The 1st February sees the launch of the 2018 LGBT+ history month – this year’s theme being Geography: Mapping the world. UK legislation and social values have progressed a long way since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the 1967 Sexual Offences Act – a legal landmark that recognised the equal rights of the LGBT+ community in the UK. Likewise the Equality Act 2010 which recognises our human diversity and equality, however we individually express this through identity. Yet, for the many people who still face indirect and direct homophobia and discrimination because of their sexuality, and in changing the structures, systems, attitudes and values that condone this, there is a long way to go.
Mapping the world, there are vast differences in how human beings treat other human beings, often violating our universal right to live, feeling safe, valued and respected as a human being – to be who we are. We are living in a human ecosystem where 72 other countries criminalise gay relationships, with the death sentence against homosexuality in force in 8 countries with social condemnation and violence directed against those who express themselves.
Alongside the face of human judgement and discrimination, there are amazing steps being taken to recognise LGBT+ rights in Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe, with their judicial system affirming people’s right to form LGBT+ support organisations. In the West, we’ve taken giant leaps forward to explore gender identity issues, and ensure that all people have equal rights to each another across all aspects of statutory law such as matrimony, regardless of sexual identity.
So, where are we at? For every human being who is able to be or come ‘out’ with pride, there are others who live in fear of ridicule, abuse and stigma – uncertain of whether those around them will accept for being themselves. So, maybe it comes back to us as individuals- to listen and understand our inner dialogue in speaking out for human dignity and equality – to touch hearts beyond words, polemic and arguments – and expand our collective awareness that in essence, we share our humanity with each other.
I hope this finds you well, and really hope you can come to our diverse identity, health and wellbeing event on Sat 17 Feb to celebrate LGBT+ history month – celebrating human diversity, wellness and you!
With our good wishes
Naomi Chunilal (Manager)