Hello from the UK, one of the world’s leading countries for LGBTQ rights and equality. Here in London, there’s a rainbow flag around every corner and a feeling of inclusion everywhere you go.
The UK decriminalized sexual activity between men in 1967. Many protections for LGBTQ Britons date back to the 1990s. The Equality Act of 2010 is one of the strongest pieces of anti-discrimination legislation you’ll find anywhere on the globe: It protects people from discrimination or harassment in pretty much all aspects of public life based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage (and civil partnership), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
In comparison, the national anti-discrimination law in the US is limited to employment and only considers race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
My fellow Americans, we have a long way to go.
One of the happiest moments in my life was in 2015, when I took the Complimentary Spouse to my old school in England and we discovered signs like this in the halls:
Today, in central London, even the crosswalk signals are LGBTQ friendly. Check out these two photos from the area around Trafalgar Square:
Feeling left out, straight people? Don’t worry, there are crosswalk signals for you too. We just didn’t feel inclined to take any photos of them.
Let’s hear from some British LGBTQ people and allies:
“My LGBT hero is anyone that is brave enough to be who they are, and embrace it, and be proud of it — because it’s people like that that are able to encourage other people to do the same.”Tom Daley, well known knitter who also likes to swim from time to time
“I’ve never met a gay person who regrets coming out. You’re more at ease with your loved ones, your family and extended family, and your friends, and your employers, your employees. Everybody’s happy, because they know where they are. It’s out in the open — and honesty’s the best policy.”Sir Ian McKellen, noted Balrog survivor
“I would say to any young person … who’s being bullied for their sexuality: Don’t put up with it — speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need. You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of.”Prince William, do you seriously not know this person is?