We live in a diverse world, with people of different backgrounds, gender, religions and ethnicities being accepted by the vast majority of the population.
Unfortunately, there is still a minority of people who are not accepting and who try to spread hate and fear.
People from the LGBTQIA+ community, specifically transgender and gender non-conforming people, and refugees and immigrants are facing a landslide of discrimination in our society. This is happening on the news, social media, in parliaments and in person and it can have a detrimental affect on these people and their mental health (6)
For example, in the UK, the USA and across the world, transgender people are fighting for their right to live authentically. In January 2022, the UK was listed alongside Russia, Hungary and Poland as a site of extensive and virulent attacks on LGBTQIA+ rights (1). Specifically in Scotland, trans rights are being debated regularly and many public figures are making it known that they do not support trans people (2). The rights of trans people are regularly being discussed and debated by politicians, celebrities, school administration, often in an incredibly dehumanising way. Trans people already suffer from issues such as non acceptance by family and friends and increased rates of mental health problems so these added issues can cause serious problems.
Specifically in the UK and Ireland, there is wave of anti-immigration and anti-refugee rhetoric. Far right organisations are trying to gain momentum by running campaigns such as "House the Irish First" (3) and the UK government is regularly discussing ways to send refugees and asylum seekers back to the countries which they have fled (4). These people already face issues such as the trauma in the country they have came from, having to leave their home, their country and their family, and many other issues (5). To also face discrimination from the people in their new home and to constantly see the anti-refugee rhetoric that is constantly being talked about in the media is a horrible thing to happen.
But what can we do to help? Take a look at the resources below.
If you are a trans person or a refugee reading this, please know that we support you! There are links below to local organisations that aim to support and help you.
If you are the victim of a hate crime, if you witness a hate crime or you know someone who is committing hate crimes, report it to the police, your school or an adult.
People who are not transgender can educate themselves on trans rights, pronouns and the issues that are facing transgender people.
Start fundraising and raising awareness for these issues. Speak up and call out people. Trans people and immigrants and refugees should not be the only ones standing up for their rights.
The Belfast Trans Resource Centre is a community space and hub for the transgender people of Belfast and beyond. They are an accessible, welcoming venue, used by most trans organisations in Northern Ireland for events.
Belfast Multi-Cultural Association is a grassroots organisation founded in 2015 supported by local businesses and restaurants. BMCA has been set up to work with all sections of the community.