Two weekends ago at student LGBT pride, I was part of a panel discussing the various things that young LGBT could be up against in 2016. This ranged from mental wellbeing to drugs, as well as fitting into a new world and gay shame. Having been an advocate of young LGBT rights for the last two years, I was privileged to be on the panel. During the talk I voiced my opinions on the lack of awareness my government gives to homophobic language in schools, and said I don't believe our education secretary, Nicky Morgan, gives a sh*t about young LGBT rights.
What happened with these steps is that, progressively, I began to become stronger and stronger in my defences against such shaming attacks. With this I became far more compassionate for myself and therefore for others. I began to experience deep gratitude for my job and deep love for the whole experience, with people I worked with through to the audiences who would turn up to my shows. This doesn't mean to say may I add that I live in a state of complete peace and harmony...
For years, failing was solely based on how I thought others saw me and how I felt I should be acting in accordance to how others were acting. "I haven't been photographed like this person has", "why don't I get in magazines like that person"... These thoughts were rife. What was missing actually was a concentration on what I actually wanted and thought was important.
In terms of the aesthetic portrayal of women to be something attainable, responsibility lays at the hands of labels and advertising agencies and fashion magazines. What is promoted as healthy and all encompassing and desirable is actually unobtainable. This isn't adhering to the human condition, this is exploiting and manipulating it for monetary gain. The only reality going on here is a lining of the coffers
You may have read pop singer Will Young's Huffington Post blog recently in which he rightly railed against park wardens who refused to help him find his dog Esme due to 'health and safety rules'. Three times the worried singer asked wardens for a lift in their vehicles to help search for his errant pooch and three times he was refused on 'health and safety' grounds.
Gay Pride has changed largely due to the context it now operates in. Gay rights have evolved so much it is just wonderful to be a part of a country that celebrates difference. There are still prejudices to overcome. Young gay people can still not feel comfortable at school. With the word 'dyke' being used 1000 times a day on Twitter, 'faggot' 4,500 times a day. With 26% of young gay people attempting suicide and 52% self harming and the word 'gay' banded around as a pejorative description of something defunct and wrong, Gay Pride's message should be about sustaining what we have and looking to improve the lives of young gay people. To protect them through education and allow our young people to see that difference isn't bad, it is something to be celebrated.
Talking about feelings runs the risk of ridicule and rejection. The idea of finally plucking up the courage to talk to someone about what is emotionally going on lays ourselves open and bare to others opinions and in worst case scenario judgment and rejection. What is more excruciating than chastising oneself for harboring feelings that aren't seen as healthy? To share these feelings and be judged and rejected by a family member or partner of friend. Who would risk that?
If you continually cater towards the worst case scenario all sense of individuality and creativity is lost. In the arts community a defensive attitude is what leads to dull records, drab theatre and films that are so formulaic thought is not necessary. The fear factor spills over into all avenues of life. I want to remain optimistic. I want to be allowed to act with some suitable risk and courage and I want responsibility for my life...