A couple of weeks ago I met with two members of staff, Rose and Shane, who raised some challenging issues with me regarding BHT’s relative lack of profile regarding LGBT issues. They assured me that they felt that BHT is LGBT aware and that some good work is being done, but BHT appears to be completely silent on LGBT issues.
We discussed various measures that BHT could take to send out positive messages, and over the next few months we will be doing a range of activities culminating in BHT expressing its support at this years Pride celebrations.
They said that BHT should, as an organisation, say that we are affirmative in our attitudes and behaviour. I returned challenge by asking whether we can be absolutely sure that this was the case. It was their experience that we are and, generally, I believe we are. However, we have no way of knowing for certain.
In a locality like Brighton and Hove, being LGBT affirmative is often taken as a given. Therein lies a danger. In apartheid South Africa, where I was brought up, liberal white people, in order to demonstrate that they were anti-racist, would sometimes overcompensate on issues of race. This was sometimes called “leaning over blackwards”. Sometimes it was a show, and sometimes it was the racists who were being more honest.
In Brighton andHove, and within organisations like BHT, we should never be complacent. We do not intend to be so.