LBGT matters

31 January 2008

A few years ago, I went to a one day festival imaginatively titled “Big Gay Out”. I was given a wristband, which I continued to wear for a few days after. I got a cheap but uneasy laugh out of literally getting to wear my sexuality on my sleeve, which I have continued to do in one form or another ever since.

Like most students involved in LBGT campaigning, I suffer periodic crises of confidence. Am I making my sexuality into more of an issue than it needs to be? Is it coming to define me? And does any of it matter anyway—after all, Cambridge is a pretty accepting place. Incidents of discrimination are rare. Britain is a fairly tolerant country.

Why don’t I just realise that homophobia is, for the most part, something that I will never know, and briefly reflect upon how lucky I am and then get on with my life?

Because I know that gay teenagers in British schools still inevitably face several years of loneliness and isolation.

Because I know most countries of this world still refuse to recognise the validity of loving and committed relationships between same-sex couples.

And because I know that homosexuals in some parts of the world still live in constant fear of persecution and death.

I think that self-determination is a fundamental human right, that all human beings should support. I think all students of this University should know what LBGT people face. That’s why LBGT awareness is important, and why this week’s events are worthy of your support.