The FRIDA Community stands in solidarity with LGBTQI people all over the world, and our thoughts and love are with those affected by the Orlando massacre
We are shaken and saddened by the terrible events in Orlando. June is pride month, when the LGBTQI communities march to reclaim their rights, streets, nights, and voice. Only a few weeks ago, the global LGBTQI community marked May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. These days not only speak to the strength and resilience of the LGBTQI communities, but the continued struggle for equality. The massacre of 50 people at Pulse, a community space and bar where LGBTQI people could dance, celebrate their diverse identities and come together safely, was an act of hate that targeted a group of people who are marginalized in so many parts of the world. FRIDA stands in solidarity with those affected by this terrible tragedy, and heartbroken for the lives lost.
We know that all around the world, LGBTQI communities are fighting for their rights, safety and freedom. And there is still so much work to be done. Although the LGBTQI community has become more visible and significant legal battles have been won in recent years, there are still continued attempts to legally restrict their civil rights. In the United States, since 2013, legislatures have introduced 254 bills that further limit LGBTQI rights, 20 of which became law. Around the world, same-sex marriage is only a fraction of what the LGBTQI movement needs to feel safe, free, seen, and heard.
We believe that freedom of expression for all people, inclusive of sexual and gender identity, should be universally respected as part of our most fundamental human rights, as is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, in more than 70 countries, same sex relationships are criminalized, sexual identity is censored, and stigmas continue.
FRIDA believes that living openly and freely in defiance of restrictive social norms and political or legal codes that limit one’s gender or sexual identity is a radical and political act. We know firsthand that safety is tenuous for those walking this tough journey. Stepping into the street can be an act of love and resistance, in a world where holding hands with someone of the same sex can literally cost your life.
FRIDA condemns the Orlando massacre and the continued violence and hate crimes that LGBTQI people suffer every day around the world. We believe the way forward requires linking human rights efforts and continuing to build movements across the human rights spectrum. We believe safety, both physical and emotional, is an essential part of the full realization of rights. Intersectionality is the only way forward, and it includes standing up against the instrumentalization of the LGBTQI cause to justify anti-immigration or anti-Muslim views, and a strong commitment to a world where guns are regulated more than who people are allowed to love.