Well, we have all the answers.
Within this post, we have brought together people from all over the world to give their views. We see what individuals in Slovenia see as relevant & their way of living. We see what millennial’s view as relevant in a tech savvy world. More importantly, we celebrate being LGBTQ+ and highlight the accomplishments we have made throughout the years.
So join us, in celebrating the LGBT community & being proud of who we are.
Jemima Skala - Girls that Gig
The flag consists of six colours, symbolising all parts of the wonderful spectrum that makes up the LGBTQ+ community. There was another intended meaning to all of the colours as well; red was meant to symbolise life, orange healing, yellow was sunlight, green for nature, peace and harmony was represented by blue, and the purple represented spirit. During the 1980s and 90s, you would sometimes see the addition of a black stripe to commemorate the victims of AIDS.
The power of a flag should not be underestimated.
A flag has the power to unite, to welcome, to create a community. This power can sometimes be used for the wrong reasons, such as the appropriation of the St George’s Cross by far-right groups like the English Defence League. However, the power held by the rainbow flag will always be stronger because it creates a common ground for those disenfranchised by our historical propagation of heteronormative power structures. The rainbow imagery crosses borders and language barriers, creating a global community that accepts you for who you are, no questions asked.
What resonates with me personally about the rainbow flag is its implied rhetoric of love and inclusion. The rainbow spans the colour spectrum, just as humanity has the capability of spanning the sexual spectrum. There is no one way of being gay, or bisexual, or pansexual; the beauty of sexuality is that it changes from person to person, and can’t be fit neatly into one little box.
“Personally, the rainbow flag is a comfort for me.”
The same goes for gender, and the rainbow flag represents a community where it’s a given that no one is the same, and individuality should be respected above all. However, arguably some of the greatest prejudice one faces as a queer person today come from within the community itself; the BBC programme Queer Britain last year investigated where we can draw the line between preference and prejudice in the LGBTQ+ community, and how this affects a community already so different from the norm.In spite of the day-to-day difficulties. The rainbow flag should serve as a reminder of what we strive towards: a society that welcomes each and every one of its members with open arms, not caring about who they happen to fancy or what they might have between their legs.
Personally, the rainbow flag is a comfort for me. As someone who’s only just getting to grips with their place in the LGBTQ+ community, it’s a relief to think that there’s no one mold that I have to fit in order to be accepted into it; I can take my time figuring it out, and the rainbow will always be waiting for me, leading me to my pot of gold, my self-acceptance.
Hayle Davies- Support U
Seventeen years ago, on February 14th I threw myself out of the closet. I always joked with my friends that I hadn’t realised it was Valentine’s Day when I ‘came out’. But the truth is I grew up under Section 28 in a rural school in Devon, and the law made me feel like my Homosexuality was immoral. I thought I would never find a loving partner and because of this, I decided that at least on Valentine’s Day every year I could celebrate being my true authentic self instead!
Section 28 stated that teachers shouldn’t ‘promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretend family relationship’. This was the bit I struggled with the most as it made me feel like my identity as a lesbian was unacceptable, and I would never be recognised as a real family. Which is a hard thing to come to terms with as a teenager when your family is everything! I remember that I tried to talk to a teacher once and was hushed up very quickly…they seemed so nervous about discussing this topic that they forgot it was my lived experience and me that they were calling invalid and pretend.
“The law made me feel like my Homosexuality was immoral”
But on the 13th February 2001, I had enough of trying to hide who I was, and so I set about writing letters to all of my friends to ‘come out’. I was pretty terrified that they would reject me and make a scene and so I thought if I could hand them the letter before tutor time and walk quickly to the registration group I could escape before anything turned negative. The dislike I had for myself at this point and the confusion I felt was tied directly to a law that forbade teachers from ‘promoting homosexuality’. It felt to 14-year-old me that I was breaking the law by just being myself and that was a tough thing to come to terms with when you are taught that following the law makes you a ‘good person’.
The letter (which I still have) went something along the lines of:
I know you have probably wondered why I have a wall of ‘woman I admire’ in my room and why I always make comments about Christina and Britney? So, I just wanted to let you know that I am gay and that it’s okay if you can’t handle that but this is who I am, and I can’t hide it anymore. I understand if you don’t want to be my friend anymore but thank you for your friendship.
What I wrote is almost comical now (I mean who didn’t have a wall of Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears as a lesbian growing up in the 90s)? But I still remember being worried that they would agree with Section 28 and also call me pretend or worse that they would tell my school that I was gay and they would say to my parents. Even writing this still brings back that tinge of panic that I felt at that moment. As it happened when registration ended, and I tried to leave school alone my friends caught up with me and very quickly told me they were happy I had shared and hugged me. Every year onwards from that day my friends wish me a ‘Happy Gay Day’ instead of Happy Valentines Day and we still gather together each year when we can and have a ‘Gay Day’ lunch or dinner to celebrate my coming out and my identity.
After I came out I decided to be as flamboyantly lesbian as humanly possible. Partly because I was so angry at the injustice of the law and partly because I had the love and support of my amazing friends who helped me see that being a lesbian wasn’t something to be ashamed of even if the law tried to make me feel that way.
“Happy Gay Day”
When Section 28 was repealed in November 2003, the first thing I did was put up posters in my Sixth Form College explaining what the law had said and what it meant for my identity. To put up these posters I had to meet and get the agreement of the Head of Sixth Form (who was a little nervous about WHY I wanted to do it but let me anyway after a lengthy discussion).
The worst thing about growing up under Section 28 was that teachers never even explained what the law meant to me and why it existed. They just continuously stated that they weren’t ‘able to’ discuss homosexuality because of the laws. This created an overwhelming feeling of injustice, where not only could I not be my true self but I couldn’t even discuss why I wasn’t able to be myself for fear of breaking the law. This injustice still sits with me now and has spurred me to take up a career in human rights activism as despite Section 28 being repealed 15 years ago there are massive issues with Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in our schools.
A recent Stonewall report found that ‘almost half of all LGBT pupils still face bullying at school for being LGBT, and more than two in five trans young people have tried to take their own life’ (Stonewall School Report 2017). This alongside the fact that Sex and Relationships education for LGBT+ young people is still woefully inadequate and mostly heterosexual in focus shows the power and negative impact that Section 28 has had on our schools. Our young people deserve much better…. But I have hope that things are changing as we move forward!
Slovenia is one of the most diverse countries in Europe. The Slovenians can be proud of their country as it has been voted Best Country in the World in February 2018 during the annual WCA ceremony, the most prestigious international award ceremony. The Slovenian people were also voted Nicest people on the planet. It was a night to remember for the people of Slovenia as they swept nearly all the awards available. Yeah, not so much for me. The fact that Slovenia is still against homosexuality and against our rights is almost ridiculous.
During the year 2015 our government decided to do something about it and made some changes to our law. Considering our minority of LGBTQ community, the government allowed same sex marriage and adoptions. We were amazed at how much our country progressed.
However, the joy did not last long.
Some politicians decided to go against that law and the public ballot was called. If I look back it was not even surprising. Why? Because the majority of people in Slovenia are older generation and we know that with them, unfortunately, cannot reason. The same thing happens when a child comes out of the closet and says out loud that he or she is homosexual. Grandparents are obviously the first to react negatively. So, it is not surprising that almost 70% of people voted against it.
Next in line are parents who were raised in a certain manner. Especially this shows among fathers because they believe gender is important. These two generations combined gets us the negative result on our referendum. Their line was: “It is all for our children”. Oh, is that so? How about those children who are kicked out of their homes, because parents don’t know how to react to their child being gay. Or how about those children who are still hiding and living a life with a life, because they are scared to say who they are. How about those children who are raised by heterosexual and are experiencing abuse or torture? Those children I guess don’t matter.
The thing is I don’t judge people at all. I think homosexuality is still a touchy matter, that is why I am allowing different opinions. Who am I to say heterosexuals are in the wrong with saying this against us. I don’t feel the need to change opinions because I know that the first human right is to have an opinion and free of speech. However, people need to consider that going against something like this will only make things worse.
I, as a part of LGBTQ community, am not roaming the streets and say heterosexuality needs to be banned, because I live in a certain why. That is all what I am trying to do in my country. I am trying to get to people with this simple line: “What is it to you, that you are against homosexual rights (who are basic human rights by the way) and why it is so different if homosexuals have a family?” The answers are the same: “Because it is not natural, and kids are suffering because they have no mother or no dad!”. And that is when they really get on my nerves.
In heterosexual family kids have no mother or no father, sometimes both. Who says something about that? Nobody. Kids are also suffering in heterosexual family and who says something about that? Nobody again. People need to stop meddling in things they are not apart of and they cannot and should not say how we must live.
I don’t say it to them and they should not say it to us. Simple.
Declan Williams - #LGBTHour & The Northern Niche
I like to remember parts of my own LGBT history, what firsts I’ve lived through and my own coming out at age 18.
I was born in 1994. I see the late 90s and early 00s as a pivotal time for the acceptance of LGB people in the UK. Equal age of consent was introduced in 2001 in England, Scotland and Wales. Civil partnerships were allowed throughout the whole of the UK from 2005. Section 28 which banned the ‘promotion of same-sex relationships’ was repealed in 2003. Laws allowing same-sex adoption and military service were also introduced in the 00s.
Whilst a lot of legislation has changed in my lifetime it’s the societal shift that has impressed me the most. My family are hugely supportive of me and always have been. My mum had the biggest reaction to my coming out, not because of my sexuality but because she was worried how the world would treat me. In hindsight, having received some homophobic abuse, she was right to be concerned.
One of my first memories of seeing gay people in the media was on Coronation Street; the Todd storyline. I remember seeing two men kiss for the first time and it actually made me feel uncomfortable. I think this feeling was due to society making me think that I should grow up to have a wife and children; I didn’t know any other. In hindsight, I probably already knew deep down that something was different about me.
The spreading of equal marriage throughout the world has filled me with so much pride and hope.
I’m actually half Irish and grew up around a fairly strict, Roman Catholic grandma. To see a country which I always thought of as fairly conservative & religious vote in favour for equal marriage made me so emotional. I had a similar reaction when the Supreme Court of America, the pillar of the free world, passed the equal marriage bill.
In recent years I’ve loved seeing LGBTQ+ representation increase throughout mainstream media. I believe RuPaul’s Drag Race has done so much for queer representation whilst not trying to be too political, sticking to its light-hearted reality TV remit. The critical success of films like Moonlight and Call Me By Your Name show that queer stories can now be heard and taken seriously.
I’ve also loved watching the rise of queer sport stars in my life time. From Tom Daley to Nicola Adams, they’ve proved that being LGBT in sport is becoming accepted. I’d like to see an openly gay football player in the Premier League in the next few years. I love Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign that challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in the sport for both players and fans alike. It’s be great to see the toxic masculinity that goes hand in hand with football broken down.
My own history with my sexuality is twinned with struggling with internalised homophobia.
I still often think that being gay is not the right thing; a reflection of the society I grew up in. I challenge myself every day with trying to accept myself. To see queer people make history in every walk of life really helps, whether its sport, politics, media or film & TV. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for younger children growing up seeing queer people on their favourite TV show; we have the original pioneers of the LGBTQ+ movement to thank for that!
There are several events that come to mind when considering which of these milestones mean the most to me as an individual. If I had to choose just one, then the most important would be the recent marriage act. In 2013 it was announced that the public and parliament had voted in favour of same sex marriage.
I had already graduated from university at this point. I was legally an adult, out in the world and seeking employment by the time I had the legal right to marry whoever I wanted. As a child I had been shielded from much of the prejudice around us and had no idea how few rights LGBT people had. I only learned that we could not marry freely and all the other discrepancies we faced compared to heterosexuals after discovering my sexuality as a young teenager.
It completely shattered my world view. Coming to terms with the world as a cruel place and the UK not being as liberal or advanced as I had believed was very difficult. It changed my entire view of humanity and myself. Following the legalisation of same sex marriage, I felt a great victory had been won. We had already achieved civil partnerships in 2011. I remember the joy of this during university but tainted by still knowing our relationships were seen as different and somehow less important than heterosexuals. The language enshrined that but now those differences were erased and we had true marriage.
We had already achieved adoption rights in 2002 (coming into force in 2005), the Equality Act now protected homosexuals, bisexuals and the trans community from various levels of discrimination in work, housing and accessing public services. There was still much to do but now in the UK we could really get on with our lives in peace to a certain extent and really be who we are. As a bisexual it meant my life and rights would not be radically altered or stripped away depending on who I fell in love with.
I could finally be a whole person.
With her being the first openly trans woman of colour and a huge advocate for trans & gay rights. Her story is a heavy hearted one & that should be know by all people. Not just LGBTQ+!
- 2003 Trans people get full legal recognition in their appropriate gender
- 2004 Same sex couples have the same right as straight married couples
- 2013 The legalisation of same sex marriage
Looking back at all the points made about LGBTQ+ history, it makes me proud to identify in a community full of strong, powerful people. We have been fighting for our rights since the start of time, but this shouldn’t be the case. We are human, our sexuality & gender doesn’t define us.
I hope in the future, we can still make the progress we have already made.
I am proud to identify within this amazing community.