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Brits respect and admire LGBTQIA+ people - why don't the headlines reflect that?

Brits respect and admire LGBTQIA+ people - why don't the headlines reflect that?

Jamie Wareham
Jamie Wareham
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TL;DR - Despite media bombardment and press that wants you to believe otherwise, there is a consistently growing trend of support for LGBTQIA+ lives and different cultures in the UK.

As we mark Pride Month, I think we can all agree on just how important pride, as a protest, still is.

This year's festivities follow a bombardment of headlines against the LGBTQIA+ community, and the trans community in particular. With all of that, it's easy to think that people hate us. They don't.

Polls in the UK show that, although there is some confusion and division on trans lives, ultimately people want LGBTQIA+ people to live happy lives too.

In fact, we live in a society that loves different cultures.

Having a wide variety of cultures is British

This week the 'Hopes and fears' section in the latest report by British Future found that 72% of people believe having a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures is part of British culture. That's up from 49% in 2011.

On the flip side, only 28% believe welcoming different cultures is undermining Britain - that's down from 49% in 2011.

Stonewall's Take Pride report came to similar conclusions.

The weighted and nationally representative data found the public is much more likely to have positive feelings toward LGBTQIA+ people than negative feelings.

One in three felt actively respectful towards lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. One in five expressed admiration.

Crucially, less than one in twenty - only 3-4% of people - said they feared us.

The negative press focus on trans people in the UK has been pitting trans people against women. So it is a striking statistic that women are nearly eight times more likely to actively respect trans people (35%) than they are to fear them (4%).

Equally, the public's feelings towards LGBTQIA+ people are consistent with figures across lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.

It's a vivid reminder of why an attack against one of us, is an attack against us all. And attacks are rising, with a 210% rise in hate crimes since 2015.

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Media bombardment is slowing progress

It’s no coincidence that this increase matches the rise in negative newspaper headlines. Their search for rage clicks has been made worse by the pandemic squeezing ad revenue.

And if this bombardment keeps up - these numbers will slide. That's because if you're told something enough times, your brain is hard-wired to remember it.

We've seen signs of the press impact hitting our international reputation already. The UK dropped for the third year in a row in the Rainbow Europe ranking by ILGA Europe last month.

But there is hope to be found in widening the lens even further.

All of this also sits alongside data that shows young people in the UK are coming out at younger ages than ever.

That's because the 'Heartstopper generation' has grown up with better LGBTQIA+ representation in TV, films and social media.

It's why we need to media to work for us, not against us. It's urgent. And as you go about and celebrate Pride this month, remember:

No matter what the media or government wants us to believe - there is a clear trend toward supporting our differences.

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Jamie Wareham, he/him, gay queer disabled - A note from me:

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