Column: 2020 And The LGBT+ Journey Takes Another Step
By Adam Humphreys
The year is 2020 and LGBT+ Rights have taken further progression now N.I has joined the rest of the UK.
For the LGBT+ community basic human rights have taken another progression, and by that, I mean that Northern Ireland has now joined the rest of the UK by legalising same-sex marriages. This will no doubt bring huge joyful celebrations for those who have campaigned tirelessly for the rest of Ireland’s share in those rights.
Back in 2013 when England, Scotland and Wales legalised same-sex marriage Northern Ireland did not vote on any change in its law. Since 2005 the nearest thing they have had was civil partnerships, so after 15 years it’s been a hard-fought battle, but one that’s definitely been worth it. And as you can imagine, certain political and religious groups didn’t make things any easier for them.
However, one thing that I cannot stress enough is that whenever it comes to the long, tireless battles for even the most basic of human rights it’s a battle of two halves.
The first half is to win those victories, and when you’ve done that you can afford to rest for a while. The second half, and I’m afraid this is where continuous part comes into it, is to battle to maintain them and ensure they remain part of the law.
What we need to remember is that when a legal right, whether it be LGBT+, Disability, Civil or Women’s for every victory that is won there will always be those who’ll want to undo the hard work. Some of it will be by religious zealots, and some by Far-Right fanatics. Sadly, there will be those from within those communities who have been institutionalised to such a degree that liberation has become their enemy.
We are now in the year 2020 and with same-sex marriage now law it serves as a perfect reminder, and now more than ever, that as a community we need to extend our arms to others. Show them there we are here, and we are not going anywhere. After all, let’s not forget where we were 54 years ago back in 1966. Same sex relations between adults, regardless of consent, were illegal and your employer could fire you because of your sexuality, amongst other things. And sadly, there was no laws in place to protect us.
So, it is at this point I strongly urge everyone within the LGBT+ community, including our heterosexual allies, to come together and remain united. Remember, there are religious groups and people on the far-right political side of the spectrum who will want nothing more than for LGBT+ Rights to be undone. Therefore, we must remember that we need to guard those very same rights but also show those of the Thatcherite era that these rights are for them as well.
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