Director's Corner: Why a cover focusing on LGBTQ2+ rights is directly linked to the work we do at Megaphone
Overcoming homophobia and transphobia at home and abroad
It’s been an emotional few weeks. The shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub last month left everyone pretty shaken. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history and a horrific reminder of the prejudice, danger, and, ultimately, violence that the LGBTQ2+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning and two-spirited) community continues to live with.
Despite all the recent progress we’ve seen, the LGBTQ2+ community still remains a target for discrimination and hatred (especially, as the shooting targeted racialized queers, who are far more likely to experience violence and poverty).
It’s something we’ve dealt with here at Megaphone as well. Over the years we’ve published numerous stories about the discrimination homeless and low-income LGBTQ2+ people in British Columbia face on a daily basis; about how a disproportionate number of homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, and questioning; about the prejudice that gay, trans, and two-spirited Megaphone vendors have endured in their lives.
And yet, without fail, every time we publish a story on this subject, we receive complaints. We get emails from people who think it’s not something appropriate for us to talk about. We hear from our vendors about customers who normally buy the paper suddenly taking a pass.
It’s frustrating and heartbreaking.
Homophobia and transphobia are directly linked with the work Megaphone does. The 2016 Vancouver homeless count showed that 13 per cent of respondents identified as LGBTQ2+ despite making up anywhere between two and five per cent of the general population (depending on different estimates).
According to a 2006 survey by the Vancouver-based McCreary Centre Society, a quarter of homeless youth in British Columbia from the ages of 12 to 18 identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual—with many youth saying their parents kicked them out of their homes because they disagreed with their sexuality.
And according to our own surveys, roughly 18 per cent of Megaphone vendors identify as LGBTQ2+. Many have overcome incredibly challenging circumstances to get where they are now. They are part of our community. We are proud of them.
And we love them for who they are.
While the Orlando shooting rocked us, we are hopeful that the outpouring of love and support that followed will bring light to these issues (especially as we enter Pride season).
As this struggle continues, Megaphone will continue to support the LGBTQ2+ community, both at home and abroad.
That’s why we’re proud of this month’s edition. We hope that it gets people talking about LGBTQ2+ rights and reminds people that there’s still a long way to go towards equality. And we want the LGBTQ2+ community to know we’ll stand with them all the way.