A year ago today I woke up to the news that 49 members of the LGBTQIA+ community in America had been gunned down by one man. One bigot with a gun had taken the lives of so many from inside a safe place, a place of acceptance and love for those who are all too often outcasts in society.
During Pride Month, and particularly in the days surrounding the anniversary of the Pulse Orlando Nightclub shooting, it is important to acknowledge that LGBT issues are feminist issues. Feminism, at its core, is a movement that fights for equality amongst all people, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.Just as the patriarchy tells womxn they should be secondary to men, heteronormativity implies that being straight and cisgendered is both normal and preferable. It is a societal construct that actively works to marginalise a portion of the population by creating a world where the supposed norm does not apply to everyone. By othering those who refuse to comply with patriarchal and heteronormative views, we create a world where it is acceptable to hate those who do not fit into any particular label.
While we remember Pulse Orlando, we must also remember that members of the LGBTQ+ community all over the world are still being persecuted, attacked and killed for trying to live outside the supposed norm. In 13 countries any form of homosexual relations are punishable by death, and in 74 countries LGBT relationships are completely illegal. Although there is only one country were womxn cannot vote (Vatican City, I’m looking at you), we have to remember that in many countries womxn have only very recently become enfranchised after years of fighting for our rights. The right to be treated equal to men is no different from the right to love or be in a relationship with whomever you want, nor is it different from the right to identify as a gender that is not the same as your sex. Crushing the patriarchy has to go hand in hand with crushing any form of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia or queer phobia of any kind.
As feminists we must actively work to support members of the LQBTQ+ community. Little things, such as using the correct pronouns and unashamedly showing that you are an ally, go a long way in helping create an inclusive world where prejudice and bigotry are unnatural and self-expression and love of any kind are the norm.