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Committee for a Workers International :: Socialist Alternative
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There has been an outpouring of horror and shock but also of solidarity with LGBT people after the killing of 49 people at a Latino gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on 12 June. Vigils have taken place across the world.
This vicious attack was a sobering reminder that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people, despite positive changes in the law and other steps forward, still face oppression due to their sexuality and gender identity.
A teachers' report found that in Britain nine in ten secondary school teachers say students in their schools are bullied for being - or perceived to be - lesbian, gay or bi. 28% of young trans people have experienced physical attacks and 27% have attempted suicide.
Between 2008 and 2014, there were 1,612 murders across 62 countries of transgender people - equivalent to a killing every two days. In the US, transgender people are four times more likely to live in poverty.
Austerity hits groups already discriminated against under capitalism the hardest. The housing crisis, cuts to homelessness services and shelters, cuts to NHS funding and many of the other austerity attacks are hitting LGBT people sharply.
A political Pride and united working class struggle are urgently needed. Pride was born out of struggle against police victimisation and for visibility and equality. Today, in Britain and internationally, austerity and capitalism in crisis threaten the gains won through struggle in the past.
A strategy to achieve lasting LGBT liberation depends on linking the day-to-day battles against anti-gay and anti-trans violence and discrimination to the struggle to build a mass movement for socialism and achieve a socialist society.
In Seattle in the US, Councillor Kshama Sawant, a member of Socialist Alternative (co-thinkers of the Socialist Party) has led the battle on the city council to challenge LGBT-phobia and austerity.
On 20 June the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a proclamation declaring 24 June 'Trans Pride Day'. In her speech arguing for this Kshama said: "Trans Pride is also a reminder that the fight against oppression is deeply interlinked with the larger fight for workplace rights. Trans activists have correctly been among the leading voices in the fight for $15 an hour, to end the gender pay gap, and the battle to unionise our workplaces."
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Article dated 22 June 2016
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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