A common refrain whenever I speak to people who are not LGBT+ goes something along the lines of this: “Why do you get so many days to celebrate your identity?” Pride, History Month, the various intersectional remembrance days, and IDAHoBiT are often used by people outside the community to suggest we have some sort of special privilege. It makes us sound entitled and is often used as a means to try and instigate a sense of guilt in us. So, on this 17 May, as we commemorate another IDAHoBiT, I have one thing to say to anyone reading this who identifies as queer in any way. Do. Not. Apologise. Be yourself and remember that the reason we have such events – many of which are framed as days of mourning or grief – is because society has often been stacked against us. In many parts of the world, even today, stigma against the LGBT+ community is rampant. Active persecution in Chechnya, political ostracisation in Singapore, legal dangers in the USA, silent discrimination in the UK, state-sanctioned violence across parts of Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, and the specific prejudice faced by LGBT+ refugees – all of these serve as reminders that our various identities and intersections are consistently targeted. In these times, it is not only acceptable but important to take time and reflect. Commemorating days such as IDAHoBiT are not simply ceremonial and superficial; they play a vital role in reminding the world that, despite the best efforts of many, we are a community that will not be silenced. In particular, it is a way for those of us in parts of the world where prejudice is not the norm to speak out for those who are in precarious positions. Even if that takes the form of a private reaffirmation of who we are, in the comfort of our homes, solidarity is a powerful thing.
Ibi – Campaigns Officer
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