In September 2018, there was reason to celebrate after the apex court legalized same sex relationships in India. While LGBTQ youth and allies have come out in droves to support pride parades, there’s no doubt that a lot still has to be done to battle homophobia and homophobic reactions.
Youth have a significant role to play in the fight against homophobia. It is up to this generation to carry on missions that will ensure LGBTQ individuals and their allies can honestly, fearlessly, and freely enjoy the democracy that we live in.
Keeping in mind that discrimination and homophobia against members of the LGBTQ community is still rampant in cultural, systemic, and social spaces, let’s see how the youth can battle it.
Advocating for Inclusivity in Sports
Sport has a significant part to play when it comes to changing the narrative on homophobia and transphobia all over the world. It is possible for youth to take action and call for the inclusion of all athletes regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender by all sports hosting committees. Multi-sports events should have pride houses as a way of advocating for LGBTQ people.
However, this shouldn’t be the end of showcasing inclusion during sporting events. Sporting organisers should also be pressured to allow intersex and transgender people to compete against the sex they identify with without the need to do gender reassignment surgery first.
Using Social Media for Anti-homophobic Advocacy
One of the largest digital platforms that youth can utilize to advocate for anti-homophobia is Twitter. In countries such as Nigeria where one can face violence and discrimination for coming out, Twitter has been one of the best platforms to use against homophobic commentators. For instance, LGBTQIA users have been sharing on the platform the importance of creating peer support groups for parents of LGBT kids.
One user mentioned that he believed parents of LGBTQIA children suffer because they think they’re alone since they don’t know each other or talk to each other even though they go through similar struggles. This statement reaffirms that the family is the first domain of normalising same-sex relations and socialization.
Such tweets highlight how vital allies, family relationships and the non-queer community is in helping LGBT individuals accept and express themselves. They also bring attention to the community at large that LGBTQIA individuals are legitimate members of the society and that queer identities are natural.
Advocacy for Safe Schools
Young LGBT+ people experience hindrances to their development when they experience transphobia and homophobia in learning institutions. Civil rights organisations that focus on LGBTQ issues can join hands with youth to provide resources that teach about anti-discrimination policies and safe schools to teachers and students. It’s vital that Gay-Straight alliances are created and knowledge spread as to why schools need to treat LGBT students equally.
Civil rights organisations can also give suggestions on how to change school policies or laws that will help to protect LGBT youth and advice parents and kids on what steps they can take when a child faces homophobia, victimization, and discrimination in school.