This weekend an incident occurred that reminded me of what is is to be disabled in the UK in the 21st Century. I have been disabled since a few weeks after birth, having been born with cancer, but started using a wheelchair full time at the age of fifteen after a complication caused my spine to collapse.
I'm tired of students and young people as a collective being constantly ignored or patronised by the state... people forget that if you constantly damage the spirit of a generation and illegitimatise our opinions, it will demolish the hope and drive of those who not only have the potential to make huge positive impact in the UK, but worldwide.
Gay Pride has changed largely due to the context it now operates in. Gay rights have evolved so much it is just wonderful to be a part of a country that celebrates difference. There are still prejudices to overcome. Young gay people can still not feel comfortable at school. With the word 'dyke' being used 1000 times a day on Twitter, 'faggot' 4,500 times a day. With 26% of young gay people attempting suicide and 52% self harming and the word 'gay' banded around as a pejorative description of something defunct and wrong, Gay Pride's message should be about sustaining what we have and looking to improve the lives of young gay people. To protect them through education and allow our young people to see that difference isn't bad, it is something to be celebrated.
Not wishing to brag or anything, but I have a friend who works for a large investment bank. He recently snapchatted me a picture of his new Rolex (I assume time was of the essence when he felt compelled to broadcast the purchase). Aged 23, he appears to have decided the time was right to visit a Mayfair dealer and purchase a vintage timepiece with some of his £70,000 plus salary.
Nearly every time I write an article (or talk on the radio) about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, someone then contacts me to complain about my employment of the word "queer". Since summer is the season for LGBT(Q!) pride events, it seems like the ideal time to que(e)ry the term "queer", and to think about why it seems to be a word that divides opinion.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has signed into law the new homophobic Bill that criminalises gay freedom of expression. The adoption of children by foreign same-sex couples has also been banned and gay organisations that receive financial donations from overseas are being fined as 'foreign agents'. These are the latest examples of an escalating trend towards homophobic repression in Russia...
"Where's the straight Pride? Why do the gays get a special day to themselves? It's not fair." If I had a pound for every time I was asked that question, well, I'd have quite a few pounds... Straight Pride is taken for granted every single day. It's invisible, unshocking, quietly permeating everyday norms.
Patriotic Love has touched my life in profound ways. I grew up in the shadow of a tremendous giant, the Second World War. My childhood was cast into its darkness; it was only through persistence that I survived and was able to bloom. It was Patriotic Love that took the lives of family members and friends, those who fought in battle and those who were lost as casualties.