Guardian: Coalition of the Fringes Must Emphasize Shared Enemy: Margaret Thatcher
Print Friendly and PDF

From The Guardian:

Muslims and LGBTQ people should stand together, not fight each other

Owen Jones
Don’t let the Birmingham school protests perpetuate divisions when a common enemy – the far right – is once again looming

Thu 11 Apr 2019

Watching angry protesters waving placards outside a Birmingham primary school brought it all back for Khakan Qureshi. A softly spoken gay Muslim in his early 40s, he vividly remembers Margaret Thatcher denouncing the fact that children were being taught they “have an inalienable right to be gay” and introducing section 28 – the toxic product of Tory homophobia and a hysterical media moral panic – to prevent the so-called promotion of homosexuality in schools. Now, in 2019, picketers – mostly, but not exclusively, from a Muslim background – are demanding that schools cease their LGBTQ-inclusive education. “I feel sad that I had to experience all that sort of mental angst all those years, being bullied, being picked on, being mocked,” he told me. “I just think that children should be allowed to be who they are, let us be who we are, let Muslims be who they are.”

Like other LGBTQ people who went to school before the repeal of section 28 in 2003, I too grew up in its shadow: I was never taught about LGBTQ issues, except when a teacher told a class that anal sex was bad for your health.

When everybody knows that the AIDS Epidemic was actually caused by Nancy Reagan.

The damage inflicted on LGBTQ people was incalculable: hearing homophobic language casually thrown around in the playground, absorbing the homophobia peddled by much of the media, fearful of rejection from family and friends, and no one to tell you you’re not alone, that there’s nothing wrong with you. …

The dangerous conclusion to draw from this saga is that Muslims and LGBTQ people are on a collision course. … But in truth, LGBTQ people and Muslims should be allies: above all, because we share many of the same experiences and enemies. …

• Owen Jones is a Guardian columnist

[Comment at]

Print Friendly and PDF