It’s 2017 and the fight for LGBT rights is far from over
I wanted to keep this lighthearted, but then I realised that just wouldn’t work.
Reflecting on LGBT rights against the current global backdrop of division, fear-mongering and terrorism, it’s clear that the community of which I am such a vocal part deserves so much more than flippancy. At a time when gay men in Chechnya are ‘disappearing’, we need to pull together and shout louder.
Gay rights are human rights
The Equality and Human Rights Commission state that human rights are ‘the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death.’
In the simplest and most objective terms: LGBT people are, you know, people. This should entitle them to the same rights and freedoms that anyone who identifies otherwise has.
Allowing gay people their freedoms is fundamentally the moral thing to do because it puts a whole group of people at the same level as everyone else. And why wouldn’t everyone want that?
This month, the USA voted against a UN resolution condemning the death penalty for gay people. They supported two failed amendments proposed by Russia, which argued that killing someone for their sexuality wasn’t necessarily ‘a human rights violation’.
The Genevan vote to condemn the death penalty did, thankfully, pass (with 27 votes out of 47). But considering that the death penalty is still used in eight countries, the need for a continued, persistent and vocal fight for LGBT rights is evident.
What happens when you allow LGBT rights?
There’s no evidence at all that treating everyone equally will lead to the sudden and catastrophic end of the world. LGBT people can even contribute positively to society. Imagine that! There are myriad LGBT people with skills, intelligence and a work ethic to rival those of their straight, cis counterparts. When LGBT people lose out on jobs and are unable to adopt parentless children because of their sexuality, everyone loses out. Everyone.
Finally, this mythical Utopia I hope will one day become a reality will keep more people alive. Feeling safe and valued would diminish the currently catastrophic levels of mental health problems and suicide in the LGBT community.
I cannot see how working together to create a world with more humans who are happy, safe, protected and alive can be anything other than moving in the right direction.