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Pride is a statement. A statement that says we will not be silenced, we will not be oppressed, and we will not be erased. In a world where LGBTQ+ people face violence and discrimination on a daily basis, Pride is more important than ever.
According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association's (ILGA) annual report, 2022 was the most violent year for LGBTQ+ people in Europe and Central Asia in a decade. This is a shocking statistic that should alarm us all. It is a reminder that even in supposedly progressive societies, LGBTQ+ people are still not safe.
The violence against LGBTQ+ people takes many forms. It can be physical, verbal, or emotional. It can come from strangers on the street, family members, or even the government. It is a constant threat that hangs over the heads of LGBTQ+ people, reminding them that they are not fully accepted in society.
This violence has real consequences. It leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It can also lead to suicide. According to ILGA, the increase in violence against LGBTQ+ people in Europe and Central Asia has led to an increase in suicide rates among LGBTQ+ people in the region.
This is why Pride is so important. It is a way for LGBTQ+ people to come together and celebrate who they are. It is a way to show the world that they are not ashamed of who they are and that they will not be silenced. It is a way to create a sense of community and belonging in a world that often tries to push LGBTQ+ people to the margins.
Pride is also a way to raise awareness about the issues facing our community and LGBTQ+ history. It is a way to shine a light on the violence and discrimination that they face and to demand change. It is a way to show the world that LGBTQ+ people are not going away and that they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
But Pride is not just about LGBTQ+ people. It is also about allies. It is about straight and cisgender people standing up for their LGBTQ+ friends, family members, and neighbors. It is about showing solidarity and support for a community that has been marginalized and oppressed for far too long.
In a world where LGBTQ+ people face violence and discrimination on a daily basis, Pride is more important than ever. It is a statement that says we will not be silenced, we will not be oppressed, and we will not be erased from history or our futrues. It is a reminder that LGBTQ+ people are here, we have been here and we are not going away, and we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. So let us all come together and celebrate Pride, not just as a party, but as a powerful statement of solidarity and hope.
Saquib Ahmad 20/06/23
#fightingfearcommunity #lgbtq #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #suicide #pride
As much as I appreciate and see the importance of Pride and will support it no matter what, I am often left feeling a bit annoyed afterwards, or let me rephrase that I am often left annoyed about Pride when I imagine Pride in the West and by 'West' I mean, the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, US, and Canada. I am left feeling annoyed because firstly, Pride is often referred to as Gay Pride and not Pride i.e., therefore not inclusive to LGBTQ+ people and secondly, it feels like it has become commercial and a money-making machine in the west to exploit LGBTQ+ people and for corporations to Pink wash. Although I know there are many charities, individuals and organisations that do Pride meaningfully and have even worked with them this feeling persists.
I grew up in Manchester in the UK which is known as the "Gay capital" of the North but for most part of the year, people who looked like me (brown) couldn’t get into any of the mainstream Queer spaces in and around Canal Street because it was "members only" most weekends. It was even "members only" during the week sometimes. For those from Manchester and who grew up in the 90s and 2000s and were Queer and of colour, you would know that the phrase "members only" was coded language to bar brown and black people into majority white spaces. But then once a year every year the gates opened during Pride, and we were then welcomed with open arms and inflated prices.
Like many others before me and after me, I found myself at some point in the evening during a night out, looking for white "friends" to be able to get into a bar or club as this gave us some credibility that we were "safe".
I hated it and even now when I think back to these incidents it makes my blood boil! The same bars and clubs that rejected me all year, during Pride were exploiting me and I begrudgingly consented to it.
When did Pride become so commercial and when did Queer spaces that people of colour fought so hard for become exclusive? If I look at Pride in Brussels and even though I was involved in it with our NGO Fighting Fear Community promoting our Pride Drag Brunch, I was annoyed then too. I faced fellow activists making Queer phobic comments about transpeople, femme people, lesbians and more. Activist who themselves work with Queer NGOs using language like Gay Pride and not Pride and when pointing this out to them, they told me an openly bisexual person, "What does it matter? You're Gay anyway!" ....Let me repeat this, these things were happening at PRIDE!
I understand that biphobia is very prevalent generally amongst the Queer community but especially amongst Gay men and Lesbian women but surely on Pride you can let it be, no?
What calms me is that in other parts of the world Pride is still a statement of inclusivity and equality. Perhaps because LGBTQ+ people have less rights and so they are more inclined to protest and not just party for Pride. I can't help but feel that we in the West have become somewhat complacent. Believing we have everything and so need not to protest for anything. Whilst many LGBTQ+ people, especially LGBTQ+ with intersectional identities such as racial, religious or ethnic minorities, those with disabilities, sex workers, refugees and asylum seekers and others LGBTQ+ people continue to be discriminated against.
I attended Pride in Chania, Greece on the 29th of June 2023. This was this small port city, on the island of Crete's first ever Pride event and I has to say, I was moved for the first time in a long time. I marched alongside my Queer friends and what I think was about 2000 people. This moment in history was organised by Loatki and Chania Visibility Group. This was a peer led / organised march. What was even more interesting about this Pride march was that an overwhelming majority of the people marching were allies. Friends and relatives of LGBTQ+ people who marched alongside their loved ones.
Now why so many allies you ask? Well, the reason being was that the right-wing party, the 'Spartans' had organised themselves an "Anti-Pride" march on the same day to demonstrate their disbelief and or hate for LGBTQ+ people. So, these allies were there to protect their loved ones and were willing to fight and they came prepared. I remember one of my friends saying to me that she wasn't going to march but knowing that the Spartans have organised their march she felt she had no choice but to demonstrate her allyship. This sentiment moved me.
The marchers were full of energy with chants like
Jackie refers to a Trans woman who was killed by police brutality in Greece.
When hearing the translations of the chants I couldn't help but feel angry and excited at the same time. It reminded me that despite how forward we think we are in Western Europe there is still much work needed, for example a 2023 survey by Ghent University hospital and Transgender Infopunt showed that 1/3 LGBTQI+ people in Flanders and Brussels experienced Physical aggression in the past 2 years. 64.5% reported experiencing at least 1 form of sexual violence. Almost 70% said they had seriously considered suicide. This is in Liberal and forward-thinking Belgium which is number 2 in terms of LGBTQ+ rights with Malta being number 1 according ILGA Europe.
Seeing this Pride and tensions around it reminded me that Pride is more important than ever before. Considering we as a community experience discrimination and hate from each other it's not a surprise that we also receive it from the patriarchy. I spoke to a local Gay man at the local bar in Chania called Ababa asking him if he was going to attend the march to which he replied, "I'm not like those clowns". This man like many other "straight passing" Queer people sometimes don't see the need for Pride or are scared to be a part of it so not to face discrimination but what they often do not realise is that they are able to sit in Queer spaces because someone who wasn't as able to "pass" or didn't want to hide themselves opened those spaces. I can't help but feel there is a lot of freeloading on to the backs and efforts of those Queer people who are less able to pass or even want to pass as straight. I can understand fear and would support overcoming it every time, but to not appreciate or empathise with the efforts made by others and refer to them as 'clowns' makes me annoyed.
Pride is so many things, it's a statement, its education, it's a protest against discrimination and violence, it's hope and its visibility. I can only imagine what it must be like to grow up Queer in a small town in the Mediterranean where the culture still subjugates women and girls let alone LGBTQ+ people. Here visibility is crucial and marches like this one I imagine gave some young emerging LGBTQ+ person in Chania hope.
I really want to congratulate the young LGBTQ+ people and allies of Chania who came out and marched, so many before you didn't and watched as you bravely took to the streets making yourselves visible and vulnerable! You are brave, you are beautiful, and I feel your fear, but I know you fight it and will continue to do so. Thank you for giving us and those younger than you hope!
Saquib Ahmad 14/07/23
#fightingfearcommunity #lgbtq #pride #chania #greece #crete #chaniapride2023 #pride2023 #loveislove
Welcome to our LGBTQ+ history corner, where we dive into the fascinating world of queer history and uncover stories that deserve the spotlight. Today, we're taking a queer and historical journey back to ancient Egypt to explore the enigmatic figure of Hatshepsut, a remarkable ruler whose gender identity defies traditional labels.
The Queer Queen of Egypt
Hatshepsut's story begins in the land of the Pharaohs, where they challenged societal norms and embraced a fluid sense of gender. In a world where binary concepts of male and female were not set in stone, this ancient ruler navigated a complex identity.
The Enigmatic Pharaoh
Hatshepsut's journey to power began as the daughter of King Thutmose I, but their ascent to the throne was far from ordinary. They married their half-brother, King Thutmose II, becoming the chief queen with the title "God's Wife." Little did they know that their life would take a remarkable turn.
When Thutmose II passed away unexpectedly, their stepson, Thutmose III, was too young to rule alone. Hatshepsut stepped in as a regent, but they never stepped out. For about fifteen years, they ruled alongside Thutmose III, a situation that would challenge our understanding of gender identity in ancient Egypt.
A Queer Understanding
Instead of adhering to the traditional narrative of Hatshepsut as a woman impersonating a man, we propose a more nuanced perspective. Using a queer lens to examine Hatshepsut's life, we can uncover the possibilities of their gender identity. Perhaps, they saw themselves as an androgynous being, combining elements of both genders as dictated by political, religious, and social contexts.
The Divine Connection
In ancient Egypt, gender was not a strict binary concept. Kingship was an androgynous construct, allowing for the identification of both male and female models. The divine realm, exemplified by gods like Atum, was androgynous, reflecting a society that recognized the fluidity of gender.
Unpacking Gender Representation
A close examination of Hatshepsut's statuary representation reveals their complex gender presentation. Some statues depict them as female, while others portray a traditional male king. Some even combine gender attributes, defying categorization. The inscriptions accompanying these statues add further layers of complexity to their gender identity.
The Importance of a Queer Perspective
Hatshepsut's story challenges our preconceived notions of gender in ancient Egypt. By applying a queer lens, we can appreciate the multifaceted understanding of Hatshepsut's gender identity, reflecting the fluidity and combinatory nature of ancient Egyptian gender constructs.
In the world of LGBTQ history, the story of Hatshepsut offers a unique perspective on non-binary identities in ancient times. They provide us with a glimpse into an ancient culture that embraced and recognized the complexities of gender, showing that the past holds many stories of queer individuals who defied societal norms. Hatshepsut, the gender-bending pharaoh, continues to inspire us to question and explore the rich tapestry of queer history.
Saquib Ahmad 23/10/23
#fightingfearcommunity #lgbtq+ #queerhistory #lgbtqhistory #ancientqueerhistory #anxietyegupt