I’m sat here, in a bar, with a wine and a large slice of something delicious (I just asked for anything dessert wise that was yellow), contemplating how to start this post. One thing that I actually do find about political and social landscapes coming up to an election or national poll is the influx and sometimes BARAGE (Nigel?) of information and discussion. It’s something that is completely saturated, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however it can definitely create an all encompassing and intense environment if you’re surrounded by party politics every day. Granted, this election has only been 7 weeks, however in the past 3 years we have had 3 national polls, each with large press/media coverage that has swallowed us mere citizens in it’s gullet.
Lets break it down. The election has happened and the results are in, and the conservatives have got more seats than labour, but not enough to create a majority government. 326 seats were needed to ensure that May would’ve gracefully unpacked her suitcase and retained her seat in number 10, however she only managed to accumulate 318 seats. Labour earning a strong 261 seats, and achieving 40% of the vote, which is higher than both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. Due to us unfortunately not having a first past the post system in the UK, this created what’s known as a hung parliament. In circumstances like this, as we saw in 2010, parties have to cooperate and work together to create a majority government, and achieve the illusive 326 seats. Because May was the closest to the 326, and also because she had parties, (Such as the Democratic Unionist Party) who could potentially work with her, and subsequently had the right amount of seats to push her over to the 326, she cohabited with them to form a majority government. Today, on the 9th June, Theresa May went to the Queen to ask her permission to form a government with the DUP, and has now retained her position as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
This doesn’t mean that Labour didn’t put up an amazing fight, and also doesn’t allude to the triumphs that Corbyn has accomplished in his campaign. His campaign was full of passion, drive, determination and heart, and the polls have shown this. A record number of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote, and many marginals that were up for debate between May and Corbyn were won by Corbyn, and many of his safe seats were actually won with a higher majority than the election in 2015. He has also created a record number of female MPs that will now be calling Westminster home, and has pushed and pushed through to show that utilising young people’s votes in this election HAS changed the outcome, and has meant that the Tories did not win with the sweeping majority that May had hoped for.
For LGBT+ people, elections can be stressful and anxious times. Living in a world where governmental change has and will continue to affect our rights, mental health and social mobility results in elections creating a climate that has real passion and strength behind it from LGBT+ people. We want our rights to be secured, and our progression to be progressively going forward, and that’s not something that can be taken lightly. We want to know that our future is secure, and that passion isn’t something that’s just able to be dismissed when it comes to creating domestic and social policy. The merging of May with the DUP is worrying, and something that potentially threatens these rights that we have worked and lobbied for so long to create. We want to be able to work and live and thrive and LOVE in an environment that allows us to, and although the world that we live in ins’t perfect, we want to be able to strive for a world where we can be assured that the government is going to help us and allow us to do just that. The DUP have an awful record when it comes to LGBT+ rights, and Mays allowance of them to so easily cooperated and help her regain her title is something that frustrates and worries a lot of LGBT+ people, including myself. They’ve voted against marriage equality and same sex rights, and have used their political privilege of a veto in ways that seem to be anti-LGBT+, and the thought of these human beings sitting in one of the most powerful institutions in the world is not ok. We need May to be able to rise up and use her voice to push for LGBT+ rights in government. Although she was involved in the marriage equality bill, the conservative LGBT+ voting record has been poor and unsatisfactory in my opinion, therefore heightening our concerns for a cohesive and safe world.
Its ok to acknowledge the progress that Labour have made, but to also still be upset at the result. I am upset. I am shook, and I am worried and I am not going to sit down and be quiet about that because… well I have the privilege to be able to be open about my political views. That is something that we can definitely take away from this election, is that we have the privilege and knowledge that we can openly disapprove of our government without threat of terror, persecution and death. We have a position of power to now not only make OUR country a safer space for LGBT+ people, but to urge government to create a WORLD where LGBT+ people have a voice and safety. Rise up ladies. Use your passion to make a change. Protest, sign petitions, go to demonstrations, write about your feelings and thoughts on social media because whatever you say, it’ll impact people. Educate yourselves on the government and party politics that will now affect your future, and use that knowledge and power to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
WE NEED TO BE THE ONES THAT ARE STRONG AND STABLE NOW. Use your platforms, your voices and your EXPERIENCE to campaign and change the world that we live in, because there’s potential for our voices to be lost in the debate. Although the conservative government has helped LGBT+ people, it hasn’t done the MOST that it can do. May has told PinkNews that she would change the Gender Recognition act of 2004 to create a more open and less stressful process for people wanting to transition and change their gender identity, and to hopefully make the medical side of the equation LESS impactful to therefore help non-binary and genderqueer individuals be able to identify themselves legally as non-binary. This for me would be a HUGE step forward in creating a world where there is less erasure and less dismissal of HUMAN BEINGS who don’t fit the gender binary.
What i’m trying to say here, through my venting and through my (basically) emotional outpour, is that you should not think that you’re not valid anymore. We are going to have to fight, but we are people who have fought all our lives, and the progression that the left have made this election should be reason enough to know that our voices ARE being heard, and that we can change things if we stick together, call out uneducated biphobia, homophobia and transphobia, and be able to THRIVE. It’s not easy, and there are millions of people who want to stop us from speaking, but know that you are in a community that love you, want you here and collectively want to be represented in the world. We love you, I love you, and to all those young LGBT+ people who couldn’t vote, or voted for the first time, don’t give up. We can do this, and we need to do this.
All the love,