International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia 2021

May 17, 2021 6:00 PM
By Liberal Democrats
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The theme of this year's International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is resisting, supporting and healing together.

Pre-pandemic there were reports that hate crimes were on the rise.

As we start to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, it perfectly encapsulates many of the needs of LGBT+ people in 2021.

It's now a cliche to say that our "return to normal" can't be a return to the way that things were before, but it's true.

Pre-pandemic there were reports that hate crimes were on the rise, homophobic hate crimes up 19% year-on-year and transgender hate crimes up 16%.

As we start to head back out again, we need to be mindful that things need to change.

Resisting homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is essential both at home and abroad.

Domestically, trans people face a barrage of obstacles and harassment in our media, and have been routinely let down by our government.

In ILGA-Europe's latest ranking of LGBT+ rights in the region, the UK has fallen from its top spot to just 10th position owing to failures in this area.

On the topic of legal gender recognition and bodily integrity, the UK ranks a miserable 19th.

We need to keep pushing for reform of the Gender Recognition Act, which LGBT+ Lib Dems have written about at length here.

Internationally, we need to keep up pressure on other governments to pursue a much more liberal approach.

Resisting homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is essential both at home and abroad.

That's not just something that takes place at international summits, but through supporting activists on the ground and at local level too, as many Lib Dem Councillors are doing via our Protect Our Twins campaign in response to abuses against LGBT+ people in Poland.

But that's not all - we also need to keep up the case for a pro-LGBT+ and humanitarian asylum policy.

Many of us were horrified last week to read the devastating case of Alireza Fazeli Monfared who was killed just days before he was due to leave Iran.

The UK must play its part and be a safe haven for those in need.

Supporting LGBT+ voices, be they in our media, politics or community is vital too.

In too many workplaces, LGBT+ people still face barriers.

As reported in Stonewall's reported in 2018 report, more than a third of LGBT+ people have hidden the fact that they're LGBT+ at work for fear of discrimination, and nearly two in five bi people aren't out to anyone at work.

In addition, there is evidence for a shocking LGBT+ pay gap to the sum of almost £7000 a year.

This problem is compounded when other factors like gender, race and disability are added in.

Fighting for the rights of LGBT+ people, particularly in this area, is a real bread and butter issue.

And in our media and in our politics we need to confidently support our trans siblings who are under sustained attack.

An attack on one part of the LGBT+ community is an attack on all of us.

An attack on one part of the LGBT+ community is an attack on all of us.

For the past 12 months health has dominated our headlines and national conversation like never before.

So how can we incorporate healing and caring into our fight against intolerance?

We can start with campaigning for better access to inclusive and respectful health and social care for all LGBT+ people.

This could apply to trans and non binary people interacting with the care service, to LGBT+ people feeling the need to go "back in the closet" as they enter elderly care.

This is an upcoming generational challenge, and we need to ensure dignity for all is at the heart of social care reform.

Similarly, we need to keep pushing for better mental health and homelessness support - two areas that particularly impact LGBT+ people.

We can all play a part in challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

As the Albert Kennedy Trust's latest report makes clear, there is much to be done - but also much that sits within our power to do.

From challenging prejudiced attitudes among our friends and family and to showing your solidarity to advocating for the big changes we need to see, we can all play a part in challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Progress is not inevitable. but fighting for it is hardwired into our liberal values.