Ah February. A month when single people are made to feel as if they are strange creatures, or that they should now be finding their mate. It’s also a month where two minorities get to discover and celebrate their history side-by-side. What ever do I mean? Well February is both Black History Month and LGBTQ History Month.
Now, I’m not black, and I’m not going to comment on their history, but I will happily sit here now, and discuss our history. And by ‘our’ I mean, the LGBTQ people of the world. You see, I believe history is a vital and important part of who we are right now in the moment, and never has it been more prevalent than to remember what we have endured, and what we are facing in the future. Many people are focussing in on the radical reversal of things over in the United States, but it’s not that distant of a possibility that we in the United Kingdom, and the rest of the world for that matter, could see a rewind to the past.
Knowing our history, remembering our struggles, and identifying the new struggles we face is something we are really going to have to pin down. It’s something we must pass down too.
In all honesty, I don’t ever remember anyone, anywhere or at any time, sitting me down and saying “Look Ted, this is our history…”. I didn’t know about the Stonewall Riots, I didn’t know we were in concentration camps, that it was illegal to be gay just 50 years ago…I honestly knew nothing and even now, I still discover new things, new events that occurred to our community. The problem is, they’re not taught in schools, and why should they be? Yeah, they’re part of history but they don’t effect 99% of the children in the class – but should it be touched upon so that 99% realise the problems of the past and the potential for the future?
My education about LGBTQ history has come from myself. It’s come from me looking things up, asking questions, and trying to understand what it is we have been through, where we are now, and what exactly we are heading towards. I’m not saying that what we are coming to is an apocalyptic roll back of our rights, but there has been a resurgence in violence, in harassment of not only us, but of other minorities too. Our rights are threatened at each and every turn because they are not historic.
The lack of education allows the cracks to be exploited, and those cracks are the younger generations. Yes, the millennials are leading fights around the world to enshrine people’s rights, but before a millennial is put into a position of power, we must first wait for the older hindrances to step down.
Not only that, but we have to remember just what we are fighting for…
In the LGBTQ community, many of us forget one another. The gay men and women, fight for their right to love and marry, but forget about the bisexual men and women. The gay men and woman, and the bisexual men and women, forget about our trans brothers and sisters, and leave them there to fight their own battles. We all forget about the representation of other sexualities, like the people who identify as asexual. We are divided, and selfish, and blind. Not only that, but we forget about the other minorities. We forget about our black brothers and sisters, who fight a similar fight. We forget about the women, gay, straight, bisexual, trans, black…and let them fight their own fight.
In recent months, there have been many protests, and people have begun to come together. It is in our darkest times that we realise we must stand as one and fight a system bogged down with a patriarchal ideal of the world. To fight the fight, we must all unite. We must fight for all of our rights, as well as the rights of other minorities and women. We are all human, and we must never forget that. But we must learn from our own history.
We have to look back and see that when we were divided, when we didn’t all stand as one, it was easier to tear us apart and keep us down. It was not long ago when the world remembered the Holocaust, and to better illustrate my point, I quote this:
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
We must stand together, we must remember our past and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Look for the rainbow in every march, be the rainbow in every march. It’s time we were united, it’s time we didn’t forget and we didn’t let the patriarchy hold us down.