From the National Lavender Green Caucus – 17 May 2021
Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. A day like this is a reminder that we still have to ask the open-ended question: How far have we come?
There have been significant milestones across the United States for the advancement of queer rights, the Supreme Court ruled that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal, Utah and Virginia banned conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth and New Jersey, Washington, Colorado and Washington D.C. all banned the gay and trans panic defense.
However, the violence towards our community is still ongoing. Half of the globe still considers the LGBTQIA+ community to be criminals and will put one of us in prison or give us the death penalty simply for being who we are. Twenty-five countries forbid the formation, establish, or registration of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that focuses on issues related to sexual orientation or LGBTQIA+ rights. UNESCO reported that 85% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students experience homophobic and transphobic violence in school, 45% of transgender students drop out. Homophobic violence also targets 33% of students who are wrongly perceived to be LGBT because they do not appear to conform to gender norms.
These are not the only forms of violence that are carried out. Systemic violence has affected our community, which has constrained us from meeting basic needs and achieving the quality of life that would otherwise be possible. Racism, sexism, nationalism, ethnocentrism, and classism have ways been at the intersections of our community since our inception. Our social institutions, to this day, reinforce systemic violence in health and human services, schools, public spaces, housing, and workplace.
We cannot turn a blind eye on the violence in our community. People in the LGBTQIA+ community often reinforce the patterns of violence and oppression that they encounter in broader society in the forms of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault. We need to hold ourselves accountable and our community accountable, understanding the intersectional systemic oppressions which manifest in our community in unique ways is the first step to doing so.
Our community has come along way, though we still have a long way to go to overcome the violence that we face globally. It can be difficult to feel as if you are standing alone in society without friends, support or protection. The National Lavender Green Caucus wants you to know that you are *NOT* alone and you have support in many places. Our work is clear and the challenge significant so let's see how far we come next year.
All the best on this day,
The National Lavender Green Caucus