LGBTQ and Liberation
The fact this motion was passed overwhelmingly - and that it was put forward by two UUP MLAs - is significant, given that the Assembly only backed marriage equality for the first time six years ago. Even the DUP and TUV put their opposition in much softer terms than they would have in the past. This speaks volumes about the positive change in attitudes taking place in society. These are being driven from below - represented by the 20,000 people who marched for marriage equality - not by the politicians at Stormont.
In recent years, huge strides have been made in both LGBTQ+ and women’s rights here. It was only the beginning of this year when we saw same-sex marriage introduced, and later abortion decriminalised up to twelve weeks. Most would think we are moving into a more progressive world, while others are still ready to fight against it.
The Stonewall riots are one of the major milestones in queer history. The Stonewall Inn was a bar in the Greenwich Village area of New York, frequented largely by the poorest members of the LGBT+ people in the area. The police had a long history of conducting violent raids on the Inn and harassing the LGBT+ clientele. On 28th June 1969, the police once again entered the Stonewall Inn, with the intent of shutting it down permanently. They began to arrest people in the bar, but met resistance.
The question of fighting Transphobia, like all forms of oppression, is a crucial part in the struggle to end the rule of capitalism by a united movement of the working class. In recent years sections of the left globally have unfortunately perpetuated transphobic attitudes and prejudices using pseudo-Marxist arguments to do so. Conor Payne debunks these arguments and myths.
It was recently revealed that Queen's University Belfast performed 'aversion therapy' on gay students during the 1960s in an effort to produce 'heterosexual interest'. After one victim spoke out, a Queen's spokesperson expressed regret for the university's role in this damaging treatment. This is simply too little too late for the many vulnerable people that have already suffered.
International Women’s Day this year must be a massive protest, bringing together working-class people, activist groups and trade unions to win the right to choose. A united, cross-community and organised movement of women, workers and all the oppressed can not only challenge and repeal backward laws, but fight to transform society.