In a small market town not so far away, there are plans to install a statue. Last year we saw a number of slave owner figures pulled down and cast aside. I must confess to a wry smile on seeing one being tipped into a river.
The new statue is one of Margaret Thatcher and she – along with Sir Isaac Newton – certainly made their mark on history of the town. Mrs Thatcher was the first female prime minister, had multiple election victories, etc, and is also very divisive figure in the UK. The impact of privatisation, loss of the coal mines, and other social rulings have left deep scars that lurk within British society. Some proposed, some did not.
The statue isn’t up yet and there are concerns that it would be vandalised. A cynic might say that a report is out soon saying rain is wet, but we’ll move on. 😉
Growing up near that town in the 80s and with the PM’s shadow across it, made for an interesting experience. To a small extent the town did well on the housing boom, council house purchases, and a slight flush of yuppie house sales by being on the main railway line to London. However, heavy industry certainly went and the loss of social housing seems a problem no one wants to address some forty years on.
For me it was the introduction of Clause 28 that cemented my view that that government did not want people like me. Not seen and not heard. The banning of schools to talk about being gay as if that would stop things. Because you know, if your mate or teacher tells you about it, you might sign up like you do to Netflix. Yeah, right. 😉 BTW, if any of Netflix’s legal team are reading this, I’m not saying that watching your services has you on the turn 😁 Although that fine looking woman of colour presenting Drag Race…. 😛
So, crap jokes aside, growing up feeling part of society in which your government doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge you and wants to make sure no one talks about what you’re going through. Well, that kinda sucks. It seems that certain figures maintained their bigotry during the equality around marriage, even if much of the UK had moved on. In fairness, some changed their minds and I am hopeful that did because they learned they were wrong, not because it’s a vote winner.
You may have noticed I’ve not said all of party X because that’s not accurate. However, all it takes is a few rotten ones to have control and the others not to push back. A lesson for today’s leaders perhaps in what not to do…? I can think of folk on the left, the right, and the centre who are not LGBTQ+ friendly. Mind you, with the anti-immigrant talk, that doesn’t that foster a level of social acceptance of bigotry? 😔
Why am I bringing this up now? Because it seems the same nonsense about teens being recruited is being rolled out. It’s a slightly different set of players, with a slightly different tune, but with the same newspapers, and it still stinks. Hate wrapped up in a veneer of concern when it’s not about listening or respect, but banning and controlling.
It will not be an easy ride, but I believe in the long term, we will prevail and those who oppose will be found out for what they are. I still say, if you’re punching down, it may be time to reflect on who you’re hurting and why. Is it really about protecting or is it more that really, you don’t like the idea people can change? Of all the people in the world, trans people are not the enemy.
Not being told about LGBT matters didn’t stop me being trans. I was born this way and I searched out information so I could try to make sense of it. There were no role models or influencers for me. Indeed perhaps reading about gay people and watching Out on Tuesday (bless you, C4) all those things normalised LGBT culture for me. Despite being a small town boy very far from any scene, even back then I couldn’t understand why certain straight folk where so filled with hate about it.
So, to close. In the decades to come, will another set of statues be pulled from plinths or sprayed in rainbow glitter to make them fabulous? Will we look on and smile seeing the once powerful toppled and there rulings denied?