Great news for the LGBT+ community – the British Prime Minister says she is sorry for the pain and suffering that her country inflicted on LGBT+ people around the world.
Theresa May, the British PM, addressed the Pink News Awards in October 2017 when the 50th anniversary of the creation of the UK Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales, was being celebrated.
For a country that was the first in the world to criminalise homosexuality this public recognition of its wrongs has to be considered as one of the greatest apologies that has ever been made.
The British PM in her speech told the world about looking back on a ‘sad chapter of our past’, and celebrating how far we have come. But homophobia, biphobia and transphobia have still not been defeated, and they must be.
For many of our young people the issue for them is to understand how all this came about. Theresa May said there are anti-LGBT+ laws still remaining in many Commonwealth countries, and that they are a legacy of Britain’s colonial past – so the UK government has a special responsibility to help change hearts, minds and legislation.
Unfortunately our colonial past is littered with religious bigotry combined with the medical profession’s misguided attempt to understand what was not possible at the time – homosexuals are born that way as are transsexuals – they are not ill, and do not have an illness that needs fixing.
One of the most famous psychologists at the time, Sigmund Freud, back in 1896, later without realising, confirmed this – he considered homosexuality worthy of analysis in an attempt to find a reason for such behaviour. Though much of what he theorised proved wrong, his suggestion that the condition might be part of a repressed childhood remained – by the end of his life his views on homosexuality as an illness had mellowed. As the story goes – when asked by a mother about her child – he replied that homosexuality “cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the human function,” adding that a change to heterosexuality was not possible. http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html
Instead of accepting something they never really understood as just that – many medical men – and they were usually men – some with questionable beliefs – continued to try and fix a condition that was not broken – and this resulted in the idea that these people were somehow mentally deranged – and to a certain degree that theory remained in place right up until recently.
Fortunately, many medical people came to realise that they had no way of understanding the condition without resorting to research and collecting data as a way of finding out the truth – and they did just that. As a result we now live in a more enlightened world that confirms something that homosexuals and transsexuals always knew – we were born that way!
Theresa May in her speech makes a valid point – every human being on this planet should realise and accept a condition over which the individual has no control. They must be accepted fully so that they can live in peace – no more bullying, no more discrimination and hopefully no more suicides or murders of LGBT+ people.
Thankfully the UK Prime minister has started the ball rolling – the people of this relatively new and enlightened millennia have a right to ask those who also created the problem that they (the advisors and medical profession) also own up to what wrongs were done all those years ago and apologise for their actions so they too can be forgiven.
The LGBT+ community does not need to know the individuals who simply made a mistake with their misguided and limited knowledge and who caused so much pain. But, like everyone else, they must understand that truth is necessary for healing.