Hello my name is Faye and I work as an administrator in the antenatal clinic at Newham Hospital. I am 29 years young and I am an out and proud lesbian of colour.
June is Pride month but celebrating and supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community should be happening 365 days a year. To me Pride means everything. It’s a time to stand in solidarity and reflect on our elders who lived under section 28, a law passed in 1988 that stopped councils and schools ‘promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.’ It is a time to celebrate those elders who fought for LGBTQ+ rights and paved the way for the rights that we have now.
Looking back at my own struggle with gender identity and sexuality, it’s all about knowing yourself right. If you don’t have a sense of self you have nothing. My advice others who are struggling is to go with the feelings you’re feeling. Believe they are valid. Understand they are and not wrong. Thankfully, with improvement in education on vocabulary and finding my support network, I was able to resolve by struggles and take ownership of my identity.
Prejudice comes in all shapes and sizes and it would be remiss not to share my thoughts on how the Black Lives Matter campaign has stirred me. I have heard many say, ‘all lives matter’, but to me, until the value of black lives are seen as equal this simply cannot be said. If you hurt one member of the black community it hurts everyone. It resonates and triggers. And now there is generations of anger and pain erupting. Racism, discrimination and prejudice has gone on for too long and too many lives have been taken due to racist law enforcement and bigotry.
It is only right to recognise the LGBTQ+ people of colour taking a stand against not only racism and police brutality but also the lack of equality that led to the stonewall riots. If not for these people, this month could have been very different for us all.
BME and LGBTQ+ allies can help by standing shoulder to shoulder with us in our fight against racism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, acknowledging the discrimination we face using their voice, position and privilege in society to counter discrimination.
I’ve only recently joined the LGBTQ+ Network and I joined because it’s a safe place and it’s so refreshing to liaise with people who can relate to you and see you for all that you are. The network is for people who identify as LGBTQ+ and allies and its purpose is to work towards a more inclusive, tolerant and open minded environment for all.
Remember, no matter who you are or where you come from, you have a right to live authentically.