Six times the LGBTQ+ community and their allies fought together for a better future in 2023
Throughout 2023, queer people and allies united to combat anti-LGBTQ+ violence and protest against the injustice our peers face worldwide.
The past 12 months have seen a new record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced in the US, with 75 pieces of legislation becoming law.
Across the pond in the UK, the LGBTQ+ community also faced an onslaught of anti-trans hate from prime minister Rishi Sunak and his Conservative Party, leaving queer folk concerned over the state of transgender rights in the UK.
When hate surfaced, LGBTQ+ people and their allies rose up in numbers to support a variety of movements, to amplify the voices of those demanding change and to drown out the cries of hate whenever possible.
From trans men defiantly signing up to enter the Miss Italy contest, to queer furry hackers targeting states pushing hateful policies, here are six times when the community came together to fight for a better tomorrow.
More than 100 trans men signed up for Miss Italy after transgender women were banned
In July, Miss Italy’s patron Patrizia Mirigliani refused to update the pageant’s rules to join what she described as the “glittery bandwagon of trans activism”.
So, more than 100 trans men responded in the most amazing way – by entering the competition.
Trans activist Federico Barbarossa, who launched the campaign, told PinkNews that he signed up “as a joke at first” but really “wanted to blow away the sand castle built on biology” that bigots have been “hanging on to”.
Astro Ferrante joined the protest because trans people “don’t have many ways to be heard in Italy”.
If trans people want to be listened to, “we can only stand together and amplify our voices”, Ferrante added.
Queer furry hackers targeted states’ anti-trans laws
In June, SiegedSex, a self-described group of LGBTQ+ furry hackers, breached agency databases across five states – Texas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and South Carolina – and released a wealth of information. The Guardian confirmed the data’s authenticity.
The hackers cited legislative attacks on the trans community and gender-affirming healthcare in those particular states as their motive. As 2023 comes to an end, Texas legislators have introduced 65 anti-trans bills, according to the Trans Legislation Tracker – four of which have passed into law.
SiegedSex not only wanted the government agencies to see their hacks, but also aimed to “motivate and encourage others to protest”, they told Dazed.
“I hope our attacks get others to protest, and hopefully help get the laws changed,” the hackers said. “We know we can’t do much on our own, our intention was to provide additional support.”
Hundreds of drag performers and allies stood outside the Florida state capitol to protest against the anti-drag bill
A huge crowd of defiant drag performers, members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies from across Florida marched on the state Capitol to protest against discriminatory legislation.
Darcel Stevens, a drag activist who organised the protest, and whose parents were members of the Civil Rights Movement, said performers aren’t just entertainers, they are also “valued contributors to society”. Many are small business owners, parents and healthcare workers, so “Floridians know we pose no threat”, he said.
“That’s why we’re united here, using our powerful collective voices to encourage political activism, register voters and resist policies that harm us and [our] brothers and sisters in [the] LGBTQIA+ community.
“We are not going anywhere, we will not be silent. We will rise up and we will fight back.”
Queer activists used London transport ads to support LGBTQ+ Gazans
The Dyke Project, a collective of trans, cis and non-binary lesbians and queer folk, “hacked” 100 Transport for London adverts across the train network, replacing them with stories of LGBTQ+ Palestinians.
The messages, which are composed of testimonies from online collaborative Queering the Map, popped up across the Victoria Line, London Overground and at bus stops in England’s capital.
One message on the posters described how the writer “adored” another person “more than anything” while another from someone in Palestine simply read: “We are here and we are queer.”
The Dyke Project’s Jess Elliott said the advert hack aimed to “remind our community that none of us are free until all of us are, and we will not let our struggle be used to distract from the genocide of others”.
Australians drowned out anti-trans activist Posie Parker with demands she ‘go home’
Several LGBTQ+ protests took place around Australia to voice opposition to British “gender-critical” activist Posie Parker, aka Kellie-Jay Keen, when she toured the country in March.
When speakers attacking the trans community attempted to voice their rhetoric, hundreds of LGBTQ+ people and allies drowned them out.
At one event in Hobart, Parker was completely overwhelmed by demonstrators telling her to “go home” while others chanted: “Posie Parker you can’t hide, you’ve got Nazis on your side.”
Australian senator Lidia Thorpe, clad in an Aboriginal flag, chanted “you are not welcome here” during a protest on the Parliament House lawns in Canberra.
The senator also appeared to be pushed to the ground during the protest.
Trans creators raised more than $2 million for gender-affirming healthcare in TikTok campaign
Mercury Stardust, a DIY TikToker and advocate, known as the Trans Handy Ma’am, alongside fellow TikToker Jory, aka Alluring Skull, raised more than $2.2 million (approximately £1.7 million) in a livestream for the mutual aid not-for-profit organisation Point of Pride.
The duo initially set themselves a goal of raising $1 million (£789,000) in a planned 30-hour livestream for their respective gender-affirming surgeries, as well as donating a huge portion to Point of Pride, which provides financial aid and direct support to trans and non-binary people in need of healthcare.
They smashed that milestone in just a few hours so literally doubled their efforts, hosting games, chats and even a musical performance.
At the end of the stream, Mercury promised to keep giving “every year we can” and Jory cheered as the final target was reached.
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