Celebrating Pride Month with Revitalise Guest Luke Murphy
As many will already know June is Pride month. This involves lots of Pride celebrations and marches giving LGBTQ+ people a chance to celebrate their identity. For those who do not know what LGBTQ+ means, it stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. While the plus stands for all other identities.
My name is Luke and I am proud to be transgender. However I am also disabled. This causes a lot of barriers to attending events aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. Pride events are often held in fields and involve long marches, which most will know isn’t very disabled friendly. Also, what is known as gay bars are often up and down stairs, again excluding a huge part of the community.
I haven’t always been disabled, so have experienced these events from the view of a disabled person and a non-disabled person. The access in my area is so bad that I cannot attend any bars and I refuse to attend my local Pride after being told by security that wheelchair users should not be allowed. As a disabled person you are already very excluded from society due to access barriers but to also be excluded from the LGBTQ+ community makes you feel like a huge part of your identity isn’t important. Sadly my experience isn’t unique are many other disabled LGBTQ+ people feel the same.
Due to these experiences, I now spend a lot of my time raising awareness of these barriers and trying to make both the disabled community and LGBTQ+ community more accepting places. Before my disability, I was heavily involved in LGBTQ+ activism including The TIE campaign — which has meant that LGBTQ+ issues are now part of the education system in Scotland — a project called Voices Unheard that performed service reviews of organisations that supported people experiencing domestic violence to help them be more inclusive, as well as many smaller campaigns around homophobia and transphobia. However, after becoming a wheelchair user and realising how excluded disabled people are, I changed the focus of what I have been involved in to raise awareness more of the intersectionality that I and many others experience.
I have been attending Revitalise as a guest since April 2018. Although the first time I was due to stay I was very anxious. I wasn’t sure how the experience would be as a transgender person and that is always something that causes great worry. However I shouldn’t have worried. I have never had a bad experience. Staff have always been welcoming, respectful and just made the experience fun. Over the time I have been there I have made friends with other guests, enjoyed spending time with volunteers and been able to just be me somewhere I don’t feel I need to hide who I am.
I have always felt so welcomed that I recommend Revitalise to so many other people, especially those at a disabled peoples LGBTQ+ group I attend.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are the author’s own.