Playing The ace card

Nov 20, 2021 by

by Michael Collins, The Critic:

In a bid to restore its reputation, widen its remit and replenish its diminishing funds, Stonewall has begun to focus on less familiar groups within the infinite alphabet of LGBTQIA rights. This follows the withdrawal of financial support for the charity’s Diversity Champions programme promoting inclusivity in the workplace when Channel 4, Ofsted, the Cabinet Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission jettisoned the initiative. Driving Stonewall’s fall from grace has been its belligerent attitude to those with a different take on trans rights.

Like society more broadly, Stonewall, which was established in 1989, has come a long way from the riot at New York’s Stonewall Inn twenty years earlier (an event Barack Obama compared with Selma and Seneca Falls, moments that transformed civil rights and the women’s suffrage movement).

In the intervening years, its goalposts have shifted in the pursuit of an elusive “equality” until it has taken a form the founders wouldn’t recognise. The LGBTQIA lobby is grappling with the problems of entry into the mainstream. Whatever battles have been won, whatever concessions made, the role of outsider and victim must be recast to support a lucrative industry. Paradoxically, as discrimination has diminished in society, the organisations established to address discrimination have increased.

Gilbert Baker’s six-stripe rainbow flag is being superseded by the Progress flag, which adds a chevron to the artist’s 1978 original. This year, more symbols and colours were added to represent other groups. One up-and-coming group is represented by the letter “A” in LGTBQIA. Not the “A” of heterosexual allies, which could mean almost everyone, but “Aces”, the umbrella term for those who identify as asexual.

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