Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
42 views
42 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
54 views
54 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
52 views
52 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
87 views
87 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
27 views
27 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

The Big Debate: The LGBTQ+ movement is now more about image than change

Agree

Georgia Grace

When I moved to Brighton last summer, one of the many things that excited me about my new home was the prospect of attending my first ever Pride. For a small town bisexual like myself, the concept of an entire weekend dedicated to celebrating and appreciating LGBT+ people – our lifestyles, our opinions, our ideas – was incredible, and knowing Brighton as a hub of culture and progressive ideas, I was sure I wouldn’t be disappointed. I was wrong.

Brighton Pride was nothing more than an elaborate party. To the best of my knowledge there were no speeches, no art or music or film pieces discussing LGBT+ issues, no free contraception or educational pamphlets, no commemorations or exhibits on inspirational LGBT+ people. Nothing aside from the overwhelming amount of colour and glitter indicated that it had anything to do with being LGBT+ whatsoever. And what exactly do rainbows have to do with being queer anyway? The existence of the LGBT+ community has been downgraded to a mere symbol; something that was once empowering has become a means of covering up anything real or individually expressive.

The most deplorable thing for me was that the procession that marched through the city was made up predominantly of corporate floats. Straight people were utilising the event as free advertising for their own capitalist endeavours – something that is hardly exceptional to Pride. You’ve likely seen the “He said yes” Lloyds Bank billboards, featuring a newly engaged same-sex couple embracing, with a hug that would not be out of place at the end of a successful business deal. Yes, in a way it is good to see representation of same-sex couples in the mainstream media, even if it is in a painfully heteronormative and conservative manner. But on the other hand, I can’t help but sense the hidden agenda. Championing LGBT+ rights has become like a badge of honour of late.

Ten or twenty years ago when being queer was something most people publicly turned their nose up at, there was a need for people to walk around wearing “Being gay is okay” t-shirts and hang up rainbow flags. But now that it has become so socially acceptable in urban and liberal areas of the UK such as our own, LGBT+ advocacy has become a fashion accessory.

Don’t get me wrong, if you associate with those images as part of embracing your own sexuality that is another thing entirely. But when a straight person, or an unaffiliated collective starts doing it, their motives ought to be called into question. One of the issues with such people joining on the bandwagon of LGBT+ advocacy – because it is the norm, because it is expected, because it is celebrated even – aren’t really very good advocates. How many girls who paint rainbows on their cheeks for one weekend a year know what pansexual or asexual means? How many of the men and women who write statuses and share articles stating that homophobic abuse is unacceptable, question the validity of transgender people over the dinner table, or announce to their work colleagues their belief that marriage really ought to just be between a man and a woman?

LGBT+ issues have come a long way in the past century and I do not for a moment intend to diminish the significance of that. It is fantastic that so many people now can freely express their gender and sexuality, and engage in relationships with people that not long ago they could not dream of doing openly – and all of this is thanks to the new era of LGBT+ public acceptance that we have entered. But to suggest that this public acceptance is without its problems is ignorant.

In order to be accepted LGBT+ people have painted palatable representations of themselves, be it by conforming to the norms of heterosexual society, adhering to stereotypes that depict us as an eccentric but harmless “other”, or masking the realities of queer lifestyles with images of rainbows and unicorns, which most people would rather discuss than anal sex and strap-ons. These people have been remarkably successful in making it socially acceptable to be queer. But it’s time we take off the armour and allow the world to see us for what we really are. It’s time for LGBT+ to stop being an accessory, and start being a reality.

Disagree

Devin Thomas

The University lifestyle, particularly at a University like our own, is an open, liberating and accepting one. This campus is a space where most students feel free to really explore the depths of their own ideas, discovering passions they never knew were within them in an environment where they know they won’t be judged for it. For this reason, advocacy for the rights of many groups of marginalised and oppressed people can be taken as a given when it comes to the interests of most of our students: I would argue it would actually be far more surprising to discover that someone in your seminar was a Conservative, or a supporter of UKIP, than to find out they were a radical Socialist, feminist or anarchist.

It is easy to forget, for this reason, that this is not the state of mind in every area. There are many areas in our Country where your sexual preference does, still, dictate the level to which you are accepted. School playgrounds still echo with taunts about suspected homosexuality, an implicitly negative attribute in this context; ‘coming out’ remains a big deal, not something you can expect your bravery praised for; and community, above all, remains so important for those who feel alienated. Easy as it is to paint University life as the given experience of our entire populace, this kind of thinking- the kind that would lead you to believe that the LGBTQ+ movement has become distanced from making real change- is narrow and damaging. It is trendy, at Sussex, to advertise the fact that you support certain popular causes: this much can’t be denied. However, the fact that it can currently be seen as trendy is a testament to how far we’ve come for these movements.

The focus of the LGBTQ+ movement remains, to my knowledge, as strong as it has ever been: to change the world to be more accommodating and accepting of people of all identities- to allow anybody, no matter their gender, sexuality or identity, to feel comfortable in their own skin. The fact that the movement is no longer as much of a struggle against overwhelming odds does not indicate a lack of direction, or that it is now more about image: the fact is that the clear aims of the movement have been largely achieved, an incredible accomplishment that LGBTQ+ groups continue to expand upon.

Their work, unfortunately, may never be over. As long as discrimination against the few exists, the many need to mobilise in their support. Corporations, politicians and celebrities may backpack on the success and popularity of the LGBTQ+ movement- whether they believe authentically in what they’re promoting or not, though, is irrelevant. What matters is being heard. Just because something may be argued to be a ‘trendy’ ideology doesn’t mean it is no longer relevant.

It can be argued that Pride parades are an indicator that the movement has lost its way, being little more than huge parties. However, Pride events are a longstanding symbol of the LGBTQ+ movement’s resilience, self-belief and unabashed beauty. They are a celebration, not a militant act: they will perhaps not change any minds or convert any people- they are not supposed to. They are for those who support and empathise with the plight of the community, and a chance to publicly assert their self-belief, and to have a great time and a lot of fun while doing it. Not every event has to be a straight-faced, angry demonstration featuring placards and police confrontations in order to advance the plight of a movement. Pride parades show us that celebration can be just as much of a revolutionary act as protest.

It seems clear to me that the LGBTQ+ movement is not about image at all. Those outside of it may see it differently- they may have first-hand experience of someone hopping on the bandwagon of a popular cause to advance their own popularity, and that, while not an amazing thing to do, is not representative of the state of the movement itself. The movement is, and has always been, about enacting change. And to this day, regardless of image, this is what the LGBTQ+ movement strives to do.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
42 views
42 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
54 views
54 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
52 views
52 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
87 views
87 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
27 views
27 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
42 views
Arts
42 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
46 views
Film & Theatre
46 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
54 views
Sports
54 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
52 views
Arts
52 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
87 views
Arts
87 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1141 views1
Campus News
1141 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
27 views
News
27 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

The University of Sussex Students' Union (USSU) has apologised after 'sexist' beermats were found in Dig-In Boxes in Freshers' Welcome Bags. The beermats were provided by Brush…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
90 views1
News
90 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
92 views
Campus News
92 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
90 views
Opinion
90 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
398 views
Arts
398 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
402 views
Arts
402 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
375 views
Arts
375 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
434 views
Arts
434 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
449 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
391 views
Arts
391 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
367 views
Arts
367 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
562 views
Campus News
562 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
316 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
924 views
Arts
924 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
375 views
Arts
375 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…