Today marks the start of Pride Month – a time when we celebrate diversity and equality, whilst remembering those that paved the way for us to be here today – some even did so with their lives. Sadly, some people were totally ignorant to the reasons and importance of Pride, insisting that a Straight Pride was needed too.
That same ignorance has really annoyed the hell out of me over the last few days. Following the
death murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter hashtag began trending again (it existed way long before George’s death)…however some people felt the need to dilute its meaning using “All Lives Matter” instead. Some of the people using this phrase (one that essentially criticises the Black Lives Matter movement) were even in the public eye. Yeh, it’s common sense that all lives matter. But the world isn’t a perfect place. Not every life is in danger. Not every life has to continuously defending themselves from hate, violence or prejudice – often from those who are oblivious to equality or feel left out when they don’t have a hashtag for their groups. If your group or community doesn’t have a hashtag or a phrase, or even a Pride event, have you ever stopped to consider the fact that you don’t need one right now??! You have equality. You aren’t hated or subjected to violence. To be perfectly blunt: stop being so fucking selfish and take a look at the privilege you already have – one that you’ve clearly taken for granted. Don’t you dare make this about you or say it’s about equality for all humans. If you really wanted equality, you’d see that there are others in the world who don’t have what you have and do something about it.
I’ve also read comments and tweets about the protests taking place in George Floyd’s name, as mindless and barbaric. One tweet mocked the situation by using the Black Lives Matter hashtag before adding “hashtag for the lols”. Another said that smashing a shop window and stealing a TV isn’t going to change anything. That it was just an “excuse for violence”. The reason why I don’t use Twitter much these days is because of people like them. Nobody needs that kind negativity in their day. They don’t listen to reason, nor will Twitter take action against them for spreading hate. Those who dismiss the ongoing protests as pointless or thuggish are clearly the ones who have never needed to fight for anything in their lives. This isn’t about your favourite football team losing a match. It isn’t about responding to violence with more violence. Live are at stake. Lives need protecting and nobody in charge is listening. This is pure human emotion supercharged by a needless loss of life. It’s about making a statement. Protesting isn’t going to create an answer but it will be a catalyst for change. Just as the Stonewall riots paved the way for LGBTQ+ community to be where we are today, we must all now speak up and act, in order to pave the way for tomorrow…and every day that follows.
I’m not saying you need to get your arse out onto the street with a placard to show support or to make a difference – although, if you do, stay safe and remember that there’s still a pandemic happening right now. You have eyes and ears. Most importantly, you have a voice. If you see or hear those around you making racist, homophobic, transphobic or any derogatory remarks, say or do something. If it’s a friend or family member (let’s face it, sometimes an older generation doesn’t always get the memo) then don’t be afraid to correct them. The chance to end old-fashioned attitudes, thoughts and behaviours lies with us. Whatever you do, please don’t ignore it. Staying silent when you have a voice or a chance makes you just as guilty.
Personally, it’s difficult to celebrate Pride Month knowing that there’s still so much hate and injustice. Whilst our LGBTQ+ struggles aren’t exactly the same as the Black Lives Matter movement, there are overlaps and similarities. We recognise this and stand with them. Only when racism, homophobia, transphobia, or any other kind of hate or prejudice, is eradicated can we say that all lives matter. Until then, there’s plenty of work to be done.
Main image: via Google