Human rights are universal. Yet, when we speak about human rights without naming specific groups suffering from violence and discrimination, the discussion makes no sense.The concept of human rights is that all people have equal rights, i.e. their rights are the same. It’s not to say that all people are the same. The idea of equality was announced, but it only worked among poorer social groups, while the rich still lived differently. There was no real equality for all people. The question that we are asking today is, why do we have to stand up for people’s rights to be equal to other groups? Some wonder, “Why do you protect those people specifically?” When somebody says “those people,” what do we hear in those words? This attitude is hardly about equality. Or, when somebody says, “I’m not against homosexuality/feminism, but…”, this “but” means that the person actually does mind these things, and the but will be followed by a long list of reasons why.
Now it’s no longer fashionable to be homophobic, transphobic or say things like “A woman’s place is in the kitchen,” because gender equality is gradually becoming mainstream. But what do we mean when we say gender equality? Do we really step away from the traditional roles for men and women? Why do we combine feminism with LGBT issues? I believe that the basis for homophobic and transphobic attitudes is the inequality between men and women. In our society, men and women are still depicted as Venus and Mars, black and white, two polar opposites that may complement one another but are not equal. Even though we see women getting more opportunities in various sectors now, can they truly use them as easily as men do? How hard do women have to work just to reach the starting point that men already have?
What do conservatives and far-right activists accuse us of? In all countries, they use the same ideology: we “impose gender,” want to take away children and make them gay, etc. They believe that our main purpose is destruction of the “healthy society” and “healthy nation.” But any change means destruction of something, and this something is not necessarily “healthy.” When we speak about traditional values, it’s important to understand what we mean by that. Traditional values include positive things, such as mutual support, love and protection, not female circumcision or domestic violence. Let’s consider traditional values separately from values overall that we want our society to be based on. Violence can never be justified by values. We are all people, all of us want to create a family and live in peace. Then why do other people come and disrupt our events, telling us that we are doing something wrong and undermining the basics of a healthy nation?
Trans people are the group that is often forgotten even when LGBT issues are discussed. In the previous century, being transgender was discussed exclusively as a medical issue: people would be diagnosed, get surgeries, and that’s it. Nothing was changing for years until trans activists appeared, who started talking about this problem and saying that it was up to trans people to decide what they need. Our take away from it is that feminism and LGBTQIA+ rights are not mutually exclusive of each other. They mean freedom and for all.