Bethan Turner’s excellent article (“We don’t do well in times of reaction”, July/August SR) focused on the frightening increase in attacks on LGBTQ+ people and explained how LGBTQ+ rights are being cynically used, for instance by Trump, as a cover for state oppression of Muslims. Bethan ended her article with a call for “unity of the oppressed”.
As a member of South London Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) I helped run a stall at Croydon Pride in July, and we certainly saw that unity as hundreds of working class Pride supporters horrified at the rise in racism enthusiastically took badges, posters and literature to share at in their communities.
One young transport worker described how at work she was hearing racist, homophobic and transphobic remarks from some people who were gaining confidence from Trump and Tory bigots like Boris Johnson.
The next morning I read of a serious homophobic attack in Camberwell. Since then, a series of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks have been reported, and the left-wing journalist Owen Jones was kicked and punched in a targeted attack last month.
Determined to take action, campaigner Dan Glass from the renewed ACT UP and GLF groups, teacher and NEU member Michael Dance and I connected and within two weeks had pulled off a Kiss-In protest at Parliament Square which brought together around 100 LGBTQ+ activists. These included Muslims and Poles (Polish councils are declaring LGBT-Free Zones), trade unionists and trans activists, most of them young, and the organisers of Waltham Forest Pride, which was set up in response to a homophobic attack in the borough.
From there we set up Stand Up To Anti-LGBT Hate (find us on Facebook – and donate!) and we plan to hold another action in London on 13 September.
Stonewall was a riot and we will not be pushed back into the closet. We welcome anyone prepared to work for a united coalition to fight homophobic and transphobic hate, whether it comes from the streets, workplaces, colleges, the media or politicians. Please join us.