Social media gives us the impression that we live in a time of freedom, where diversity is celebrated, where refuge can be found with like-minded souls, where help for mental anguish is available. Yet the lived experience of many in the LGBT population is of ever greater poverty, more complex problems, more oppression, and less support.
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.
Ask yourselves whether you would be comfortable answering such questions. I also urge you to take it further than just ask questions - be curious, care about these issues and see how you can help. Educate yourselves and help educate others. Because we need allies in this fight and you might just be that ally if you care enough.
As expected after big surgeries, there are a lot of bandages. My bandages were more in the form of some weird-ass celibacy plaster cast that I could literally knock on. Eventually they had to come off though, which was as horrifying as you might imagine. When they took them off I also realized that they had been SEWN to me in two places.
This year's Pride in London, took place in the aftermath of our community being shaken by the recent events in Orlando that killed 49 LGBT+ people in a gay club. This seems even harder to comprehend when in the UK we have almost gained full equality in the eyes of the law, and last year the States followed suit with equal marriage. But changes in the law are no reason to become complacent.
Anyone who thinks we're done can take several seats. We still have so much stand up to here in the UK, abroad and within our own community. When the trans community is having to stand up for what most people would consider basic rights, the black community is still the target of extraordinary amounts of racism, women are still mistreated, and internalised homophobia means we're still really obsessed with masculinity and heteronormativity I think it's quite clear we're far from done.
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.