Posted on Wed 16 Jan 2019 at 13:51 by Matt Lawson
There are many countries around the world with gay rights issues. For example, Russia is constantly upholding a strong anti-gay message that is spread on social media and demonstrated in the banning of any pro-LGBT* content. It’s difficult to know what can be done other than grumbling and hoping Vladimir Putin is miraculously replaced by Cher; however, it’s important to know that you don’t have to be celebrity to have an influence on the world – you can stand up to hate in as little time as minutes and potentially help save the lives of the LGBT* people that have to call these bigoted countries home.
An easy way to start your journey of actively denouncing hatred in the world is to simply stop throwing your money at them. Despite most Britons supporting women’s rights, LGBT* rights and denouncing discrimination, 1.5 million of us still visit the United Arab Emirates. Whilst the shopping might be to die for, you may end up doing just that (or receiving a hefty fine/jail sentence) for putting a foot out of line, especially if you are an LGBT* couple. In addition to being dangerous to visit, supporting the tourism industry of countries with anti-gay views only further extends their influence. Maybe stick to Eldon Square or the Metro centre for now?
Another great way of getting involved and challenging the hatred around the world is to simply sign a petition or two… or four… or ten or twenty (or more if you’re feeling generous). Sites like Care2 Petition and Change.org have hundreds of petitions that can be signed incredibly easily and have very real consequences. For example, the ban on gay boy scouts was overturned under the weight of a petition signed by a massive 477,354 people putting pressure on the organisation to change its ways. Each discriminatory organisation challenged, and victim of discrimination saved from execution is a result of every voice that cares coming together to make a change. It might not be the instant sweeping rainbow of change we’d ideally like, but it’s a great start.
Finally, make sure that you put your influence on social media to good use. By the time you’ve added your friends, family and people you became best friends with for a night whilst drunk then never saw again, many of us end up being able to potentially reach hundreds on our social media accounts. Remembering to challenge discriminatory content made by those you follow is great but remembering to share those amazing petitions you signed and human rights violation stories you read is great too!
You can also report and take down discriminatory pages and groups all by yourself! It doesn’t matter how many thousands of people are involved or what location they’re in, discriminatory content is almost always against a site’s guidelines and just one person’s detailed report can lead to a full takedown.
The lack of an action on any immediately impressive scale may initially seem trivial in contrast to the widespread LGBT* discrimination in so many countries. However, everyone who proactively takes a part in a lifestyle that rejects bigotry, contributes to progressive organisations and countries and spreads the word when activists reveal what some victims of discrimination have to go through makes this world a better place to live.
“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”
- David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas