Why I’ve Been Doing What I’m Doing
Often when I meet people in the course of my travels and tell them about the work I am doing, they ask me why. Even people in my “home” life ask me why I make LGBT rights such a big issue. Surely there are more important things, they say. Surely being gay myself is not an integral part of my identity – I’m much more than that, so why do I need to tell people? I can pretend to be straight, can’t I?
Five and a half weeks ago, on 25 April 2016, Xulhaz Mannan, a Bangladeshi LGBT activist I interviewed last year, was hacked to death along with fellow activist Mahbub Tonoy. Since then, here are just some other things that have happened in the world of LGBT news:
28 April – Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila banned from playing in Amman, Jordan, because of their music’s themes of gender equality, tolerance, and LGBT rights. Source: Gino’s Blog
29 April – In Egypt, eleven men jailed for up to 12 years for being gay. Source: Pink News
1 May – Woman who travels to all 50 US states in “Fagbug” to promote LGBT pride is attacked. Source: Pink News
2 May – Arson attack on Canada’s only sex reassignment surgery. Source: Rabble
3 May: Bahamian MP suggests exiling trans people to an island. (Week later, says he was joking). Source: Tribune 242
4 May – Trans woman verbally attacked on NYC subway for riding while trans. Source: Mic
10 May – A Chinese trans man vows to keep fighting for equality. Source: BBC News
24 May – Six men taken to court in Nigeria for committing homosexual acts. Source: 76 Crimes
24 May: Jamaican gay couple reportedly killed. Source: 76 Crimes
2 June – A gay couple in Morocco jailed for having sex in a car. Source: The Independent
4 June – A 17-year-old girl is sent to a “pray away the gay” camp in Texas against her will. Source: Go Fund Me
And all over the world, LGBT people who didn’t make the news came out and were rejected, disowned, kicked out of their homes, forced into opposite sex marriage, beaten up, and killed.
This is why I’m doing what I’m doing.