Michael Gill Co- Chair of Riverside’s LGBT staff group Spectrum discusses why it is important to continue to work toward LGBTQIA+ equality, diversity, and inclusion, and have visible role models and supportive allies.

I decided to write a blog for this year’s IDAHOBIT event to draw attention to ongoing issues and discrimination around the world.

But first, what is IDAHOBIT?

IDAHOBLIT (International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia) is an awareness day created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTQ+ people. The date of May 17 was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organisation’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. The 2022 theme is ‘Our bodies, Our rights, Our choice’.

I delivered a number of training sessions last summer with Lyn Bowker called ‘What’s it all about LGBTQIA+’. In this session we covered Allport’s Scale of Prejudice, which describes how low-level incidents of prejudice and discrimination are just the foundation in pyramid to extreme consequences. This research was based on how the Holocaust happened and the processes that the German society went through and the passivity of internal and external bystanders.

The scale is in five layers:

  • Anti-locution: bad mouthing, gossiping etc.
  • Avoidance
  • Discrimination
  • Physical attacks
  • Extermination

This video explains well

You may be thinking that this is quite abstract, this is just history and in the past, but I’d like you to think about these examples from around the world and here in the UK.

Sadly, we have our own home-grown issues here in the UK with many examples of negative messaging in the media especially regarding anti- trans rhetoric such as:

This paints quite a grim picture, and that is why it is important for Riverside to continue its work LGBTQIA+ equality, diversity, and inclusion and also why we need visible role models in leadership and our allies supporting us. We’ve made great progress on this over the years and have been recognised as the most friendly LGBTQIA+ housing association in England in the Stonewall Top 100 Work Equality Index, with our highest ever ranking of number 12.