Did you know that 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which happened in June 1969 and are generally considered a major turning point in the civil rights movement that the LGBTQ+ Community is still fighting today? I’ll admit that I didn’t realise this until I started researching this post, which shows just how important it is that we all open our eyes and ears (and our minds!) to see and hear what is being shared by those within the LGBTQ+ Community during Pride Month and beyond.
As a heterosexual, cis-gendered person, I have lived in blissful ignorance of how hard the LGBTQ+ Community has had to fight over the years to come anywhere near equal rights, as well as how far we still have to go until equal rights are truly reached. I’ve never understood the hatred, fear, and bigotry held by so many, but I was completely blind to just how rife it truly was. That all changed over the past couple of years, as I began to follow a few bloggers who courageously put themselves out there to show people like me just what they faced and what I could do to help make a difference.
So this Pride Month, I wanted to share with you some links to posts that might help you understand the importance of Pride, why we need it, and how you can become an ally. And if you have any other links that you think I should read, please do let me know in the comments or via my contact form.
LGBTQ+ Bloggers and social media accounts
I’m going to start by listing the bloggers and instagrammers that I follow, who have opened my eyes to the challenges they face and encouraged me to try and become an ally. They have the most wonderful feeds about everyday family life, and are the kindest and most generous people you could ever hope to connect with.
Fizzy Peaches – Fizzy Peaches is written by Lyndsay and focuses on family life in Brighton. Lyndsay and her partner V have two young daughters, Violet and Pearl, and the blog is a wonderful document of their early years and the joys and challenges of parenting (which we can all relate to!). You can find them on instagram here.
LesBeMums – LesBeMums is written mainly by Kate, about life as a same-sex, two mum family. Kate and her wife Sharon are mums to T, whose beaming smile brightens up my feed every single day! But it is Kate’s posts about LGBT rights that always make me stop scrolling (particularly on Facebook) and truly pay attention to what is happening. If you follow just one new account this month, please make it this one!
Mark Loewen – Mark Loewen is the author of What Does a Princess Really Look Like? which focuses on who we are rather than what we look like. It all started because of a conversation with his daughter, when he realised they were both falling into the gender stereotypes of what boys and girls look like and how they behave. I can’t quite remember how I first started following Mark on instagram, but he quickly became one of my favourite people to follow, as his posts are so thoughtful and inspiring. He shares snippets of their life as a same-sex, two dad family, raising a daughter via open adoption. What I hadn’t realised, until looking for the link to his website for this post, was the intense journey he went on towards reaching this place in his life, including attending Conversion Therapy (which, as a Christian myself, breaks my heart that this even exists). Please do spend a bit of time today reading his personal story.
Meet The Wildes – Meet The Wildes is written by Amber, which she describes as “a modern love story about two women who fell in love, and the family they made together”. Amber and Kirsty have twin boys aged 4, twin girls aged 2, and a baby, and seeing their updates on instagram always makes my heart melt just a little. Amber writes so beautifully about both the joys and the challenges they face, and is always so honest about their journey. She is also genuinely one of the kindest people you could ever hope to meet. You can also follow Kirsty’s posts at The Little Wildes.
My Two Mums – My Two Mums is actually the first blog written by same-sex parents that I followed, and it was the honesty and openness of conversations that Kirsty and Clara displayed that first opened my eyes to how much I had to learn. They write a lot about their everyday adventures with their son, Monkey, as well as posting about the challenges they face and how we can all help to make the world a better place, where everybody feels safe to be who they are. I tend to follow them more on Twitter, where they regularly post updates and conversation starters.
These are, of course, just a tiny selection of LGBTQ+ bloggers and social media accounts, but I wanted to share them with you because they have all had a very big influence in my own life. You can easily find other blogs and accounts to follow by joining in the conversation online or looking at who others follow on lists such as this one.
What pride is, and what it is not
Pride Month is a celebration in many places, for sure, but it is also a reminder that we still have a long way to go. It is a call to action for all of us to work towards a time when we no longer need Pride Parades, because everybody is accepted just as they are. The fact that people even ask “when is Straight Pride?” shows just how ignorant we can be about our own privilege – we don’t need Straight Pride because we don’t have to try and justify who we are or live in fear of prejudice against us.
So Pride is an opportunity for us all to step up our game, to try to do better, and to work towards a kinder and more tolerant world. It’s not an opportunity for us to air our prejudices, cash in on a fast buck by creating rainbow coloured merchandise, or make mere token gestures and then forget all about it for the next eleven months. Here are a few posts that help show what Pride is and what it is not:
Why We Need Pride
If you live in the UK like I do, I hope that you are aware of the protests against the No Outsiders programme that occurred earlier this year. The majority of the protests, from what I can gather, are based upon religious grounds. What bothers me the most about this is that, if you expect the Equalities Act 2010 to protect your right to live your life in line with your own religious beliefs and to have your religion taught in schools alongside others, then you also need to offer that exact same right to other people.
It’s not about whether you personally agree or disagree with it, it’s about providing children with the opportunity to explore and understand that everybody is different and that it is safe to be who you are, regardless of gender, race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
As a Christian I am well aware that religious intolerance towards the LBGTQ+ Community is a problem, and I shall deal with that later in this post. But there is also intolerance amongst those who simply hold prejudices against those who are different to them, for no other reason than ignorance and fear. And that is why it is crucially important that we ensure that children are taught inclusive values from the youngest age.
It is entirely possible to teach this in age-appropriate ways at all levels of the school curriculum, providing a safe space for our children to grow up with confidence and security, no matter how they identify. We should want this for all our children, and for ourselves as adults, but we need to be aware that it is particularly important for those who may be feeling unseen, unaccepted, or even ostracised by society.
The fact that such protests are still happening in 2019, 50 years after the Stonewall Riots, is a damning indictment of how far we still have to go, and exactly why Pride is so important. Here are a few posts that highlight this far better than I ever could:
How You Can Be An Ally
Even when you know that you want to be an ally, it can be difficult knowing what to do or how to help, can’t it? This is true in any area of life where you are an outsider wanting to support a community facing things you will never have to face. But just because it might seem challenging at first, please don’t let that put you off trying.
The very best way to be an ally, in my experience, is to actually ask people what they need and how you can help. There’s absolutely no need to try and guess what is needed, especially when people are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. That being said, you don’t even need to ask to get started, because there are so many posts already out there about how you can become an ally. Here are just a few of them:
What About Religious Intolerance?
As I mentioned earlier on in this post, prejudice against the LGBTQ+ Community based on religious intolerance is a big problem. I obviously cannot speak for those of other faiths, or even necessarily for others within my own religion, but as a Christian myself I find this really hard. The entire basis for my belief is in a loving God, one whose love is shown in the gospel accounts of Jesus who taught us to love one another, and to refuse to accept any domination system of our day which suggests that human laws (including religious ideologies) are above this ultimate love for each other.
Now, I appreciate that this isn’t necessarily the prevailing understanding of Jesus’ message and the gospel accounts of his life and teaching (or the accounts of the apostles). In fact I am very aware of this, because it was upon coming across extremely conservative and fundamental understandings of Christianity that made me run far away from the religion before I’d even had chance to properly explore it as a teenager. So I am in no way suggesting that this isn’t an issue, because it is.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Christians who strongly object to the intolerance that exists within our religion. And this isn’t simply based on purely personal reasons, but because we believe that the Bible verses and religious reasons often given were never meant to be understood in the way they have been. I’ve touched upon this previously in a post about why I support the LGBTQ+ Community as a Christian, and I will continue to read and study the works of biblical scholars and theologians who help me to further understand the context for the scriptures and therefore how to better support those within the LGBTQ+ Community from within my own.
For now, I’d like to leave you with a few links which might help you out, if you’re ever faced with intolerance based upon Christian scripture or religious assumptions. I do hope that they help. And if you ever come across religious intolerance online and need somebody to support you in responding to it, please feel free to contact me (you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or send me a message via my contact form).
I’m going to keep searching for links to add here, but I hope these are a good starting point for helping provide a response to anyone who tries to use the “Clobber Verses” to prop up their own prejudice.