The central theme of the new pamphlet Pride, Politics and Protest—A Revolutionary Guide to LGBT+ Liberation is that people have the power to end oppression.
The pamphlet highlights the real gains that have been made through struggle by LGBT+ people over the last few decades.
But the authors also make it clear that the fight for LGBT+ liberation is not over.
Gay people can now enter into—supposed—marital bliss and transgender people can turn on the television and watch Caitlyn Jenner.
But these gains are not uniform across the world. In 51 countries a conviction for homosexuality can get you a jail term.
And despite some gains being made in Britain, there is still a long way to go.
Hate crime has doubled in the last three years and LGBT+ programmes have been cut by the Tories.
There are groups that claim an improvement for transgender rights would undermine women’s rights.
A High Court decision restricted access to puberty blockers.
This has led to a climate where half of trans people say they feel unable to go outside under threat of physical, sexual and verbal attacks.
Because of the way that LGBT+ people have been treated for centuries and are still treated now there is a common sense idea that oppression is part of human nature.
But evidence shows that for most of human history oppression did not exist and a range of sexual orientation and gender identities were expressed freely.
The move to class society was the point at which sexuality became more controlled. In the Middle Ages rules were put in place to prevent sexual expression that wasn’t for procreation.
But it was the rise of capitalism that specifically targeted homosexuality.
The family unit as we know it emerged to both produce the next generation and socialise it. And this became the mechanism where our sexuality was really controlled.
The strength of Marxism is that it locates oppression within the material basis of a society.
It shows oppression is not a matter simply of individual attitudes but about the system itself.
By understanding the roots of LGBT+ oppression we also can equip ourselves with the tools to overcome it. Socialists understand that only by dismantling the system which creates oppression can we overcome it.
The pamphlet highlights that from the beginnings of the fight for LGBT+ liberation socialists were at the heart of the movement.
Many of those that first took part in Pride marches described themselves as revolutionaries.
Pride events have often been commercialised and co-opted by corporations but there are struggles to take them back to the politics of liberation.
In workplaces black, white, gay, straight, cis and transgender people are brought together. And we must focus on what unites us, not what divides us.
Through struggle bigoted ideas can be thrown off. But winning reforms under capitalism is not enough—we must uproot the existing political system of capitalism.
True liberation from all forms of oppression can only be secured through class struggle and a socialist revolution.
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