A Bag of Bones, Blood & Body Parts
Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer doesn’t make you any better at your job. It doesn’t guarantee that you are a better human being or kinder to your fellow citizens. Neither does it mean you will be worse. Sexual orientation or gender simply has nothing to do with anything other than sexual orientation or gender.
Discriminatory decisions made in any workplace on LGBTQ grounds are not just illegal or against the fundamental human rights of an applicant or employee, they are a mirror held up to the true values of a decision maker, and to those of the organisation that allows them to behave that way. Despite the level of corporate support for Pride, how many people working in our multinationals, our professional and financial services firms, our indigenous businesses, our public sector organisations and sport associations, still feel they need to hide their real identities? A lot.
This is why Pride Month matters so much. Our world is still determined to mark love between straight people as “the right type of love”, the love we are most comfortable with, the love we see in most movies, advertisements and mainstream media. Pride’s celebrations and bright colours are in contrast to the dark and lonely places that gay people were for decades forced to hide and in many cases, still are.
Pride Month is also a time to remember the appalling violence that the LGBTQ community has experienced and continues to face. We think of the murder in 2018 of transgender woman Naomi Hersi and the recent highly publicised disgusting attack on a lesbian couple, both of these in the UK. How many other acts of such violence go unreported? The UK Independent reports that LGBTQ relationships are illegal in 74 countries and that being gay or bisexual is punishable by death in 13 of these. 40 of these countries retain a “gay panic” clause which enables people to use as a defence for committing crimes such as assault or murder, that they were provoked because the person was gay, lesbian or bisexual. Perhaps corporate involvement in Pride could extend to donating money to charities who support LGBTQ organisations in these regions.
Prejudice takes many forms and generally correlates with some deep insecurity in the bigot. The real differences between us are mental attitudes not physical attributes. As with race, religion and gender, LGBTQ equality faces the same challenge of having to share and educate those who are outside their communities. Pride month is an important part of this process. Whatever our ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation or temple, if any, people are just people. Ultimately, we are all just a bag of bones, blood and body parts.