Many countries have failed to recover ever since the economic crash in 2008, with record-high unemployment, increased numbers living in poverty and general discontentment, people are rightfully frustrated. With many individuals around the world becoming impatient to see the necessary changes within their local communities and country as a whole. These frustrations are resulting in many turning to socialist, and right-wing politics in a hope it will bring about the change they seek. The parties providing this false hope are typically advocating nationalism, effectively promoting a sense of identity, keeping what we have, keeping everyone else out and a return to better times, all under the guise of the national interest. Narratives that are playing on people’s hopes and fears, masking more dangerous mandates and beliefs that once elected, have a more significant impact than just the narratives that helped to elect them. Many of these policies are igniting strong held beliefs and portraying the image of a return to happier times, all of which will never be achieved.
The approach adopted by these politicians is simple, focus on what makes us different rather than those things we all have in common. Often, it is the minority groups that become the focus and target of these types of national campaigns. Ignoring the significant contributions, that many of these minority groups make to the society or country as a whole, as it does not support their agenda. The minorities are a target, as when looking at any given population within a country, there is always a majority, a large population of people that come from the same ethnicity and likely follow the same religion and share similar beliefs. The majority will usually make up a significant proportion (50% or more) of the total population. The remaining population is made up of smaller groups, with these groups sharing similar attributes, beliefs or ethnicities. All of these smaller groups are what we would call minorities.
Minorities are people from different races and those that follow specific religions. However, whenever we refer to the LGBTQ+ community, it will be likely be made up of individuals from both the majority and minorities, with the only difference being how they identify or who they love. A member of the LGBTQ+ community can go from having full rights as a citizen, the right to marry, to serve their country, to adopt etc., to have those rights taken away, simply because they choose to be honest about who they love or how they identify. With an estimated population of anything from 2.6% up to 15% within any given country, the LGBTQ+ community are considered a minority group.
Distracting the people
When people are discontent, due to long periods of hardship, governments often deploy distractions, averting the masses away from calling out and understanding what is actually going on. Governments that fail to change their approach or alternatively find ways to distract people, throughout history have been toppled and with many long-established regimes disappearing through uprisings and unrest.
Rather than engaging with people and tackling the problems many are facing within their country, instead, distractions are created, often targeting emotive themes and vulnerable people. One such example is the refugee crisis that has now gone on for over 17 years. When talking about refugees, it is essential to distinguish the different types, as it will often come down to two distinct groups. The first group are those that are economic migrants, those leaving their country due to poverty and hardship, with the desire to improve their quality of life. The second group are political refugees, forced to leave their homes due to war and civil unrest. Since the Iraq War commenced in 2003, there have been a string of wars and conflicts going on around the world, including the Syrian civil war, Libyan civil war, Darfur conflict, Afghanistan war, Yemeni civil war and the Ukraine conflict, and more. Regardless of the reasons and justifications for these wars, many of the citizens have been forced to leave their homes and countries, for no fault of their own. Political refugees are very different from economic migrants and many of the countries granting asylum to these refugees even having some accountability for the events that have led up to their displacement. Countries that have previously ignored the atrocities that were going on. Even participated in, supported or funded these unrests or wars, at some point
Over the past five years, there has been an increase of campaigns targeting these political refugees, and other areas relating to morality, such as false claims about Islam, respecting the structure of the traditional family and refusing to give equal rights. These distractions and campaigns are playing on the fears and often hatred of groups and individuals, who are often different and misunderstood by the majority within the population. The strategy and approaches are going on today and are helping to get politicians elected or allowing them to hold onto power; however, what is actually being achieved?
The battle is won, small groups of people have their rights stripped or worse, however for everyday citizens what has improved? Has the number of unemployed reduced? Are people richer? The answer is likely no; instead, these tactics and campaigns have targeted those most afraid and vulnerable and distracted people for a time, but through their direct actions has made people fear or dislike groups that they do not know or understand.
History shows that this approach always plays out the same way. You suppress one group, then another, and so on. When the strategy no longer applies these governments start looking for distractions internationally, focusing in on groups around the world that are different or hold polarised ideologies than their own, often ending in conflict. Then finally, after all that, people have enough, resulting in widespread riots and these governments are then voted out or toppled. Look through history and compare the events and circumstances that lead to revolutions and even world wars. Now compare that to what is going on within many countries right now. The hope though is we have all learnt from history and do not repeat all of the mistakes previously made. The fact is, advocating any form of discrimination or hate campaigns may prop up regimes and distract for a while, but it is an approach that never lasts forever.
Which people or groups are trying to highlight and even counteract these distractions and campaigns? One such group would be the activists. It takes a particular type of person to become an activist; some make a choice, while others are thrust into the spotlight and become activist through their words and actions. Activists are highlighting and effectively going against the majority within a country, often at significant personal risk to themselves, becoming targets or even risking their lives. Many of these activists believe so much in what they are doing that they willingly accept the risks to fight injustice. Activists are often portrayed negatively; however, the simple truth is that these activists exist because of the prejudices and targeted campaigns that are going on right now around the world. These exceptional individuals feel so strongly that they are fighting against the odds, against powerful governments, conglomerates and colossal wealth. Activists are vilified, imprisoned and even losing their lives fighting for what they believe in, however for the majority of cases, you rarely hear of an activist fighting for people’s rights on the wrong side of history.
If you apply the principle that everyone who lives in any given country, has the same rights, the right to vote, right to marry, to receive an education etc. and of course is not discriminated due to being a minority. When there is little to no inequality, there is little to no reason for large scale political activism. Next, ask yourself what the world would be like without activists? Women might not have the right to vote, segregation and apartheid might still exist, and mass genocides would be going on without anyone knowing about it.
Governments, in some cases, are fuelling the behaviours; however, the simple truth is that no government can stop the will of the many. It only happens when everyone wants the change to occur.
Fear or lack of representation
With more countries moving centre-right or close to the far right, there are more stories of inequalities and specifically for the LGBTQ+ community, gay-free towns and governments vowing to fight the LGBT ideology. Lacking the understanding that no city, town or village is 100% gay free, just that there are groups of people living in those societies in fear and skilled in hiding who they really are. Fearful and feeling no escape, with many over time unable to continue living a lie, causing them to leave or worse, take their own lives. Around the world today, there has been an increase in the number of people taking their lives, for a whole host of reasons, including LGBT related issues.
Minorities are powerless to change who they are, how they look, how they feel or how they are wired. Making a choice is different, living a certain way or following a specific approach or religion. When it is who you are, then you have no option but to fight for your rights or flee. Having fair representation can be difficult, when you are part of a small minority, and especially given that some minority groups will even side-with and agree with the majority on the handling of specific groups of people and their rights. In terms of LGBTQ+, many coming forward to represent the community are doing so, often risking their lives, and having to be outed to their friends and family. There is some good news that things are changing; in 2020, in the USA alone, there were over 400 individuals that identify as LGBT running in the US elections, including one openly gay man that ran for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The world is a difficult place for so many, full of so much uncertainty and change. Though people have the right to feel frustrated, it should be focused and directed to the areas that directly impact their lives and not by targeting vulnerable minorities or groups. It is okay for people to hold personal views and beliefs, however imposing them, stripping other people of their rights, especially as it has no impact on them or will change their personal situation or circumstances.
For those that are fearful and believe in the LGBT ideology narrative, ask yourself, what would you do if it was your child or grandchild came to you, wanting to speak to you because they are distressed? Telling you that they are different or have fallen in love with someone from a minority and do not know what to do.
Hold your governments and politicians to account and remember, we are all on this earth for such a short amount of time, so be the change you want to see in the world and remember love is love.