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Too young to vote in the Brexit referendum – now I want a People’s Vote

Too young to vote in the Brexit referendum – now I want a People’s Vote

Elsie Greenwood wants to have her say on Brexit via a People's Vote

It is a truth hard learnt that LGBT+ youth are silenced enough. It’s time for us to have a voice – and the only way is through a People’s Vote.

The Brexit debate has been littered with fear mongering statements, unfulfilled promises and false agendas, and I understand why many of my friends and comrades in the Labour Party voted leave.

It would be wrong to disregard their concerns about the state of the United Kingdom. But we must not forget who is truly to blame. Inequality, the shaming rise of food banks, neglected towns and communities … they’re all the fault of a Government driving through its austerity agenda.

Brexit’s disproportionate impact

It has become apparent, from the start of the Brexit talks – two and a half years ago – that there has been a failure to talk about Brexit’s disproportionate impact on people who already face discrimination and prejudice. Women, people from BAME communities, disabled people and the LGBT+ community.

Young women like myself are far more likely to be low paid, single parents, carers or work in our vital public services. These are exactly the groups of people who have the most to lose from the Government’s botched Brexit Deal.

The vote won on the Finance Bill this week by People’s Vote supporting MPs was incredibly important – because it forces the Government to show the true impact of it’s shoddy deal versus the current benefits we enjoy as a full member of the European Union.

I was 16 years old during the EU referendum of 2016, so I couldn’t vote. As a bisexual woman, Brexit disproportionately impacts me, and yet it’s like I didn’t exist. It’s a familiar feeling for many others who are the most marginalised in society.

And now, as an 18 year old fiercely engaged in politics, I – like most people – am finding the entire Brexit process not only laughable but infuriating as well.

Bad decisions

Bad decisions are being made which are harming people across the UK, all made in the name of the ‘will of the people’. Many, like me, had no opportunity to have their say. With Brexit still yet to be decided, it’s time to tell this government that enough is enough.

The current government has repeatedly claimed the Human Rights Act could be tossed in the coming years, and their the commitment to the European convention of Human Rights isn’t clear. The Security for LGBT+ youth is becoming more precarious and this can’t be ignored.

And to those who tell us that we should not worry as a community, of our hard won rights being chipped away; because no one in Government has any interest in harming the LGBT+ community, I would ask you to open your eyes.

The Brexiteers – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and the rest of their merry men are no friends of the LGBT+ community. There is an inglorious history of these men undermining our rights, mocking our community or openly attacking us.

Look across the Atlantic, to Donald Trump’s regressive administration – powered by the politics of fear, strikingly similar to the Bad Boys of Brexit. They had no interest in harming the LGBT+ community, but have spent the last two years doing so.

‘Shared aspirations around universal human rights’

In the European Union, we are part of a community of nations with shared aspirations around universal human rights. Why would we want to give that up? Why would we allow that security to slip away without a fight?

MPs need to unite behind a clear plan, fighting for liberation, fighting to protect women, members of the LGBT+ community, the disabled, and BAME citizens across the country.

It is a simple truth that the only way these communities can truly be heard is through a People’s vote. Giving marginalised – and frequently silenced – voices a platform to be heard, hasn’t been a priority, and needs to be now. This is why I ask MPs, party leaders to support women, support LGBT+ people, support people like me who didn’t vote to lose their rights and support a People’s vote.

Elsie Greenwood a supporter of For our Future’s Sake and the LGBT Officer for Edinburgh Labour Students. You can follow her on Twitter at @elsieortong 


Gay Star News has been working closely with the People’s Vote campaign. They tell us our chances of securing a new vote, including the option to Remain in the EU, are now high.

But they need you to write to your MP to help ensure it happens. Parliamentary experts say that just a handful of letters can sway an MP on this issue.

To make it easy, the People’s Vote has created this tool. It automatically creates a letter for you, based on your MP’s stance as a Leaver, Remainer, or neither.

You can send your letter as it is. Or choose to personalize it further. If you do want to add to it, you may want to point out how Brexit will hurt you as an LGBTI person.

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