The last time someone spat at me in the street, it was the eve of Pride month and I’d just left an LGBT+ pub in east London.
I’d been to see a drag king show with a friend, and as we walked towards the bus stop a man approached us from behind, spat – twice – at us, and walked off.
“That dude was so gross,” I text my friend when I got back to mine. “Hope you got home alright?”
She replied, “Yeah. Asshole. It was because we’re both queer-presenting, right?”
Being spat at isn’t something I’d usually consider worth writing about. As many LGBT+ people could tell you, it’s not exactly uncommon.
But this Pride month, I feel overwhelmed by the violence directed at the LGBT+ community. While brands try to sell us mouthwash in rainbow-coloured bottles and Donald Trump celebrates Pride month by selling ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ T-shirts, the bodies of trans women are found shot dead in fields or pulled, floating, from lakes.
When a lesbian couple were beaten up on a night bus in north London on May 30 – the night before I was spat at, in a street a few miles away – politicians were quick to condemn it.
It was “absolutely shocking,” said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Penny Mordaunt, the women and equalities minister, said, “[I’m] appalled to see this kind of homophobic violence in the UK.”
We live in a country where – during Pride month – Ann Widdecombe, an elected MEP, says on national television that science “may yet cure” homosexuality and Michael Gove’s Tory leadership bid is backed in a national newspaper by an openly anti-trans MP.
So, forgive me for not sharing Corbyn’s shock at a homophobic attack. As queer women were quick to point out, violence against lesbians has been happening for years .
As we approach the halfway line of Pride month, we mark the third anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.
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