But we cannot take the foot off the gas now, many people are still facing prejudice and violence on a daily basis. Sexual orientation and gender identity are hugely integral aspects of ourselves and should never lead to discrimination or harm.
LGBTQI+ History Month is the perfect time to start conversations and support your colleagues, friends and family. We should not remain stagnant and should continue to push the boundaries in order to see the progression that is needed.
I myself am an openly cis gay man who uses he/him pronouns and I have found solace in those around me to allow me to feel comfortable and be able to express who I really am. But that cannot always be said. I was, at a young age, pushed into sports; rugby, karate, squash you name it I have probably played it at some point.
However, as I got older I started to struggle within these sports. I was relentlessly picked on and called names for the way I talked, the way I walked or the way I dressed, I did not fit into the uber masculine criteria. People made their decision about me before I had even known what I was.
I didn’t know if I was gay/straight/bisexual, I didn’t know what I was and I had no one to look up or turn to for help. However, through years and years of personal, emotional and physical progression I have been able to now feel confident in saying that I am a gay man.
However, whilst I may be very proud of who I am I still face prejudice every day and like many other people in the LGBQI + community, have to dilute my personality for the fear of being judged, talked about, or even physically assaulted.
It’s the fear of knowing that I cannot walk down the street with my partner and not have people make sideways looks. I cannot kiss my partner on the lips without being heckled.
These are just some of the daily struggled that people in the LGBTQI+ community suffer. Whilst I do not profess to know the struggles that every person goes through, I know that we all share one view and that is; that it still goes on all the time.
It may shock some but In a recent new it has been reported that two men have been executed over charges relating to homosexuality (Iran executes 2 gay men over sodomy charges, rights group says (nbcnews.com)).
But a little closer to home, there have been reports of so called “conversion therapy” (trying to make a person heterosexual) in a Sheffield Church (Conversion therapy: Gay man talks of church ‘exorcism’ trauma – BBC News).
These are just two recent stories in the week of this blog. It is sad that this is a weekly occurrence and news that is not always shared on a global scale. Time has to be taken to seek this kind of updates.
Here in Leeds there are still continuous reports of hate crimes against LGBTQI+ members. Our own City is still not seen as a safe place. Figures show that an estimated 1 in 10 hate crimes are reported and as such a true reflection of the level of abuse and discrimination is not reported.
Obviously change cannot happen over night but the reported crimes are still high and help and support is needed by the many to drown out the few.
West Yorkshire police now have a dedicated program to assist with the LGBTQI+ community members with tackling homophobic, transphobic and biphobic language and bullying in schools. There are also many local community groups created to help support, include and promote the LGBTQI+ community.
I want to create a safe space where everyone can feel welcomed for whatever and whomever they are. I want to make Oakwood Solicitors that safe space.
I want all clients to feel welcomed, all staff to be reassured and comfortable and I want to start the conversation that many are too scared or unsure how to start. Let’s take this opportunity to develop and grow.
Get in touch today for a no-obligation consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9720 to find out how we can help you.
Meet the author
Joseph Hilton is currently a Paralegal in the Medical Negligence Department. Joseph started working at Oakwood Solicitors Ltd in 2020 and has completed his Law Degree at The Leeds University, along wi…
Find out more
We would love to hear your comments or feedback
A Guide to LGBTQ+ Matters and Wills
To mark the beginning of Pride Month, we thought it may be useful and/or interesting to cover various matters that may arise when sorting the affairs of a member of the LGBTQ+ community. &nb…View
Domestic Abuse in the LGBTQ+ Community
Over Pride season, individuals come together in celebration of every LGBTQ+ person and in protest of any abuse LGBTQ+ individuals face. This includes solidarity against domestic ab…View
A Guide To Gender Neutral Wills
To make it easier to understand, our Wills and Probate team have compiled a guide to Wills regarding people who identify as gender neutral. What does Gender Neutral mean?…View
Here at Oakwood Solicitors, we’re not your average law firm – our team delivers a service which caters to you. From assessing your case through to completion, our staff have not only the knowledge and expertise, but also the compassion and understanding to put you at ease throughout the process.