Pride month is a time for us to reflect, protest and celebrate. It's when many of our allies come out to support us.
But this year has already set a markedly different tone.
Instead of time to reflect on 'what pride means to me' - our audience is contemplating Pride Month with great fear and concern.
They're worried about what the government or media will say next.
At a time when it's easy for media and organisations to do sweeping topline Pride Month coverage - we asked our audience what they're worried about instead. We asked them what we should focus on.
It's far from a scientific approach - but what our audience says matters to us.
It will inform our coverage in the coming months, and we wanted to share that knowledge with you.
What LGBTQIA+ people are worried about in 2023
Overwhelmingly, our audience's top concern was that trans rights were under attack in the UK. They said trans lives are under attack by the government, right-wing pundits, the media and Conservative and Labour Party members.
Many feared what government and opposition figures would say about LGBTQIA+ rights and what they might try to do through legislation - particularly around trans rights.
Multiple respondents used the word ‘fascism’ to describe the direction of the UK, with "the pendulum swinging away from acceptance."
"Being a trans man I am increasingly fearful of the rise of transphobia and the government's policies that just keep attacking our rights"
Hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ people have risen by 348% in the last six years alone.
It's one of the reasons the UK has slid from being ranked the top European country to be LGBTQIA+ down to 17th in the same time period.
In the most recent figures, there were 26,824 reports of hate crimes based on sexual orientation and 1,292 reports of transphobic hate crimes in just a year.
That's 77 attacks a day. And that's only the ones that get reported - most don't.
Our audience is all too aware of this, many citing their safety and concern for young LGBTQIA+ people as one of their top fears.
"There's so much hate that it seems so overwhelming"
There is looming guidance about how schools should treat transgender pupils, likely to suggest not only outing trans kids to parents but banning them from some bathrooms.
Meanwhile, many activists believe the government has created a 'Section 28 through the backdoor' by sending confusing signals to teachers with anti-trans rhetoric about 'protecting children’ from trans people.
This is something our audience is keenly aware of. They speak about how important it is for children to have safe and happy upbringings. How kids should get the information they need to live without fear of their identity.
One teacher told us their biggest issue at work was the "constant debates" with parents over "what we teach about trans people."
"I'm more worried for queer kids than for myself. I want them to have hope that whatever current governments do, there are more people who believe in queer kids and queer rights than those who oppose them. So they don't feel their lives are over before they've begun."
What LGBTQIA+ people want the media to cover
We're an audience-led publisher.
What that means for us is letting our audience set the news agenda and giving our members a chance to directly fund content they want to see.
And so, if you're looking for a list of things to focus on to deliver for the LGBTQIA+ people in your audience - here is a massive cheat list for you to steal.
This is what the QueerAF audience wants the media to cover:
- Queer families, parenting and having children
- Asexual, aromantic and intersex people - some incredibly marginalised backgrounds in our community
- The joy in queer lives, all year around and in our history - not just at Pride parties
- The intersections between being queer and Black, Asian and disabled
- Lesbians - a huge part of our community, seriously lacking in media representation
- Grassroots LGBTQIA+ organisations and how they're inspiring and making change
- Queer people who take part in sports
- Hidden stories in our community like addiction, cost of living issues, domestic and sexual abuse
But as we model the change we want to see, we hope we're not alone in that work.
What can I do?
Got this far and thought - what can I do to make a change in the media?
Great, we have some ideas for you:
- Seen a story or theme, you have a unique perspective on? Write for us - even if you've never written an article before, our Queer Gaze scheme is designed for writers even without any previous experience.
- Think our approach to journalism (sharing our secrets and being transparent about our work) is awesome? Why not get involved in shaping our output.
- Just want to understand the LGBTQIA+ news more so you can do your bit? Fair - we vibe with you. This ones's for you
Looking for support? It's a lot out there. Switchboard LGBT+ are open 10 am-10 pm 0800 0119 100