The theme of this year’s Pride is strength in unity.
The LGBTQ family is a global one that crosses national borders. When a trans woman is murdered in Brazil, we recognise her as our sister. When a gay man is stoned to death in Jamaica, we recognise him as our brother. When the LGBTQ community in another country wins the right to marry, we celebrate with them. And, when more than fifty people enjoying a night out in a gay club are gunned down, we feel the pain of that loss deeply.
We may not speak the same language, but every member of the LGBTQ community knows what it means to be in a minority in their population.
This shared experience has helped to create strong bonds across the globe, even between citizens of countries that may be poles apart ideologically, and has advanced the movement for equal rights at a more rapid pace than thought possible, so that we are beginning to see even the most homophobic and transphobic countries bowing to pressure to reform from within and outside their country.
The Bailiwicks have had no say in the UK vote on EU membership, even though the result affects us, too. For those who work for human rights, there is no doubt that EU membership has been one of the most important and powerful drivers to the changes in UK legislation that we have seen in the last 30 years. Without the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, whose authority is recognised because all the member states agree together to its supremacy, Britain’s LGBTQ citizens would not be enjoying the freedoms they do that now amount to almost full equality.
Inter-island rivalry is something that we are all used to in the Channel Islands, pan-island co-operation is rare. At Liberate, because we are part of the global LGBTQ community, we know that the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey have more in common than they have differences and that is why we celebrate Channel Islands Pride. Working together, where possible, to avoid duplication of resources and sharing ideas to reach solutions quicker, helps us, as a pan-island charity, to serve our respective communities better. We hope other organisations are inspired to take their service to the community pan-island. It can be done.
This year – a year that has seen nationalistic rhetoric about the benefits of standing alone – Liberate is proud that it can say: the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are #strongertogether.