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At least 1.5M queers can vote with pride this election - will you?
Queer Election Watch Opinion

At least 1.5M queers can vote with pride this election - will you?

Welcome to Queer Election Watch, a collaboration between DIVA, QueerAF and Trans+ History Week. We're here to help you cut through the noise and make sense of the issues that really matter to you, so that you can make a more informed vote in the upcoming general election.
CEO of the LGBT Foundation, Dr Paul Martin OBE, calls on the LGBTQIA+ people across the U.K. to register and vote with pride this general election.

In 2021, the England and Wales census began asking questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, which meant that for the first time, LGBTQIA+ communities were seen in official statistics on a scale never seen before. 

Personally, it gives me hope and joy to say that our communities are at least 1.5 million strong and expected to grow over the coming decades. 

Furthermore, this landmark achievement will ensure that our communities have critical evidence to inform the thinking of local and national decision-makers and be factored into the planning and funding of community services like education and healthcare. 

It is in this spirit that we at LGBT Foundation call on the over 1.5 million LGBTQ+ people across the U.K. to register and utilise their vote in this and all upcoming General Elections. 

I, along with other LGBTQIA+ charity sector colleagues and leaders, have long fought for our communitiesโ€™ rights to equal participation in public life and equal access to life-saving services. 

Our communitiesโ€™ refusal to be quiet and our determination to seek liberation for all has resulted in landmark legislation like the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and the Equality Act 2010, both enshrining some of the foundational LGBTQIA+ rights and freedoms into law. 

I highlight these examples because they show what can be achieved when we empower each other to make positive change, especially when we use our power at the ballot box. 

Unfortunately, we know that there is still plenty of work to be done, particularly when supporting our trans and non-binary siblings. 

In recent years, hardworking community activists and journalists have shone spotlights on the inequalities still faced by our communities, including: 

  • attempts to curtail the rights of younger LGBTQIA+ people to explore their gender identity without fear of stigma or discrimination,
  • discriminatory fertility policies preventing LGBTQIA+ adults from having a family,
  • the erosion of older LGBTQIA+ peoplesโ€™ rights to live with dignity and respect within social care settings.

We will continue to push for positive change; however, we cannot do this alone. We need the voices of LGBTQIA+ people across the country to affect change that will be felt long into the future. 

That is why we need all LGBTQIA+ people to register to vote by 18th June and to โ€˜Vote With Prideโ€™ on 4th July.

Help us achieve our vision of a world where queer liberation creates meaningful change and a fairer society for us all.

Stay tuned to Queer Election Watch for more on the issues that matter to you from DIVA, QueerAF and Trans+ History Week. Read all the policy checks and analysis of the campaign's issues now.

We need to understand why it's happening

Just over halfway through Pride Month 2024 - and, though you might have missed this if you haven't been reading lots of local newspapers - there has been a wave of attacks, vandalism and attempted arson on Pride flags right across the UK in the last few weeks.

At least four towns have seen repeated Pride flag vandalism, including multiple attempted burnings and arson of Pride flags.

Local news stories with a local news approach. It's important journalism.

In isolation, they don't seem like a big problem.

But as I've been putting together our newsletter, we've been seeing these stories pop up over the last week, as well as watching the lack of response to an attempted arson on a Pride flag - in my own town.

So when you zoom out and see them all together, the story changes.

In a world where we're bombarded by news, it's crucial that we zoom out and connect the dots. Because these crimes are bad on their own.

But together, they paint a shocking pattern of what's going on in towns up and down the country.

That's what's unique about the way we handle vital news about our community here. It's not enough to know what the news is; we need to know why it's happening.

That kind of journalism takes a huge investment of time and resources - which is why we're running a membership drive this month.

So we can do this queer accountability journalism all year around.

Last year, we feared brands would pull out of Pride due to a backlash over merch. This year local LGBTQIA+ residents, businesses and organisations will see this series of attacks and be scared to even display their pride for fear of being attacked or targeted by vandalism and arson.

I'm under no illusion that these attacks, even if not directly, are connected by a growing anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment in the UK peddled, pursued and pushed by some politicians and media.

This Pride month, we need to remember how we fought and won advances because we need to start applying those lessons again before it gets any worse.

Join us and become a member of QueerAF and help us give the LGBTQIA+ the information it needs to navigate the fight back against a growing anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment: