Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. A milestone in LGBT+ history when people began the fight back against societal and legislative oppression and bigotry.
A lot has happened in the 50 years that have passed. Homosexuality has been decriminalised in many countries around the world, 139 countries/states since 1969 alone. Protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is now enshrined in many places around the world.
We have equal age of consent in many countries and LGBT+ people can serve in the Armed Forces. Conversion therapy is outlawed in many places. The World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) has removed the term transsexualism from mental disorders and replaced it with gender incongruence now placed under the category of sexual health.
We are slowly seeing representation within the legislative houses across the world, Film and TV shows, books, company boards and in leadership roles in many organisations.
Nobody can deny the night in Greenwich NYC was instrumental in the fight for LGBT+ equality, but we still have so much to fight for.
Hate crime towards the trans community has seen a staggering increase of 81% in 2018/19 compared to the same period in 2017/18.
Since 2014, LGBT+ hate crime as a whole per capita has risen an astounding 144%.
A rise of populist far-right politics, has seen anti-LGBT+ ideals and opinions become common place. We are also seeing a decrease in societal acceptance towards our community.
Section 28 may well be long resigned to the dustbin of history, but same sex inclusive relationship education (SRE) is yet to take off, with protests taking place outside educational establishments, in opposition to it.
The validity of trans woman is not only being questioned, but challenged, stifling reform of the Gender Recognition Act throughout the U.K.
We are seeing a slow erosion, not only our rights, but society’s acceptance towards us.
This highlights the work that needs to be done, not only by trade unions and LGBT+ organisations, but by the community at large. We stand on the shoulder of giants in our movement, but in order to fight for the future, we need to remember the past.
We must never let the Stonewall Riots be forgotten and we can never become complacent that our rights are here to stay.
Craig Smart and Sophie Robinson
Regional LGBT Co-Chairs