Covid-19 continues to impact the global population beyond any historical event outside of a World War, to date. This pandemic has been called a ‘war’, a label I believe misdirects attention and does little justice to our collective and historical experience, nor to the current situation. By definition ‘war’ is ‘a state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country’, usually with a clear objective of gaining dominance in power over a particular geography or people, or both. Globally speaking, we are indeed in conflict, but not against the unseen enemy of virus Covid-19, rather the shadow aspects of our own frailty and humanity. This epidemic has shown just how finely balanced sectors of our community are, under crisis conditions the scales have tipped dangerously and inequalities have been magnified. 

This month is Gay Pride. Every year, during the month of June, the LGBT community celebrates and recognises the influence LGBT people have had around the world and remembers the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, June 1969. Pride month is also an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current issues facing the community. Parades are a prominent feature of Pride month, and there are many street parties, community events, poetry readings, public speaking, street festivals and educational sessions all of which are covered by mainstream media and attracting millions of participants to events globally. 

Pride will be a bit different this year due to the coronavirus crisis. This year Amnesty International announced its collaboration with UK Black Pride, Stonewall and ParaPride to bring Pride celebrations online for 2020. The event has been dubbed Pride Inside and will kick off June 28 running until July 5.

On a more serious note, this pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the inequality in societies around the world when it comes to minority groups. Reduced access to health care, ultra-swift changes to legislation in some countries during this crisis,  to further marginalise the LGBT community, increased cases of domestic violence and suicide within the LGBT community are being reported.  The United Nations Development Programme has said staying at home during the pandemic is having a “disproportionate impact” on LGBT people, with an elevated risk of domestic and family violence and “increased social isolation and anxiety”. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/LGBT/LGBTIpeople.pdf.

So as we celebrate Pride2020 inside, lets also remember that every human-being (male, female, coloured, white, LGBT, heterosexual, religious or non-religious) has a right to feel safe, love and to be loved, walk down any street anywhere in the world without being abused or harassed (verbally or physically), have access to health care and emergency care, have access to food and water and has a right to speak freely. As a new world emerges from this global pandemic, my personal hope is that liberty (defined as: ‘the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behaviour, or political views) is available to all. Utopian perhaps, but with the many gradually drowning out the voices of the few, I believe this utopia can be a reality.

#youmeuswe #pride2020 #liberty #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter #stopbullying #stopdomesticviolence