This IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) day, 17 May, the Pink Singers performed at a private event, to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ+ staff at the offices of one our long-standing sponsors, EY. It was a wonderful evening, with song and art and a sense of not just acceptance, but welcome, and we were lucky to be a part of it. Alto Zoe shares her thoughts on the day.
Just exactly how lucky we are has been brought home to me and other members of our choir – and the wider LGBTQ+ community – in recent months. The UK in general, and London in particular, is a broadly decent place to be queer or gender non-conforming. Not that that means it doesn’t have its problems – Northern Ireland is still dragging its feet on marriage equality, and violence against members of our community still happens. But we have legal protections and rights, hard won by activists and campaigners over the years, and whatever someone’s private opinion of us might be, they don’t get to use that as a reason to discriminate against us any more, at least not legally speaking.
Contrast that with the situation in Poland – where a concert we’d been invited to take part in was cancelled as none of the venues wanted to be associated with ‘gays’; or the USA, with the interestingly paranoid ‘bathroom bills’ and threats to roll back LGBTQ+ protections; the horrific situation in Chechnya, which seems to keep getting worse, with world governments seemingly reluctant to get involved beyond disapproving frowns – would there be that same reluctance if the target were another minority group, based on skin colour or religion, I wonder?
It’s easy, sometimes, to forget how far we’ve come, especially when you know that despite progress, there are still battles to be fought. So last night, singing with my Pinkie family, surrounded by out and proud guests, with London glittering behind us, I counted my blessings – and readied myself to keep shouting for those who don’t get to enjoy that same sense of welcome.
Timeline datestamp: 17 May 2017