International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia: Keep Fighting
Breaking The Silence
We Need To Keep Breaking The Silence Against Transphobia, Biphobia and Homophobia
I know we are all really worked up after the last two months of waiting and hoping that one day, we will be able to break free of this self-isolation and quarantine and be able to go outside and breathe once again, but we need to consider another harsh reality - for too many, this quarantine is far from easy.
There were initially concerns that if stores like the LCBO were to close, alcoholics would struggle and potentially overwhelm the medical system, but no mention about how the families of the not-so-pleasant alcoholic might cope now that their alcoholic family member was home full time with little to do but drink. While there are justifiable concerns about that, there has also been virtually no mention of a group that's almost routinely at risk: the LGBTQ+ population.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), members of the LGBTQ+ population, particularly the transgender population, still face penalty - if not physical punishment and death - in 26 countries. The LGBTQ+ population is also reporting increased incidents of domestic and family violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and are struggling to continue to find gender-affirming health services.
There continues to be a need for us as a society to stand up and fight for equal rights for all, but it is in the LGBTQ+ community in particular where we see a disproportionate number of people who might be employed in an informal context or who might lack access to things such as appropriate sick leave benefits or unemployment support in many countries.
There are still those who do not acknowledge the appropriate pronouns for those who may not use pronouns that adhere to the gender binary. There are still those who use inappropriate language when addressing conversations about homosexuality or gender diversity, for example, and are unrepentant when they are told of their error. There are kids who are regularly are unable to express who they truly are because they haven't been able to come out to their parents or loved ones, and now that we're all on quarantine or otherwise in self-isolation, there is not a discernible means to escape and get some valuable time to breathe or even just to be who they are.
It's no doubt hard to fathom a world where you would even think that your son or daughter - or husband or wife, for that matter - is somehow unworthy of respect or even love simply because of who they choose to love or what their gender identity is. The fact that we have a day dedicated to work towards eliminating transphobia, homophobia or biphobia serves to highlight just how little we have continued to progress over the years, and that is incredibly sad.
We continue to have issues with racism - one only need examine the incredible hatred shown towards Chinese nationals in the wake of COVID-19 crisis to understand that we are not as enlightened as we think we are. The fact that we continue to discriminate against those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community only serves as further evidence that there are those individuals in society who need further education that discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community simply boils down to a lack of understanding about those who are different from us, and that's terrible.
We need to be able to embrace and support those LGBTQ+ community members who are being discriminated against and be able to stop the prejudice and bullying where it starts, right now. There are so many who just need understanding and support and there are those who - for whatever reason - choose to look the other way simply because these people, who are just as worthy and loving as so many others of us, do not fall in line with what is perceived to be the "norm."
We need to keep talking about the discrimination this societal group in particular, and we need to keep discussing ways in which we can break the silence surrounding this discrimination. We would not sanction or support this sort of discrimination and prejudice against any race on this planet. In fact, we would exhort everyone we could to fight the prejudice against whomever was being discriminated against.
Isn't it time that we break the silence about the discrimination against the transgender, homosexual and bisexual communities with equal passion?