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Guildford Liberal Democrats

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Live Life With Pride

June 9, 2021 10:37 AM
By Zöe Franklin

Happy Pride

June is not just the time of year when we start getting more sunshine, longer days and all the fun that Summer brings with it.

June is LGBTQ+ Pride month.

The Guildford Liberal Democrat team would like to wish everyone a Happy Pride. We believe, as a party, that no one should face discrimination because of who they are or who they love and we will fight along side the LGBTQ+ community until we have true equality both locally in Guildford, across the UK and beyond.

Why is Pride important?

Pride is important because it is a chance for the LGBTQ+ community to promote the idea of self-affirmation i.e. celebrating who you are and all that encompasses, and the coming together of an important social group that is part of our society. It is in direct opposition to the social stigma, prejudice and discrimination LGBTQ+ people face every day both in the UK and abroad.

Why do we still need Pride?

Whilst this may be a genuine question, there is a very simple answer. We need Pride because the LGBTQ+ community still faces inequality and persecution every single day, just for being who they are.

This could come in the form of using incorrect pronouns when describing someone's gender, refusing to serve someone because of their sexuality, not being able to give blood, not having equal marriage rights, being subjected to horrific conversion therapies (which are still legal in the UK) or facing prison, violence and even death.

Pride is about lifting up a community of people who are often overlooked and mistreated. But, more than that, it is about challenging homophobic attitudes and negative perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community.

But the LGBTQ+ community has rights now including the right to marry, what is there left to fight for?

Whilst there have been big steps towards equality, there is still a huge amount of work to so in terms of Social Reform if we want to end homophobia and discrimination.

Violent crimes against LGBT+ people are on the increase but Stonewall [LINK} estimates over 80% of hate crimes and hate incidents against LGBT+ people go unreported .

Many same-sex partners are afraid to show affection, to even hold each other's hands in public, fearing verbal and physical attack, or worse.

Many children and young people, who either are LGBT+ or perceived to be LGBT+, are subjected to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse and bullying from their peers. Often this happens at school, or on the journey to and from school. In some cases, this abuse is perpetrated by those working in the schools, including by teaching and support staff.

LGBT+ adults can and do experience negativity in a range of health, care and other settings, including social care, which can impact negatively on health and wellbeing leading to a fear they may experience discrimination if they seek help. This impacts on people's health including presenting at later stages of illness and disease.

This includes health issues that we may all face in later life such as Alzheimer's and dementia moving or into residential care. Some people are fearful of revealing their gender identity or sexual orientation in case staff, residents or visitors discriminate against them or abuse them, when they are at their most isolated and vulnerable.

Mental health, anxiety, depression and loneliness disproportionately affect LGBT+ people and both older and younger generations of LGBT+ people find access to support and services challenging and difficult. While there is specialist mental health care for other communities and social groups, this is severely lacking when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community who need specialist and dedicated help just like others because they too face unique challenges.

Until we have true equality for all members of society, we must keep fighting together.

by Zöe Franklin