If my choice of sexuality and gender went against the rules of society, I would be an outlaw in 69 countries, killed in 11 different countries or imprisoned my whole life in 27 countries.
Being a LGBTQ+ person is not a choice, you don’t become gay, lesbian, bisex or straight, you are born this way; in the same way some people are born with blonde, brown or red hair. However, the reality of our view on science and human empathy is much more complex.
If you show affection, kiss or hold your partner’s hand in public, someone may attack you. More than a half of LGBTQ+ couples don’t hold their partner’s hand because they are afraid of being assaulted.
This community lives in fear and has had to adapt to living with discrimation and violence. They live knowing they may never be truly accepted; not only by society but also by their own families. In 37% of cases, families were first to reject them because they are different, “wrong” or go against nature.
The biggest protector of LGBT+ rights in British law comes from the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which legally protects LGBT+ people against discrimination. Post Brexit, new UK laws must be put in place to replace the Charter to ensure members of the LGBT+ community are legally protected against discrimination.
In the last few years society is more accepting of diversity and equality. In developed countries like Italy, there is a law proposed against homo-lesbo-bi-transphobia that hasn’t been approved for months because a group of people assert that it can spark “heterophobia”. This law would make assaults against LGBTQ+ people punishable.
It’s been 30 years since WHO removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses, but we still have a long way to go the journey of equality.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows more than one in four trans people (28%) experienced crime in the year ending March 2020, compared with 14% of people whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were registered at birth.
There is not yet an official, standardised method for recording the deaths of trans people across the UK. The ONS told FactCheck they are working across government to “develop clear harmonised standards” for collecting data on sex and gender.
LGBTQ+ discrimination is present in many sectors; in the workplace, people are 30% less likely to be hired, at school trans people are not allowed to use their new name and are forced to use their deadname, causing extreme pain and dysphoria.
In Italy, trans people can’t change their documents until they “physically” change sex, so even voting at elections (a right for everyone!) could trigger discrimination and violence, because they are not recognised by the country. Whereas in the UK, you don’t need to have had gender reassignment surgery. To change your gender legally, you need to show proof that you have lived in your chosen gender for 2 years.
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While Europe declares itself a free LGBTQ+ zone, in Italy a very important law is diminished by some representatives of the parliament and Hungary bans LGBTQ+ contents.
The UK will be hosting Safe To be Me: A Global Equality Conference on 27-29 June 2022, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first official London Pride marches. The event will see policymakers, elected officials, activists, and experts come together to protect and promote the rights of LGBT people around the world.