The world is hurting right now. There is no nice way to say it. The world is hurting, and the LGBT community is among the most pained. With LGBT History Month starting today, I could not help but reflect on the irony of gearing up for 28 days of celebrations when we are at a point where progress may not only have stopped, but may actually be regressing.
What has helped alleviate this not-unjustified sense of gloom has been the privilege of living in a city that still has queer spaces. The final weekend before February, I went to see a show starring Korean-American drag queen Kim Chi. I know drag – and its commercialisation in the mainstream – is not without its detractors. But I am a fan of her work and I needed to be around like-minded people. The show was not political in any way, unless, of course, you count the fact that existing as LGBT in the current climate is not without its baggage. That being said, there was something oddly electrifying and – dare I say? – almost cathartic about watching a “proudly plus-size” queen defiantly flaunting her heritage in a hanbok the weekend after her country of residence became quite a lot less welcoming.
This is what I feel is the most important thing to remember going into History Month. There are still spaces for us as a community to thrive. And when we come together, we can provide something for each other that is difficult to quantify but oh so vital for our survival – strength and unwavering support for each other. Yes, we should critique such spaces. Yes, they need to improve and are not magically unproblematic just because they are (pro-)LGBT. After all, unwavering blind adulation is what has led to many of the problems we face this year. But having these spaces in the first place, celebrating them, and making them as intersectional and accessible as we possibly can is the best way for us to celebrate what we have achieved so far while setting a course for things yet to come.
We hope we as a committee can play a part in continuing to make the Network more inclusive. The University is hosting a varied set of programmes for LGBT History Month and we would really encourage Network members to go to as many as they can because there are some really important and interesting conversations that are taking place in them. For a full programme, please see: http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/peopleandculture/2017/01/26/events-lgbt-history-month-2017/