As another Pride month is coming to an end with London’s much-anticipated Pride Parade, it’s important to reflect on the responsibility that we as members of the LGBTQIA+ community have: to stand in civil resistance against the greatest threat to our lives yet.
The UK Government is planning to licence over 100 new fossil fuel projects, at a time of lethal heat waves, floods, and food shortages. In the face of the deaths of thousands, if not millions, ordinary people will be presented with a choice: either we come together and we fight for our lives – and the lives of every single person who is unable to fight for themselves – or we choose complacency, and allow the government to fund the deaths of our children.
We can stand on the side of life, or on the side of murder.
It is a simple choice to make, but one that so many have neglected to confront. There is no time to sit back and assume that someone else will stop the crisis for you. As long as the Government does not meet Just Stop Oil’s demand for no new oil, they are proving that they are hell-bent on destroying us.
The demand is simple, obvious, and most importantly, life-saving.
If the Government is not acting to save the lives of the people that they are sworn to protect, it is up to the people to hold them to account.
You may be asking yourself: what does civil resistance have to do with me, as an LGBTQIA+ person?
The answer is history.
Our government has forgotten the fire that runs through the veins of every single LGBTQIA+ person, and what happens when that fire is fanned by injustice. They have forgotten that we lay our roots in the Stonewall Riot, ACT UP, and every single queer person who has lived, fought, and died for our rights.
When the government hoped that we would lie down and die quietly during the AIDS crisis, we came together. Lesbians became nurses to the victims and led protests in their honour; transgender people fought tirelessly for our right to exist; we fought in solidarity and our community survived.
Now, the Government once again expects us to go away, to die quietly.
But we will not be quiet.
We have not forgotten.
Our Government has been corrupted by the fossil-fuel industry: they are in each others’ pockets and beds.
To distract the media and general public from this, they are prosecuting anyone who tries to hold them to account. Such was the case with Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker who were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, with Marcus now facing deportation. This is just the beginning.
The new Public Order Bill and surrounding protest-related charges are of course intimidating. But remember where you came from. If laws had not been broken in 1969 by the Stonewall Rioters, there would be no Pride today. If laws had not been broken in 1990 by OutRage! we would not be able to show our love for each other in public. Within the lifetimes of many in our community, existence meant breaking the law.
We owe it to those who bravely stood up to an unjust system before us to continue breaking laws that counter our intrinsic human rights. What will you do when the Government once again takes away your right to exist freely, if not act?
No one is going to fight for us so we must fight for ourselves.
This fight includes standing up against those who claim to be on our side, like the organisers of London Pride.
Partnerships with the Fossil Fuel Industry shame the LGBTQIA+ community at a time when much of the cultural world is rejecting all ties to this toxic industry, including The Royal Shakespeare Company, The BFI and Southbank Centre, Picturehouse Cinemas and the British Museum.
Today we are calling for Pride to return to its roots. To once again stand against all injustice; to refuse to see LGBTQIA+ liberation as separate from other struggles for a better society and world.
Pride has forgotten the protest for the sake of the celebration, but until we can be sure that we have secured a safe and happy future for the next generation of young LGBTQIA+ people, we are celebrating too soon.
Now is the time to fight.
No brand has ever fought our fight for us, and they aren’t about to start now.
Don’t let the rainbows and #loveislove hashtags fool you.
We demand that we be the last generation of queer people who has to fight for our own survival. If the UK Government continues criminally supporting the murderous fossil fuel industry, we will be the last generation.
We can rise up against genocidal and exploitative governments and corporations, we can take back the rights that they are trying to strip from us. We can be the radical, beautiful people that our heritage has made us and demands from us.
This fight will not be won with a petition, a rally, or a debate.
It is won by civil resistance.
When society collapses as a result of the climate crisis, if we are not prepared, who do you think will take power? Who do you think will suffer the most?
While the climate crisis has killed so many people, and the cost of living crisis has forced us into desperation, queer people are already suffering destructive levels of dehumanisation and scapegoating.
Dehumanisation and scapegoating will turn to assault and murder. We’ve seen this destruction begin in America, how long until the hatred makes it to us in the UK? Do you think you have time to wait and debate?
How many of our community do we need to lose before we start to fight back?
How many are you willing to let die?
Death plagues the history of the LGBTQIA+ community. Do not let it plague our future too.
Civil resistance is in our blood, and we will not stop fighting until we know that a safe and happy future has been won for the next generation.
Ask yourself: when future generations talk about how the LGBTQIA+ community fought for our survival, will my name be mentioned?
Remember who you are.
Remember your history.
Remember who you owe it to to join the fight.