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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

Pride & Safety

It may have passed you by, but of late Pride has changed and adapted into an evolved behemoth. No longer are we holding the ‘love is love’ banners, now we are chanting for change, chanting for survival, and chanting for safety once again. 

Safety may sound odd to your ears, but surely we’re safe in the West? Well not as much as you think. Once upon a time, the UK ranked top for LGBTQIA+ friendliness, however, the UK is now ranked 16 out of the 49 countries Brussels-based LGBTQIA+ advocacy group ILGA-Europe scores. 

This ranking has dropped significantly due to the current government’s refusal to ban conversion therapy and the hostile & dangerous environment that has been created for trans+ people. 16 out of 49 might not sound too bad, but to drop from 1st to 16th (17th last year) in just a decade shows the alarming disintegration of the progress we have made as a community. 

The feeling of hostility that we talk about might not sound real to some, but I can promise you it is palpable in every space trans+ people enter. I can speak from personal experience, leaving the house is not always the easiest thing. To walk down a street and to be constantly scanning for threats, or possible escape routes, is a very real part of my life. 

This is of course the softer end of the spectrum, with Stop Hate UK (a leading anti-hate and anti-discrimination organisation) reporting that “In 2020/2021, 2,630 Hate Crimes against transgender people were recorded by the Police, an increase of 16% from the previous year (Home Office, 2021). This number is still severely underreported because out of 108,100 responses to the National LGBT Survey, 88% of transgender people did not report the most serious type of incident. 48% of transgender people were not satisfied with the Police response after reporting the most serious types of incidents.”

The safety of the community has never felt so precarious. This degradation of safety for the community highlights why we still need pride. It shows that pride stands as a reminder of how hard the community has fought, hard-won changes for our quality of life, that are now becoming eroded. 

Pride is not an exercise in vanity, it is the last bastion of security for the community.


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