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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why are pride events important and necessary?

Preface by Sofia Antonia Milone: Here at The L Project we get a lot of email and messages. This one projecteer wrote to me this week saying she really wanted to speak out, but that sadly she could not do so openly. I suggested she use our blog a tool, and she had some very profound thoughts to share with us all. Let's call her Lucy, and here's what she had to say:

'We all stand here united as our rainbow flags fly' - We're All Human, The L Project

It's amazing that L Project's new LGBT fundraising single We're All Human has been chosen as the theme song for the 10th annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on May 17th. Hopefully being associated with this globally recognised day will see it fill the airwaves and spread its message of love and diversity further.

Sadly, days like IDAHOT still invariably see some of the same questions and opinions come up from people who think that such days shouldn't exist.

We're All Human become the official theme tune for IDAHOT 2014

Commenting on Facebook and the like makes me nervous; which is odd for someone who works in web; but since this is something I feel strongly about, I thought I'd retreat to the relative safety of The L Project’s blog to explain why I believe days like IDAHOT are still so necessary...

"Why don't we have hetero Prides and days?""Why are LGBT people so special?"
"I'm so bored of hearing about gay issues"

Well, it's about cause and effect...

No-one is being discriminated against, oppressed or is suffering as a direct result of being heterosexual.
People don't get beaten up for being heterosexual; they don't lose their jobs for being heterosexual; they don't get 'correctively raped' for being heterosexual; they don't get hanged for being heterosexual; they don't get burned alive for being heterosexual.

So there's quite simply no need for heterosexuals to band together and build awareness about the heterosexual discrimination, oppression or suffering. Such a thing does not exist.

I'm not saying these things don't ever happen to heterosexual people, but their heterosexuality isn't the cause.

On the other hand, there are many people who are discriminated against, oppressed and caused to suffer as a very direct result of being LGB or T. And they want people to know about it because they want it to stop, now.

Who wouldn't?

The only way that things ever change is if people know that they need to change.  And for people to know that, they need to be made aware. And that's one of the main things that LGBT days like Pride and IDAHOT do, they raise awareness.

Criticising these days is an attempt to silence that message. It's like sticking your fingers in your ears and loudly saying 'lalalalalalala' until the other person shuts up.  It's childish.  And it's the very reason the LGBT community and their supporters band together—to achieve safety in numbers and ensure that they are actually heard, because this is a message that must not be silenced.

And the message is getting out there; things are changing.

So if you're one of the people who dismisses or mocks days like Pride and IDAHOT; if you think they don’t matter or aren’t necessary; help increase the rate of change and bring these days to an end. Add your support and do something to remove the reason these days exist in the first place.

Join in, raise your voice and do something to bring an end to the needless discrimination, oppression and suffering still experienced by too many people on the grounds of their sexuality.

Who wouldn't?

"There are lots of other causes
that are more worthy"

You're right, there are a lot of causes, and that's a good thing. It means that there are lots of people out there trying to make the world a better place.

These causes can and will always co-exist. The world is just too complex a place to get everyone working on one thing at a time.

In the same way that several million people worldwide share a birthday (365 days in a year, 7 billion people…), we can share the days of the year to raise awareness for problems that exist which we can and will fix.

Joining one cause doesn't mean you don't support the others. Stop waiting for the world to be a neat and orderly place, because the time you spend arguing and procrastinating only allows things to become more chaotic. Pick something you believe in, jump in and make a difference; don’t wait for someone else to do it!

And when considering where to make a difference, remember that the issues faced by LGBT people are often the root cause of other social problems; homelessness, suicide and depression rates are all much higher for LGBT people. If we can stop LGBT discrimination, it really will be a 'two for the price of one' or better solution.

World Bank Study

"With these LGBT awareness days,you're trying to make everyone gay"

If that’s what you really think, you've missed the point of these days completely. They are not about making people gay or even about celebrating homosexuality, per se. In the same way that you don’t have to be black or from an ethnic minority to support Black History Month or be disabled to appreciate the value of Disability History Month, LGBT days and events should be supported by anyone who values LGBT people and believes that they deserve equality in all aspects of life.

Days like Pride and IDAHOT are about celebrating progress, highlighting existing injustices and embracing the freedom to be who you are without fear. These days are not about converting heterosexual and cisgender people to a different sexuality or gender identity. They are about converting supporters of discrimination, oppression and fear to supporters of equality, diversity and love. And they are about giving those who already believe in those things the platform, the tools and the confidence they need to spread the message further.

That's not so bad is it?


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