In 2009, I started producing a naked calendar featuring male university rowers who wanted to raise funds for boat repairs. What began as a simple student fundraiser went on to become a expression of straight allies' support for LGBT rights, and a example of how diversity and inclusion can benefit us all.
Last week was a gruelling news week in which the consequences of poor mental health were splashed across TV screens and newspaper headlines around the world. The week began with the massacre of 49 LGBT Americans in the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando and here in the UK the week ended with the brutal murder of a popular Member of the UK parliament Jo Cox on the street of a small Yorkshire town.
As we come to terms with the tragic loss of life and continue to express our solidarity and support with the victims of the Orlando shooting in the face of mindless homophobia and terrorism, these discriminatory rules are being brought into question and scrutinised under the public spotlight now more than ever before, as we ask ourselves: what is the real reason why a monogamous gay man cannot give blood while a heterosexual man with an indeterminate number of sexual partners would be welcome to donate?
Prince William recently met members of the LGBT+ community after inviting them to Kensington Palace to listen to their experience of bullying and the mental health impacts it can have. Today it was announced that the Duke will make a historic appearance on the cover of Attitude Magazine, the UK's most popular gay magazine.
I don't often wake at my parent's house these days but this past Sunday I did. Staggering downstairs bleary eyed for breakfast my Mother handed me a cup of tea and asked me if I had seen the news from Orlando. Accessing the Twitter news feed, it took me no longer than a few seconds to ascertain that something dreadful was unfolding in Orlando.
If this horrendous tragedy has taught us anything, it's that there are real people who will show up to our front door uninvited, and will gun us down because they're p*ssed off at us having a snog on the dance floor. We need to support each other, because when all's said and done, we truly are all in this together. We each need to stand up and be counted, put our fist in the air and prove we're not going anywhere. We need to channel the bravery, strength and courage of those who came before us, and use it to remain defiant, even when that feels like the scariest and most difficult thing in the world.
Three million pounds can never replace the countless nameless souls we have lost, both in the UK and around the world since formal education began, whose lives were terminally compromised by prejudice, discrimination and hate. It is to these people that I wish to dedicate my recent awards and honours, in addition to everyone who has invited me along to speak or supported my work.
Free speech is certainly the zeitgeist of 2016, with Spiked Online leading a campaign against students' unions. As a staunch supporter of free speech, and the lead representative at LSE Students' Union, we've seen some controversies that have portrayed our approach as hostile, as opposed to welcoming of this as a value.
Following my visits to faith schools, without exception I ask young people whether they feel their faith is a barrier to learning about LGBT+ people and the damage prejudicial attitudes can cause.Without exception they assure me that their faith tells them to love, to respect and to take care of people.
Gay men have sex. It might be an inconvenient truth but it's the truth nonetheless. We may be able to marry, adopt children, 'fit in' in a 'socially acceptable' sense, but select a featured image for an article showing two men kissing or, worse, write about the use of poppers within the context of gay sex and you may find yourself persona non grata.