Three years after Pulse, violence against LGBT people feels overwhelming

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 .

Three-year anniversary of Orlando LGBT nightclub shooting

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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