LGBTQ+ News and views
2020: What the year has in store for the LGBTQ+ community
2020: What the year has in store for the LGBTQ+ community
2019 saw some huge waves made in the LGBTQ+ community. Some were progressive and helpful towards us; others were sadly a huge step backwards. For instance, on a positive note, Northern Ireland achieved same sex marriage rights in line with the rest of the UK, whilst on less positive note, the UK Government rejected the concepts around non-gender recognition and the review of the Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) process was dropped from parliament. However, we did end the year with a glimmer of hope coming from north of the border. Scotland has gone live with the review of its own Gender Recognition Act, and we hope to see this positive push of LGBTQ+ rights from Scotland continuing.
These ups and downs seem to sum up the flux in progress the LGBTQ+ community faces on a daily basis in the UK. Our wins can very easily be celebrated, but then get followed by some big knock backs the very next day. However, this being said, we are a determined community and we believe we are moving in the right direction towards acceptance and equality. Sure, there is still a lot of work to be done, but progress is being made and we should all take a moment to reflect as we enter a new decade.
So, what can we expect for our tight knit community in 2020? Certainly, we have learnt to expect the unexpected, but here are our five predictions for the year ahead.
1) Finally, English children will grow up being taught about LGBTQ+ relationships
This school year is a momentous one for the community. In September 2020, new regulations for teaching relationships and sex education (RSE) in English schools come into force. A whole generation will attend schools, that not only accept LGBT people and same-sex relationships, but also celebrate and offer support on the issues that young LGBT people face.
The guidance means that primary schools will teach their students about different families, which of course includes LGBT families. Contrary to what’s been said by some online platforms and in the media, this is just about showing kids that families can have two mums or two dads; and that’s ok. Or to put it another way: different families, same love.
Not everyone in the UK is happy with this development and we saw in one primary school in Birmingham, where protestors stood outside and hurled abuse at the staff. On a positive note though, those from the school stood up and supported the move.
2) We hope for Trans acceptance
There have been numerous high-profile hits to Trans people this year, most shocking of all was that much of it came from within our own community. The rise of the LGB Alliance was a blow to many trans people. The new lesbian, gay and bisexual alliance group was heavily criticised for excluding the transgender community, prompting it to be labelled transphobic. A number of upset individuals took to debating the matter on Twitter.
World famous author JK Rowling also took to Twitter regarding Trans rights this year. She unfortunately declared her support for a woman going through the courts to argue that people who have gender reassignment surgery are still their original gender regardless. People began to call Rowling a TERF (Trans Exclusionist Radical Feminist); another group of people we’d quite like to wise up and become more inclusive.
It’s time to give the often-ignored T from the LGBTQ+ community a voice and platform.
3) LGBTQ+ and Politics – where is TQ+ in parliament?
The LGBTQ+ community is huge and diverse, so it is a wonder to us as to why we don’t hear of many of our politicians being openly gay or lesbian. And Trans people within the houses of parliament are simply non-existent. It has been a turbulent time to be queer in the USA lately (thanks Trump) but there is some good news coming from Annise Parker, the president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, which helps recruit and train LGBTQ+ people. She said, “I am absolutely convinced that the ‘rainbow wave’ we saw last year, and this year is going to be even bigger next year”.
LGBTQ+ people are concerned about their county’s leaders and associated policies, both here and across the pond. We welcome this rainbow tsunami of queer politicians. We just wish we could see a lot more of it in our own houses of parliament here in the UK.
4) The LGBTQ Action Plan from the British government
We’re pleased to see that the Government Equalities Office allocated £4.5 million of funding up until March 2020 for LGBTQ+ related projects. This funding was, and will be used, to deliver the commitments in the Government’s LGBTQ action plan. This includes: improving how the NHS treats LGBTQ+ people and the care they receive, improving queer people’s experiences in education tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, as well as educating people not to ‘out’ people without their consent. Likewise, we are all desperate for the waiting lists for Trans specialists to be drastically shorter so that everyone can be seen who needs help. Let’s hope 2020 is the year for more action.
5) Mental health in the workplace
The workplace wellbeing agenda has been improving and going from strength to strength within businesses. But there are still gaps, and unfortunately the LGBTQ+ community often falls through these gaps. Diversity training exists in some workplaces, but sadly not in all of them – and frankly this needs to change. Workplace culture towards mental health problems is in general improving. For instance, there have be UK wide campaigns to make people more aware of the pressures in the workplace and the benefits of opening up and talking about them. But the issues of acceptance and even ‘coming out’ (whether you be Trans, bi, gay queer etc) at work are still largely ignored by most workplace HR policies. We hope that 2020 will see more companies and industries stepping up to the plate with regards to this issue and setting solid guidance for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace.
2020; the start of a new year and a new decade, fills us with hope that there is positive change on the horizon, but also with caution that hard fought rights aren’t rolled back – there is still a long way to go. Equality is being fought for continuously by everyone in our community and our treasured allies. Whatever this year and the decade may hold, we wish you all a happy and healthy year.