“This Pride, I want to pay tribute to the lesbian and bi Londoners who, for too much of history have been demonized, fetishized or erased”
BY MAYOR OF LONDON. IMAGE SADIQ KHAN, #BIPRIDE
During Pride month, when up to a million Londoners flood the streets and shop windows are filled with rainbow flags, it’s easy to forget that abuse and discrimination is still a painful reality for too many LGBTQ+ Londoners.
Never was this more apparent than in June when news came to light of a vicious and cowardly homophobic assault on two women [Melania Geymonat and partner Chris] on a date on board a London bus.
This attack was, plain and simple, a hate crime. Hate crime has no place in our city and I am determined to stamp it out. The incident was horrifying and it flew in the face of our collective understanding of what it means to be a Londoner – being open, inclusive and accepting of our diversity as a city.
We celebrate and embrace difference and here you should be free to be who you want to be, and love who you want to love.
The fact that the attack followed the women’s refusal to kiss for the entertainment of a group of young males reeked of misogyny, and is symptomatic of a wider societal issue. This did not happen in a vacuum. Too often lesbian women, where they are represented in the media, are hypersexualised. Loving relationships are undermined and bisexual identities fetishized.
Despite progress we’ve seen in LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, there are still those who cannot accept that women are equal to men.
It’s no secret that I am a feminist and I am so proud to be Mayor of London at a time when both the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade are women.
My Night Czar [Amy Lamé] is a proud lesbian and it is a true privilege to see my team of Deputy Mayors, of whom more than half are women, work together to improve the lives of all Londoners regardless of gender, race, faith, disability, age or sexual orientation.
This is the London we love. The diversity at City Hall reflects that of a city where anyone, regardless of their background, can come and find that they are not only accepted but respected. And, 50 years on from the Stonewall uprising, in which lesbians and trans women of colour played such a key role, this is the London we must defend.
All over the world, we are seeing the threat of the hard-fought rights of LGBTQ+ people being rolled back. The hard-won fight for equality must continue.
So this Pride, I want to pay tribute to the lesbian [and bisexual] Londoners who, for too much of history have been demonized, fetishized or erased.
As we march and laugh and stand in solidarity, I want you to know I will always stand up for your rights.
For more follow Sadiq Khan on Twitter @MayorofLondon and @SadiqKhan
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