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#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 22: Intersex Role Models

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Intersex is a term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female.

Intersex people may identify as male, female or non-binary (definition from Stonewall).

LGBTI or LGBTIQ might be an acronym you see, with I standing for intersex. (I chose not to use it for this calendar, because I didn’t think I was talking enough about intersex identities throughout the month).

It’s irrelevant if an intersex person identifies as queer or not for LGBTQ people to care and campaign for intersex rights.

There is the common experience of discrimination and stigma against a group of people who don’t fit society’s broad heteronormative template.

Here’s some resources to learn more about intersex rights and role models:

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 21: Local LGBTQ groups

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Before working at an LGBT charity and being ‘out on the scene’ (going to LGBTQ venues), I started going to a group for LGBTQ Christians and people of faith.

This was where I met my friend Adam and haven’t looked back. Now I’m a member of London Frontrunners, the LGBTQ running club. These groups and the friends I’ve met have let me be me.

Local LGBTQ groups and events can be vital, providing a space where you can just be your identity, rather than explaining or justifying your identity to anyone.

They also provide a chance to meet people away from the bars and alcohol.

These community groups keep going and thriving because of the time, money and effort that people generously put into them.

Pride events, especially outside our big cities, only thrive because local LGBTQ people and allies make the events happen.

What local groups and events are in your area? One I’m going to learn about today in area is Rainbow Growers. Your local council website might list some groups in your area.

There’s also lots of groups on Facebook and Twitter that you can support and be a part of.

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 20: Disabled LGBTQ Role Models

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LGBTQ people who are disabled can experience discrimination in their local LGBT community and are more likely to have experienced homelessness (Stonewall, 2018).

Many local LGBTQ communities are focused on bars and venues, which often lack accessibility for everyone. Drag queen Sugar Cube runs the Disabled Queer and Here night, next happening on 28th March at Two Brewers, Clapham.

One prominent LGBTQ disabled role model and activist is Nyle DiMarco. The American actor and model is deaf and often shares how to sign videos on his social media channels.

Another role model is Claire Harvey, who was the British Sitting Volleyball captain

I’m also thinking about my queer disabled friends and colleagues today, and what I can do and ask them to make sure I’m not unintentionally excluding them.

Who are your disabled LGBTQ role models?

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 19: The Asexuality Flag

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Today’s post is a guest blog by Hafsa Qureshi

In response to Joey’s LGBTQ History Month calendar, I wanted to challenge myself. I’ve been working to raise visibility for people of colour and faith within the LGBTQ community.

As a member of those communities, I feel I have some knowledge about our divergent experiences.

However, like many of us inside and outside the LGBTQ community, I am constantly learning. Popular society has begun to view gender and sexuality as more fluid than ever before.

In my aim to learn about less represented sectors of the LGBTQ community, I chose to look at and write about today, Day 19: find out when the asexuality flag was designed.

To learn about the history of the asexuality flag, I wanted to learn more about what asexuality is. The Asexual Visbility and Education Network (AVEN) describes an asexual person as ‘someone who does not experience sexual attraction’.

Asexuality is described as an umbrella or spectrum. This ranges from individuals who only experience a romantic or aesthetic attraction to others, to those that experience neither.

There are asexual individuals that lie between the two, known as ‘grey-ace’. A demisexual for example is someone who only experiences sexual attraction to someone once an emotional bond has been formed.

Due to this spectrum, how asexual or ‘ace’ people choose to identify can vary. As such, great thought went into designing a flag that would represent all these aspects and nuances.

Users from various asexuality forums voted that they wanted a flag to represent asexuality. Some felt that AVEN’s triangle symbol was representative of the organisation, and that a separate symbol for the wider asexuality community was needed.

The flag was designed by an AVEN forums user and was chosen by vote on August 2010. The flag consists of 4 stripes, black, grey, white and purple.

The Asexuality Flag

The black symbolises asexuals, grey for demisexuals and grey-aces, white for sexuals (those that experience sexual attraction, also known as ‘allosexuals’), and purple for the asexuality community and those that surround them.

As far back as 1948, sexologist Dr Alfred Kinsey added a grade in his sexuality scale for asexuality. Despite asexuality’s long history, the asexuality flag allows for greater visibility for asexuality across queer and non-queer spaces.

Since 2011, the asexuality flag has been used at LGBTQ pride events, in the news and across social media. Emi Salida, YouTuber and asexual activist says: ‘Sexuality and romantic identity are fluid and what I fundamentally know about myself now is that I’m asexual and proud.’

In researching the asexuality flag, I learned a lot about the history of asexuality itself, and how the asexual community worked together to create a symbol that represents who they are.

What will you challenge yourself to learn about for LGBT history month?

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 18:Non-binary role models

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Non-binary people have a gender identity that sits outside of the (socially constructed) binary where male and female are the only options.

A non-binary person might use gender neutral pronouns they/them, or they might use he or she. They have no legal recognition in the UK.

Non-binary people are trans people. You cannot say you support trans rights and trans people if you don’t support non-binary people as part of that.

My hometown non-binary role model is food writer Jack Monroe. Fox (a filmmaker) and Owl (a columnist) are a couple, and prominent non-binary people in the media.

I’m also thinking today of my non-binary colleagues and friends. As a friend commented on my piece about trans role models, all trans (including non-binary) people are role models for being themselves when the world constantly tells them not to be.

#LGBTQHM Calendar Day 17: Different generations

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Yesterday after a morning 10k in Hyde Park with LGBT running club London Frontrunners, I was chatting to Michael. I’ve been in club member for 8 months. He’s been a member for over two decades.

I’m fortunate that I have amazing queer friendships with LGBTQ people who help me navigate my gay life now. That’s usually means me saying far too too much about my love life. But often those friends at work or at the bar are the same age as me.

Talking to older or younger generations gives a different perspective and insight. For older LGBTQ people, this might be first hand accounts of the AIDS epidemic or their first romances when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK.

For younger LGBTQ people there’s often a fearlessness in sharing their identity and being visible role models and allies to all LGBTQ communities.

We also know that bullying in school and LGBTQ youth homelessness is a huge problem as well as loneliness and isolation for older LGBTQ people.

Today is a chance to hear the stories of people who you don’t always chat with. If you have personal LGBTQ friends who are younger or older, give them a message today.

If you don’t have someone directly to talk to, then you can listen. Find out more about the work of Albert Kennedy Trust or Opening Doors London.

#LGBTQHM Day 16: Venues

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A perfect day for me at London would be:

I’m fortunate I’ve got a local friendly LGBTQ venue I can walk to (and walk in to – accessibility in many venues is nonexistent).

Perhaps there’s an LGBTQ bar, venue, memorial or public art where you live that you can pop to or tell someone about today.

If not, today you could:

What’s the local LGBTQ venues that you go to? What’s their history? I’d love to hear the stories! Comment below or tweet using #LGBTQHMCalendar.

#LGBTQHM Calendar Day 15: Trans Role Models

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Today I’m thinking of my trans friends and colleagues, for their resilience at a time when trans identities are daily undermined and attacked.

I’m also thinking of Hannah and Jake Graf, who are married and both trans. It’s an absolute joy every time they appear on Lorraine. Hannah was recently named Stonewall’s Trans Role Model of the Year.

Stonewall’s Come Out for Trans Equality videos feature lots of trans role models. Remember, being a role model doesn’t mean being perfect. It means being visible in your identity, and having behaviours you admire.

Who’s your trans role models?

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 14: Trans Flag

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Today on the LGBTQ History Month Calendar we’re learning about the third of four flags. Here’s some questions to help you (and a handy website).

  • Who designed the flag?
  • When was it first used?
  • What do the stripes represent?

Last year the British government held a consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act, so that it is easier for trans people to legally change their gender.

This opened up a lot of discussion in the press and social media, presenting trans rights as a debate.

Trans rights are trans rights. They are not a debate. Someone’s identity is not a debate.

The intensity of attacks in the media is similar to the attacks on gay and bi men in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic.

Attacks are never just limited to the media. Two in five trans people in Britain (41 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months (Stonewall, 2018).

Everyone can be a trans ally. Here’s 100 ways to do that.

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 13: BAME/PoC Role Models

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Your sexual orientation and your gender identity is only one part of who you are. It’s a hugely important part to many people, and it relates to different parts of your identity such as race, faith or belief, age and gender.

You might hear discussions on this called intersectionality, identity politics or multiple identities. It’s about how we’re never one tick box identity, but recognising in real life those different parts of who we are inter-play to form our identity.

This means your identity, and how society views it, creates a unique experience. BAME/PoC LGBTQ people have a different experience from white LGBTQ people.

(BAME means Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity. It’s a demographic term in the UK used in censuses and reporting data. PoC means People of Colour.)

Half of black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people (51 per cent) have experienced discrimination or poor treatment from others in their local LGBT community because of their ethnicity (Stonewall, 2018).

My BAME/PoC role models include articulate trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, alongside my friends Josh and Adam.

Here’s three resources to help you learn about BAME LGBTQ experiences and role models: