Speech About LGBTQA+ Rights
Hello, thank you for taking the time to listen. My name is Emily Jackson, and today I will be talking about LGBTQA+ rights, bullying, hate crimes, mental health and Pride Month.
Nelson Mandella once said; “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
¼ of the world’s population - that's 1.95 billion people - think that same-sex relationships should be considered a crime. Only 46% of LGBTQA+ people feel able to be open about their sexuality or gender with their own family and friends. I strongly believe that this needs to change. As Nelson Mandella said; taking away someone’s human rights because of something they can’t control, something they don’t get to decide; that’s like suggesting they aren’t human at all.
45% of LGBT students are bullied in high schools across the UK, and over ¾ of students hear or use homophobic slur ‘frequently’ or ‘often’. How would you feel if you were constantly being tormented and even abused for something that is completely out of your control, something that is simply a part of who you are? Horrible. That’s what. More than 2 in 5 young trans people have attempted to take their own lives, as have 1 in 5 lesbian, gay and bi students. This is completely disgusting, don’t you agree? Many of my friends have experienced bullying because of their sexual orientation, and that is why this topic is very close to my heart; I know how damaging bullying can be.
But it isn’t just in schools that people are mistreated for being homosexual. Almost a quarter of LGBTQA+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the past 12 months, and this number has risen by 78% since 2013. 4 in 5 of these people who have experienced hate crime have not reported it to the police. But it’s not just in person that people are abused. 1 in 10 LGBT people have experienced anti-LGBT abuse online directed towards them personally in the last month alone.
And again I wonder; why are people being discriminated against for something they can’t control?
I read a rather funny story online the other day, and I think it really puts things into perspective. There were two women standing in a queue at a shop, and there was a small television in the corner of the room. It was playing an advert which at one point showed two women kissing. The first woman standing in the queue says to the second; “It’s horrid, isn’t it. They should stop showing gay people on TV because there are young children watching and they might turn gay too.” In response to this crude comment, the second woman simply says “yeah. And they should stop showing black people on TV too” and after a confused look from the other woman continues “there are young children watching and they might turn black too”.
That second woman managed to explain so well what the situation was; people can decide what their sexuality is, it isn’t a choice. Just as people can’t decide what their skin colour is.
Being a part of the LGBTQA+ community - or being a strong ally, like myself - isn’t always bad though. Despite being discriminated against and often having poor mental health, there is one month of the year in particular where so many people from this incredible community and many of its allies come together to fight for LGBT rights and celebrate who they are. In June, people from all over the world educate and be educated on pride history. There are parades, marches, and concerts, there are bright and beautiful colours and just the most positive feeling in the air.
As a community, I strongly believe that we should further educate people about LGBT rights and how those rights are being abused. People should know just how damaging homophobic slur is, even if they think it’s ‘just a phrase’. We need to stand together and support the LGBTQA+ community because their voices must be heard. We need to make their voices heard. Love is love.