Still Fighting For

This LGBTQ+ Pride month, we have been discussing the history of Pride, but what about the future?

Leah Heath

Wellbeing Advisor

June 20, 2022

This month, at WorkLife by OpenMoney we have celebrated all the different ways that LGBTQ+ rights have rightly advanced. It is important to look back and see all that the community and their allies have achieved. But while the achievements are to be commended, it is crucial that we continue to make these leaps and bounds towards equality now, and in the future.

In that vein, we thought we would list 3 things that the LGBTQ+ community and their allies are still fighting for today.

1.       Hate crime in the UK.

While for some of us, the idea of abusing someone else for their own lifestyles appears absurd, the harsh reality is that hate crime against the LGBTQ+ community is rife in the UK.

In Galop’s Hate crime report 2021, it was found that two thirds of people in the LGBTQ+ community had experienced anti-LGBTQ+ violence or abuse. Of these, 9 in 10 had experienced verbal abuse, 3 in 10 had experienced physical violence and 2 in 10 had experienced sexual violence.

The statistics only become more shocking when we dig down into the demographics, with one third of Black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people having experienced a hate crime or incident in the past 12 months, compared to 1 in 5 white LGBT people.

There is much to be done to stamp out hate crime in the UK.

2.       Conversion therapy

There has recently been much debate about the legality of conversion therapy in the UK.

If you don’t already know, conversion therapy - sometimes referred to as "reparative therapy" or "gay cure therapy" - endeavours to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity to meet societal norms.

In practice, it means trying to stop or suppress someone from being gay, or from living as a different gender to their sex recorded at birth.

Conversion therapy can take many forms. It can include talking therapies and prayer, but more extreme forms can include exorcism, physical violence and food deprivation.

For a concise account of the current state of the ban on conversion therapy in the UK, the BBC have written:

“The government said it would ban conversion therapy aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation - but not their gender identity. The plans were confirmed in the Queen's Speech. The proposed law will protect under-18s. However, it won't apply to people over 18 if they've consented and haven't been coerced.

Last month, the government announced that it was entirely scrapping plans for a ban, then quickly backtracked and said elements of the ban would go ahead.

The government said that transgender conversion therapy is too complicated to be included for now and separate work will be carried out into the "complexity of issues". It said there were worries a ban could have "unintended consequences" which might affect teachers, parents and therapists helping children who are struggling with their gender identity.

Its decision came on the back of an NHS-commissioned report which called for a re-think of children's gender identity services in England.”

Many in the LGBTQ+ community argue that this is not far enough to protect those who are coerced into harmful conversion therapy, particularly when it comes to those who identify as transgender.

Given that there is no evidence that conversion therapy works, and there are sadly too many people subjected to it, the LGBTQ+ community are fighting hard to extend this law in the UK.

3.       Worldwide changes.

Looking beyond the immediate, it is clear to see why there is still such a passionate fight for LGBTQ+ rights. While there are many issues in the UK and Western World that must be addressed and changed, some other parts of the world are not as progressive and susceptible to change.

Taken from Stonewall’s International Work and ILGA World (2020), here are some facts that may surprise you.

·       70 countries criminalise same-sex relationships.

·       The death penalty for same-sex relationships is either ‘allowed’, or evidence of its existence occurs, in 11 of these countries.

·       In more than half the world, LGBT people may not be protected from discrimination by workplace law.

·       Most governments deny trans people the right to legally change their name and gender from those that were assigned to them at birth.

·       A quarter of the world’s population believes that being LGBT should be a crime.

As you can see, in the UK and internationally, there is still a long way to go to achieve equality for the LGBTQ+ community. But we should not feel down heartened! As you know, from our Timeline of Pride blog, that incredible things can happen in relatively short periods of time, as long as we strive for better and don’t stop the fight for equality.