Pride in London and Ditch the Label
2017 marks 50 years since Parliament voted to partially legalise homosexuality in the UK. While we may have scored some minor victories in terms of LGBT+ rights in recent times, we still have a long way to go. It’s sometimes difficult to stay optimistic in light of recent events in politics and current affairs and the battle for true equality wages on.
Just over one year has passed since the Orlando Nightclub shooting which killed 49 people and shook the LGBT+ community to its core. Yet we have seen LGBT+ celebrations cancelled in the White House, and an increase in violence and hate crime towards LGBT+ and gender non-conforming people in the US and UK. You only have to look to Chechnya to witness the routine and systemic oppression of gay people still happening in 2017.
Meanwhile at home, hate speech towards LGBT+ people online continues to proliferate with nearly half of LGBT+ Londoners experiencing hate crime. Brandwatch and Pride in London teamed up to assess the extent of LGBT+ hate speech; analysing 19 Million tweets over a 4 year period. Whilst the study shows that more people than ever are discussing LGBT+ topics online, it also reveals that sadly, there is much progress to be made in terms of hate speech and derogatory language used against members of the LGBT+ community.
Pride in London worked with the Brandwatch Research team to find online narratives from London’s LGBT+ communities, proving that hate speech is still alive and kicking in our very own capital city. Brandwatch collected stories of discrimination in London boroughs, as well as positive stories of progress and equality. The study captured only public data and all narratives were anonymised before being used in the 2017 ‘Love Happens Here’ campaign.
The data shows that discrimination persists across the city and takes many forms, from discomfort and slurs to physical violence. It also found messages of support, solidarity, safe spaces and gratitude to LGBT+ pioneers. The broader study of online hate speech (here), conducted last year with Brandwatch, found that constructive debate outnumbers homophobic slurs by 8:1. The UK public is also more vocal than ever on transgender rights, with debate outnumbering hate speech 24:1.
Brandwatch stated that, “The data shows both cause for celebration, and that Pride still has an important role to play in furthering LGBT equality.”
These findings stress the importance of Pride as a way of taking a stand against hate. More than ever, we need LGBT+ communities and their allies to stand shoulder to shoulder in defiance of regressive behaviours and work together to encourage a shift in attitudes and change for the better.
- We want to enjoy life in a society where eventually there is no need or expectation to ‘come out’ unless you choose to do so, because it is universally understood that sexuality can be fluid and is not defined by the gender of the person you love. A society free of judgement.
- We want to live in a world where it is safe to walk down the road holding the hand of the person you love…to openly show affection…to flirt…without having to look over your shoulder or ‘check’ your behaviour to make sure it is safe.
- We want to live in a world where a person is defined not by their gender or sexuality, but by what’s inside their heads and their hearts.
- We want a world where it is not only safe to be your true, authentic self, but embraced and celebrated.
- We want to live in a world where equality prevails and nobody is discriminated against because of who they fancy, the colour of their skin, where they were born, or what’s in their pants!
- We want to thrive in a society where love prevails, not hate.
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Love Happens Here
On June the 24th, thousands of people will line the streets of London to celebrate the progress of the LGBT+ community and unite against hate. Stand with your community to celebrate the beauty in diversity, variation and difference and say defiantly, ‘Love Happens Here’. Pride in London are creating a map of love; join the campaign by sending in your stories of love to [email protected] and sharing your pics using the hashtag #LoveHappensHere.
Your Presence is Priceless – You Can Make a Difference.