Why LGBT+ ethnic minorities need to attend the People’s Vote March Lauren Pemberton-Nelson

Brexit is one of the biggest political issues being discussed in the UK right now, with the Government trying to force us out of the EU at the end of the month. Brexit isn’t just about what happens to big companies or frequent travellers, it will impact everyone’s life from job opportunities to healthcare. For those who are ethnic minorities and part of the LGBT+ community, the risks are heightened: after all no one thinks our issues are at the top of any list of Boris Johnson’s concerns. But we can make a difference, by marching together for the final say. 

The People’s Vote March takes place on the 19th October in London and people from all over the country will march together to demand another vote on Brexit. The last march had one million people attending, making it one of the biggest protests in British history. As an ethnic minority and a member of the LGBT+ community, the risks that Brexit poses to me and my communities are massive. In 2016, I didn’t vote for an increase in hate crime, an increase in the chances of economic downfall and a risk of reduced rights. And for those that agree, the best way to change the trajectory of Brexit is to take a public stance. 

Our communities know that our rights only exist because we demanded them in the face of bigots and racists, and we get nothing by relying on favours from the powerful and privileged. That’s why we will be on the street on 19 October and why I am asking you to join us.

Join the Ethnic Minorities for a People’s Vote and LGBT+ for a People’s Vote pre-march rallies and then join the march from Park Lane to Parliament, so that we can make our voices loud and heard. So that we can make it clear that the impact of Brexit on us cannot, and will not, be ignored. 

Some aspects of the Brexit debate has focused on the effect on ethnic minorities, and some has focused on the LGBT+ community but not enough, considering that these are some of the demographics that are most at risk when it comes to Brexit. 

We need to make our voice heard and Ethnic Minorities for a People’s Vote and LGBT+ for a People’s Vote have been campaigning for over a year on the risks that Brexit holds for these respective communities, often jointly working together. Brexit is particularly set to have a damaging impact on the economic and health welfare of ethnic minority women, whilst posing a threat to the rights of the LGBT+ community. This is even more worrying when you consider the treatment towards ethnic minorities and the LGBT+ community by those tasked with implementing Brexit. The risks are high, and this period is crucial for us to make a difference. 

Previous People’s Vote marches have been incredibly inspiring with a diverse range of speakers such as Sadiq Khan and David Lammy as speakers on the main stage and Heather Peto and Linda Riley at the LGBT+ for a People’s Vote pre-march rally. Those that have attended previous marches know that the atmosphere has been amazing, positive and a very enjoyable. And this march is set to also be a wonderful day. Once again, there will be a LGBT+ for a People’s Vote rally. And at this march, for the first time, there will also be an Ethnic Minorities for a People’s Vote pre-march rally. And to tie in with the importance of intersectionality and those who identify with more than one of those groups, these rallies are closely located so that people can attend both. 

It’s very clear by now that Brexit is an absolute mess – especially for marginalised communities. Most of the LGBT+ community want a People’s Vote, and the majority of ethnic minorities feel that Brexit is causing division and prejudice. And it’s more important  now than ever that those who aren’t happy with the Brexit process, and want a public say on exiting the EU show their frustrations with their feet. It’s important that those who have continuously been underrepresented and ignored during the Brexit debate join the march in full force to demand a final say on Brexit. Saturday 19th October is the day for us to march together for the final say.

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