Flat White

This pandemic is about more than identity politics. True

14 May 2020

3:46 PM

14 May 2020

3:46 PM

Australia’s National LGBTI Health Alliance has said of coronavirus “We acknowledge the panic, frustration, confusion and uncertainty felt by many of us, in the face of the overwhelming media response to the pandemic. We also acknowledge the particular fears and difficulties that may be faced by LGBTI people. This is a stressful time for all of our community members, who may experience further marginalisation and anxiety.” 

Sure, different people have different needs in this pandemic due to their different circumstance, but since we’re all in this together to varying degrees can’t we drop the identity politics just for once? It appears not.  

Just how ‘tolerant’ is the homosexual movement? That’s the question being asked recently as Britain’s National Health Service has used rainbow flags during the COVID-19 outbreak to rally people’s optimism. Apparently, this all started because an older gentleman flew a rainbow flag outside his window in support of the NHS and refused to acknowledge that it meant he was supporting people who are LGBTIQ. All of which led to his homosexual grandson tweeting: 


But in response, this led Forbes to report: 

In the U.K. a wave of rainbows is on display in windows up and down the country. Like the weekly “Clap for Carers” they are a symbol of people’s solidarity with NHS and key workers.

But this act is leaving some in the LGBT+ community feeling uneasy about whether they are losing their symbol, accusing some online shops of erasure and ignorance as they sell LGBT+ pride banners rebranded as “Thank You NHS” flags.

What’s more, according to Forbes, the real enemy here is eBay, since they have been re-branding the flags as “Thank You NHS” flags. And here I was thinking that the LGBTIQ rainbow flag was so ideologically fluid that it included everyone, regardless of their sexuality! I mean, if #loveislove, then why can’t the rainbow flag be whatever one wants it to be?   

But never to miss an opportunity to perpetuate a victimhood narrative, the journalist from Forbes then went on to outline a conspiracy theory good enough to rival any related to the origin of COVID-19. Because the ‘erasure’ of the LGBTI flag is apparently linked to a much more insidious far-right agenda to secretly repeal gay rights:  

One study into the impact of coronavirus on the LGBT+ community by Queer Voices Heard suggests just under six in 10 (57%) in the U.K. LGBT Community fear they will be worse off after the pandemic.

Early signs suggest there is already evidence that might be the case.

In Europe, Hungary, Poland and the U.K. have already announced plans or begun changes that affect LGBT+ rights.

Hungary’s change, widely expected to be voted through this month, could mean trans people are no longer recognized at all.

Poland’s parliament is considering a “Stop Pedophilia” law which seeks to criminalize those who teach sex education by falsely linking homosexuality with pedophilia.

Meanwhile in the U.K., the equalities minister Liz Truss has signalled that gender recognition reform, long called for by activists in the trans community, could now mean rights are taken away from trans people instead of given to them as many hoped.

Notice how the most vulnerable victims are no longer the elderly but those who are LGBTIQ? It’s as ridiculous as it is absurd.   

Mark Powell is Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.

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