Wednesday, 17th May, 2023
17th May marks IDAHOBIT – International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia, and is an international observance to raise awareness of LGBTIQA+ rights and discrimination.
Although great strides have been made for LGBTIQA+ equality and in ending discrimination, it is a sad reality that anti-Queer sentiment has once again entered mainstream politics, fuelled by right-wing populism, conspiracy theorists, and religious fundamentalists. The nonsense and misinformation peddled by such groups has reached such an extent that our rights and existence have become the subject – once again – of mainstream political debate, and our lives are becoming central to a curated and spurious “culture war” in order to help incompetent – and frankly ridiculous – political figures win votes.
Sadly, normal – albeit gullible and easily misled – voters are falling for it.
One only has to look at countries such as the United States of America, where states are now rolling-back LGBTIQA+ rights and enacting legislation that deliberately targets LGBTIQA+ individuals and families, and with it, a rise in anti-LGBTIQA+ violence and rhetoric. It is no coincidence, of course, that these states are also the ones intent on pushing through legislation that erodes the reproductive and bodily autonomy for women.
It is important today – and into the future – that LGBTIQA+ people do not take our rights for granted, as they – like any other human right – are only a vote away from being diminished or erased altogether. As such, it is important that our community, and perhaps more importantly, our allies – regardless of how they’d usually vote – make the safety and rights of communities such as ours a priority at the ballot box, and to consistently speak-out against those which seek to demonise us.
This rise in conservative fanatism is, inevitably, a trough that society will eventually overcome. History shows us that such ideological movements are doomed to failure, but it is up to all of us – but particularly our allies – to stand-up and ensure such a movement is not normalised: prevention is better than cure.
Along with anti-LGBTIQA+ violence and rhetoric, we still have a long way to go in other areas, such as ensuring that intersex individuals are not subjected to unwanted surgeries; that trans folk are granted bodily autonomy, affordable healthcare, and a clear, uniformed and concise pathway to navigating the myriad of legal documents associated with gender recognition; to combat bisexual erasure that leads to diminished physical and mental health outcomes compared to their straight and gay/lesbian peers; to close the gaps in LGBTIQA+ discrimination and vilification laws regarding LGBTIQA+ people within religious organisations, and to recognise the value and legitimacy of rainbow families (and other families that do not fit into the supposed “traditional” norm).
It is also important to recognise the incredible diversity of the LGBTIQA+ community, and that our rights do not exist in isolation. To advocate for and be an ally to the LGBTIQA+ community requires an intersectional approach – our rights do not exist in isolation – and many of us face discrimination and marginalisation on multiple fronts. As such, to be an ally to the LGBTIQA+ community is to also take a stand against discrimination and marginalisation based on disability, neurodivergence, skin colour and/or ethnic background, age, sexual characteristics, economic status, and more.
Days such as today can be a day for celebration and a recognition of our culture, existence, and histories. But it can also be a tough day for those living with the anxiety and trauma of anti-LGBTIQA+ violence and discrimination.
If you are struggling, you can talk to QLife on 1800 184 527 or use the webchat at https://qlife.com.au from 3pm to Midnight each day. Your life and survival are important.