By Anna Lekas Miller
It is LGBTQ history month in the UK, which means that the British media is honoring the country’s rich history of queer activism that have brought us where we are today.
Due to the national lockdown, many of these celebrations have shifted online, with virtual experiences exploring everything from the speakeasies that were once raided by police to the often untold stories of gay Black British life, and the double-bill of racism and homophobia that it was up against.
And while it’s great to explore these creative ways of honoring the LGBTQ communities of the past—and even better to see it being done in an intersectional way–at MDI, we would like to see the media do more to support queer communities in the present.
Earlier this month, we looked at how the same lockdown that pushed many of this month’s events online has lead to a permanent closure of LGBTQ spaces across the country—safe spaces which, like the speakeasies and shebeans of yesteryear, are essential for today’s queer folks to find community and support one another.
But the UK media has barely covered this devastating loss or its significance—nor the fact that there has been a huge uptick in queer folks asking for mental health support since the pandemic started.
Advocacy organizations say that this could be a result of having to isolate in unwelcoming or unsafe spaces. Shouldn’t this be a top story?
Instead, some UK media outlets continue to give oxygen to painfully transphobic debates—pushing a narrative that transwomen pose a danger to ciswomen, when, statistically speaking, transwomen are far more likely to be victims of gender-based violence.
Conversations around preferred pronouns are often poopoo’ed as a symptom of overwokeness—when actually, they can go a long way in making queer folks feel more comfortable, seen and safe.
Of course, it is great to celebrate queer icons of the past—it is so important to understanding where we are today. But let’s make sure that we support queer communities of the present who are paving the way into our future, as well. If you liked that video, don’t forget to like and subscribe and check out the MDI website for more resources on how to report on LGBTQ communities.
Photo credits: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock