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Derek Frost on Pride and Prejudice

To quote from awarenessdays.com:
Pride Month is a month-long celebration that recognises the LGBTQ+ community and their contributions to society. It’s a time to acknowledge the challenges faced by this community and to stand in solidarity with their fight for equality, acceptance, and human rights.’

I’ve recently read two works of fiction based on fact – Radical Love by Neil Blackmore and The New Life by Tom Crewe. Both authors write about aspects of queer life in 19th century England – the first set at the very beginning of that century and the second at its end. Both books illustrate the appalling levels of prejudice aimed against what I prefer to call, in place of the ever expanding acronym, our queer community.

In many parts of the world little has changed.

In sixty five countries homosexuality remains a criminal offence and in seven UN member states punishable by death – a flagrant contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In many countries prejudice against our queer community grows at an alarming rate.

Read Masha Gessen on Russia where she claims the newly adopted gay propaganda law has ‘led to a huge increase in anti-gay violence, including murders.’ Read also Artic Summer, about E. M. Forster, by Booker Prize Winner Damon Galgot and what Forster himself observed about the challenges faced by queers in his lifetime – most particularly in his posthumously published masterpiece Maurice.

Two recently published books, The Glamour Boys by Chris Bryant and Never Silent by Peter Staley, serve to remind us why we should be proud of the many important contributions made by members of our queer community for the betterment of all – about extraordinary achievements in the face of extreme prejudice.

In our own country such prejudice now rarely exists – an amazing change. Look around, if you’re attending a Pride event in the UK. What you see is liberation, the support of the general population, equal rights and full protection for these rights. What you see is our queer community happily out and proud. Long may that remain the case. Be vigilant. Freedoms can be lost.

My message for Pride 2024:
Celebrate with pride. Fight against prejudice.

 

Thank you to Derek Frost for providing this blog post. Find his book Living and Loving in the Age of AIDS at all good book retailers.

© Derek Frost June 2024

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