Editorial: Queer politics

The Editor comments on the upcoming tory leadership election, the implications for LGBTQ+ rights in the UK and how it might not all be bad thanks to some [not so] quiet heroes.

What has become of us? Is it a hangover from Brexit, has the country been whisked away back to the 1980’s by a TARDIS ? No? Then perhaps we’re merely languishing uncomfortably in the murky tide of a bitter battle between conservative party leadership election candidates. The buzz word of the day is ‘woke’.

The rights of the queer community are once again being used as a political football as the Trans and non binary community faces its next uphill battle. Conversion therapy has yet to be banned, the promised GRA reform promised is stalled, (except in Scotland), LGBTQ+ hate crime is on the rise still, and drag queen storytelling is the latest craze to be protested by right wing eejits.

Liz Truss is a bit of a mixed bag, she shut down the reforms to the GRA, but would support a full conversion therapy ban, it was Boris Johnson that intervened to not include trans people in the legislation. However her policy position on deporting asylum seekers from countries where they are criminalised suggests that she’s not really got the bottle to put her money where her mouth is, or just has not a single shred of warmth in her heart.

Rishi Sunak fairs no better, he wants to battle in the ‘woke’ culture wars, he doesn’t like ‘clumsy’ gender neutral language, or trans athletes competing in sports, but wants to clamp down on hate crime. Does he not even get it ?

When a politician of a considerable platform diminishes a minority, they serve to increase hate crime for that minority. You can’t fix what you keep breaking yourself Rishi !

And as the end of August nears we look forward to when kids and teenagers are in school again and we can get our lunch at Pret without the daft queues.

But in the meantime the educators , some amongst our readers, are being the superheroes we all craved for when we were younger. Teachers and support staff at the John Fisher School in Croydon, south London, courageously went out on strike despite new governors, appointed by the Catholic Church, allegedly making threats to sack them.

The author, Simon James Green, whose books provide representation for LGBTQ+ youth, was denied his planned author visit by the Archdiocese of Southwark, despite the senior leaders and the governing body voting in favour of it by a clear majority.

Photo credit: Gareth Williams

“When we saw the cancellation of Simon Green’s visit to John Fisher school we saw the erosion of [a] safe space. By overruling SLT and the school’s governing body to cancel a library organized event, Southwark Archdiocese’s have demonstrated to students that they are not always treated equally and that the people who have been put in place to protect them can be overruled by those who do not value them as individuals”.

NEU member, librarian and children’s author.

The National Education Union, which represents staff in that school organized a wave of strikes over three weeks demanding that the talk was rescheduled and the governors are reinstated. The strikes were suspended when an agreement was reached about a future visit and further training for the staff.

Well, would you look at that, maybe there is hope after all.

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