Today is IDAHO, the International Day Against HOmophobia and transphobia. Those of you versed in queer politics can doubtless already see where I am going with this. A day that should be spent fighting for human rights for all sorts of people is, to a large extent, being spent instead on arguments between various parts of the Queer community as to who is actually included and whether they should have a letter in the acronym. There should be a T, because otherwise transphobia is not properly covered. There should be a B, because otherwise bisexuals are being made invisible. There should be an I, because intersex people resent being included under the trans umbrella. And so on. Sometimes I think that if we expended half as much energy on fighting external bigotry that we expended on fighting each other then there would be no need for things like IDAHO.
Still, as we have a day to celebrate, here are a few things to note.
Firstly ILGA Europe has produced a Rainbow Europe Index that shows how different European countries are doing in passing LGBT-friendly legislation. The good news is that the UK comes out top of the heap, with 12.5 out of 17 points, and it loses 2 for not having a constitution, which I suspect some people will see as unfair.
Digging deeper, however, I discover that the UK was awarded 2 points for having legislation about supply of goods & services discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. Well it does. It has legislation that specifically makes is legal to discriminate on the grounds of gender identity. That’s the infamous “Equality” Act, of course, which human rights lawyers are itching for an opportunity to challenge as it may well be contradicting other UK legislation such as the Gender Recognition Act. I’m not sure that the 2 points is warranted here.
And that half point? Hate crimes legislation for gender identity protection — a half point because it is Scotland only.
Unfortunately, while the UK is leading Europe in LGBT protection, it is setting a very bad example elsewhere. There is this thing called the Commonwealth (the political institution formerly known as the British Empire), and it is a festering bastion of homophobia and transphobia. Over at The Guardian, Peter Tatchell explains all. You would think that an organization headed by someone called “The Queen” could do better in this regard.
And finally, I am delighted to report that my beloved World Champion San Francisco Giants are to become the first sports team to record an “It Gets Better” video. Details from the San Francisco Chronicle.