On Saturday 27 June, we’ll be marching on Pride in London with the trade unions and Lesbians & Gay Men Support the Miners – join us! All supporters are welcome regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Details here.
By RV, NCAFC activist
This Pride takes place in a year when the number of people living in hostels has reached a seven year high. This Pride takes place in a country where people pay the highest private rents in Europe. This Pride takes place in a year where the Tories have won and could remove housing benefit for young people.
This is why we have to use Pride as a mechanism of resistance instead of a corporate pinkwashing exercise. We have to take to the streets, not so that Barclays can give themselves a pat on the back and celebrate their inclusiveness, but as a start towards dismantling a housing system which puts LGBT people on the streets.
The last 5 years have been a brutal assault on young LGBT people; coalition policies have removed housing services that are vitally needed by vulnerable LGBT people. Under-35s are restricted to claiming housing benefit if they are living in a shared house. In a society that is deeply LGBTphobic, this can mean living in unsafe spaces, with housemates that harass or bully you. At the same time LGBT voluntary organisations have faced up to 50% cuts in their budgets, including housing charities. This means a lack of specialised support for LGBT people when they need it most.
If the Tories abolish housing benefit for under 21s, expecting people to return to their family homes, it is LGBT people who are most likely not to have a family home to go back to. It is LGBT people who need most of all cheap rents, in order to be able to have control over the safety of their environment.
25% of homeless people are our LGBT comrades. We must fight the social aspect of the battle and change people’s ideas, but we must fight the material aspect just as vigorously: that is, fight for homes for ourselves.
The theme of this years’ Pride is ‘heroes’. The hero that must emerge is our collective strength in demanding all of us as LGBT people have a home, both through increased housing benefit and through a mass building programme of social housing.