2020 won’t just be the start of a new year, but also marks the advent of an entirely new decade! While the LGBTQI+ community certainly has made great strides over the past 10 years, you just have to skim across the headlines to notice there are still a great many things to be done.
In this vein, here are 10 New Year’s resolutions that the queer community can (and should) take into the next decade.
1. Recognise all queer identities
“Some people are gay – get used to it” is a popular statement, often seen on posters at Pride parades and rallies. Many gays and lesbians might do well to remove the beam from their own eyes before criticising the cishet community, though. Some people are bisexual/pansexual/non-binary/trans/polyamorous – get used to it!
2. Prioritise the fight for trans rights
All over the world, trans people are facing severe challenges, even as this community is truly starting to come into its own. The LGBTQ community should prioritise the fight for trans rights just as much as we put marriage equality at the top of the agenda years ago, and should get involved in ensuring the safety and happiness of our trans brothers and sisters.
3. Stop sweating the small things
Forgive me, but the gay community does have a way of sometimes making a huge brouhaha over nothing at all. It also seems that at times we are our own worst enemy by attacking one another for relatively minor issues, often forgetting the bigger picture. Perhaps it’s because we’re used to fighting for what we want and making our voices heard, but if minor disagreements lead to general discord within the community, is it really worth it?
4. Get involved with the cause
If you’re out and proud, consider getting involved in uplifting the local LGBTQI+ community in some way. Donate money, your time or your voice, and make a real difference.
5. Recruit allies for the cause
LGBTQI+ allies are important cogs in the queer machine. If you have straight, cis friends who also value the contributions the queer community make, get them involved in making things better.
6. Speak up, always
Don’t remain silent when discrimination and violence affect the LGBTQI+ community. Our voices have got us this far, but we dare not keep quiet now.
7. Pay attention to pronouns
It may be difficult to get used to when a trans friend comes out and says what pronouns they go by, but try your best to address them the way they want to be addressed. We can’t expect society at large to respect people living their lives authentically if we aren’t able to do something as simple as calling someone what they want to be called.
8. Converse with the other side
Conversation is the beginning of tolerance and acceptance. Engage with friends and family you might not see eye to eye with in a way that leaves room for them to learn from you, and vice versa.
9. Embrace intersectionality
Intersectionality, a concept describing how gender, class, race and other individual characteristics overlap and intersect with one another, has become a buzzword of late, and for good reason. The writer and activist Audre Lorde once said there are no single-issue struggles, because we don’t live single-issue lives, and this has never rung truer as it does now. Taking all the factors affecting the community into account will become even more important in the next decade.
10. Keep setting the agenda
Yes, there is a gay agenda – but there’s nothing sinister or secret about it. Ultimately, the LGBTQI+ community decides what the important issues of the day are, and how they should be addressed. We shouldn’t wait around for the gay agenda to be set by other groups, but should pro-actively partake in creating the destiny the queer community will fulfil in the next 10 years – and beyond.