To go forward we need to look back

8 mins read

So, we are coming to the end of pride month.

Image Credit: Impact Plus

It has been a different pride month this year, with limited festivities all thanks to Miss Rona ( and no that is not one of the queens on the new season of Drag Race). Regardless of the impact coronavirus has had; a couple of pride essentials remain.

Our social media has been flooded with messages of acceptance and love; celebrities of status flying the flag; highlighting queer voices; and by the looks of my recommended playlists, my Spotify has rediscovered its love for Donna Summer and Sam Smith – not to mention the influx of rainbows adorned by shops and brands.

However, you can best believe this outward celebration will soon disappear as quick as Cinderella at the ball when the clock chimes midnight on June 30th; and the rainbow magic will slowly morph back into the grey rags of accepted heteronormativity.

Now, i love the glitz and the glamour as much as anyone else but something about pride always makes me feel a little melancholy. Yes, we have come so far but we still have a long road ahead to fight for equal rights and acceptance for ALL people in the LGBTQ+ community; not just the marketable letters.

Pride month for me, makes me think about all the people who came before me – so I can live out loud but the sad thing is, I don’t know who to thank.

Image Credit: BBC

49% of people Brig surveyed described their general knowledge of queer history as passable. However, when asked about major milestones it was clear that peoples knowledge was limited – with the majority of people describing their knowledge on Stonewall and Section 28 as little to none.

A sad, but unsurprising find.

LGBTQ+ history is one of the aspects of our community that has been pushed away and tainted for so many years, as it was deemed unlawful and dirty; so there is no way it would have been taught in the conventional sense.

Unlike other minority groups, such as people of colour who are born into families that can teach them their own history and can act as role models that they can turn to and use as a guide to deal with discrimination they face.

Unfortunately, more often than not queer people do not have these resources of guidance; coupled with the fact that people who experience our history; the good the bad and the ugly, are dying. Which in itself heightens the injustice of the repression on our history, because it has silenced so many voices.

20% of people told Brig that they went looking for this information themselves and the majority of these people describe themselves as being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Which proves that people are hungry for it.  

Image credit : Rotten Tomatoes

Today we are lucky because there are some incredible resources out there. 52% of people told Brig that their main resource for queer history is pop culture and this shows that there is a market for bringing this history into the light.

With some of the best filmmakers putting queer stories into movies which are not ‘amazing gay films’ – they’re just amazing films.

Some of which being ‘Milk’: the story of the first elected openly gay politician in America, Harvey Milk and how his work inspired a generation of change.

As well as….well you know what, I’m not going to tell you more, I want you to look for them yourself – Just type “Gay History films” into google.

No matter your sexual  orientation you should know the history and the fight of people because the passion it took to light the match, is the fight that we need to fuel the fire and keep it burning. As the real tragedy happens when we forget and we take our privilege for guaranteed and I’m speaking to everyone here if you have the privilege to express who you are please educate yourself about the people who made it possible.

Hopefully, as we progress queer history will become more accessible and I am proud to say that the Scottish government are taking the first step in doing this.

Image Credit: The Guardian

As Scotland has announced that they will be the first country to introduce LGBTQ+ history into the school curriculum. The education has been described to focus on icons and moments within the history and how they link into today’s society. This is a very broad approach and I am hoping that as the plans cement themselves we will see an accurate depiction being portrayed and not just another example of “tick a box“ policies being implemented.

History is one of the most important factors in any culture or marginalised group and how we portray it has lasting significant impacts. As the nature of history depicts, not all of it is happy rainbows and sunshine, and LGBTQ+ history has its fair share of suffering.

However through the hardships hope and passion are born.

Imagine the effect it would have if a child who is confused and feels isolated and alone in their own head opens their history book and reads about Stonewall; and learns about people like him/her taking a stand. They learn about Marsha. P. Henson throwing the first brick and they know things are bleak but they also know someone has fought for them, they know people have stood up and laid down their life to allow them to be their most authentic self. Imagine how that would shape their outlook going forward and just imagine, if we no longer had to imagine it.

Image Credit : LGBT Cleveland

To see the full results of our survey click here

Featured Image Credit: The Guardian

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