Wednesday, 16 May 2012

International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Hello everyone, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ken Smailes and I am the outgoing President of RUSU’s LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) Liberation Group and the RUSU LGBT Part Time Officer.

Today is an extremely important day for the LGBT community globally; it is the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia or simply IDAHO for short. This day is celebrated every year on May 17th to highlight that the unfair treatment of the LGBT community still happens around the world and still within the UK. It is a day for the LGBT community globally, to join together with the rest of the world and stand up against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

To put the rights of the LGBT community into context, I want to give you a brief history lesson. In 1957 in the UK, Lord Wolfenden, who at the time was the vice chancellor of the University of Reading, wrote a report that called on the removal of homosexuality as an illegal act. It was with this report and continued pressure on the government that homosexuality finally became legal in the UK in 1967. Ever since 1967 the LGBT community in the UK has been slowly receiving more and more rights in their fight for equality. It was only in 2002 that LGBT couples, or single LGBT individuals were given equal adoption rights. Now it looks increasingly more likely that same sex couples will be able to marry. Yet these rights that the LGBT community have in the UK are not universal and even in the USA, in some states, LGBT people can still be removed from their jobs for simply defining as a different sexuality. Equality for the LGBT community has not been achieved in the UK or worldwide.

Unfortunately instances of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are also still very real within the UK and the wider world. This unfair treatment of the LGBT community can come in many forms, whether it is physical harassment, murder, derogatory use of the word ‘gay’ or many other things, for many individuals it is all still too real an occurrence. I was shown this video by a member of the LGBT group recently and it really put the problem of homophobia into context for me:
Today is however a day to create change!
Yes homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is still a very real part of the LGBT communities life but we can all put an end to this, by simply standing up for the equal treatment of everyone. No one deserves to be treated differently just because they are of a different sexuality or gender or sexual orientation. Everyone is equal and we should show this through our actions.

Unfair treatment of anyone whether they are of a different race, gender, sexuality etc doesn’t have a place on our campus or within our community and let’s demonstrate this through our actions.

Ken Smailes
RUSU LGBT President and RUSU LGBT Part Time Officer

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