because ‘weather’. Apparently a potential insurrection breaking out over this gut-punch of intolerance didn’t occur to them.
I should note, the organizers did apologize and condemnthe women involved. The next day. But we in this community are used to being apologized to after the fact. It is a regular occurrence throughout our history. “We should have done more,” or, “we didn’t see what was happening.” It’s not new. It’s just a deeper cut when it’s the organizers of Pride who are the culprits.
LGBTQ+THE GAYS and everyone else…
Pride happens between late May and August every year all over the world. It is supposed to be a time when all queer people can be ourselves, standing against a culture which has still not truly accepted us. Every day we hear about violent crimes against us, about legislation attempting to disenfranchise us, and our local communities telling us to our face that we are less-than. Whether you are a white, cis gay man or transgender, this time is for you to be your truth and not have to worry about the hate we feel every single day.
Last year the Guardian reportedon a study looking at LGBTQ+ youth in British schools:
The findings by equality campaigning charity Stonewall are particularly concerning among trans pupils, of whom nearly one in 10 (9%) have received death threats at school, while 84% say they have self-harmed and 45% have tried to take their own lives.
Transphobia is an experience I don’t have to deal with. I cannot imagine the level of threat suffered every single day. Homophobia is hard enough, painful enough. But I at least have the LGBTQ+ community to stand by me. I am unlikely to have my pain disregarded, my experience ignored. But if you’re trans or gender non-conforming you suffer these grievances from the dominant, straight culture, as well as from the inside the safe space we’re supposed to have created. Transphobia is rampant within our own community and has not been addressed in the same way as our fight against homophobia.
The rainbow of abuse
As I mentioned in a previous article, feminism focuses on the struggles of straight, white women. When it comes to people of color, the loudest stories are male. And for LGBTQ+, it is always white, cis-gendered gay men who are at the front. We rarely even consider lesbians; I don’t know of any specific places where these women can go to be around other lesbians, nor do I hear their stories. The face of this movement is pretty much always a white, cis-gay man.
Every social justice group focuses on a single perspective, with the falsehood that “we’re all in this together”. Pride is held under the premise that we are a rainbow of people and everyone is welcome. We pretend to accept this, but quietly we continue to allow the abuse of people who are not the same as us to persist.
The lack of intersectionality in this broadest of movements is despicable. The rampant racism which coursed its way through gay culture with the fetishization of black men (the thug whose only redeemable attribute is his large dick, and whose entire purpose is for a rough fuck). The #NoFemsNoFats, #Masc4Masc desirability scale. The belittling of bisexuals who are too closeted to simply just pick a side. The stereotypical view that all lesbians have to look the same way to be authentic. Where do these people, of every gender, race, and any other way they identify, get to feel safe if they can’t in the LGBTQ+ community?
Put it another way: if the protesters were objecting to the inclusion of gay men for any reason whatsoever they would be met with immediate removal. Trans-hatred is not registered in the same way.
In the middle of Pride celebrations, in the middle of a hijacking by people who have nothing but contempt for another group, the event leaders do nothing except blame the weather for their inability to act. If people didn’t want to be in the heat then, like me, they would have avoided it and enjoyed from afar. No one in that parade, nobody in the crowd, would have been angered or upset if the parade was paused to fix a problem.
Their belated response is shameful. But let’s be honest, it’s not entirely unexpected.
But hey – we have an apology. So that’s OK, right? It definitely won’t ever happen again.
How about you shove your apology and taking action to protect the people you’re supposed to protect, and tell anyone in the LGBTQ+ community who carries this intolerance to fuck off.
We say Love Is Love. But by that measure Hate Is Hate, and we should never tolerate it under any circumstance. Ever.