1986, I was 15. We were shown a video about AIDS and HIV. It focused on the words “AIDS: don’t die of ignorance” being carved onto a tomb stone. It struck fear into the hearts of the British public and as a young gay teen it scared me to death! Two years later the UK government passed Section 28, a law prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality as “normal” within schools. This law gave every bigoted homophobe huge freedoms and made hate crime against the LGBT community much worse.
Right-wing MP Peter Bruinvels said “I do not agree with homosexuality. I think that Clause 28 will help outlaw it and the rest will be done by AIDS, with a substantial number of homosexuals dying of AIDS. I think that’s probably the best way.” A similar law was passed in Russia in 2013. 🏳️🌈
From the age of 18 I had an AIDS test every three months. I would sit waiting for those results with dread. I was one of the lucky ones. We saw many friends die.
Of the 4,363 people diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2017, 53% were gay or bisexual men. Advancements in medicine such as PrEP are truly welcome, but are not a replacement for safe sex. 🏳️🌈
Last year commemorated 50 years since the Stonewall riots in New York that started the LGBT movement. It’s a time for joy and happiness, but it’s also a time to remember and recognise that the fight is not over.
Being gay is still illegal in 73 countries, including most of the Caribbean, the Maldives, Tunisia, Malaysia, UAE and many other popular holiday destinations. It is punishable by stoning to death in Brunei, Iran, Saudi Arabia and many other Countries.
So when people ask why I still prefer to go away somewhere that is gay-friendly I’m quite astonished. Just reverse the discrimination for one moment. The whole world is gay and you are the minority. Would you take your family to a country where you could be killed for just being you?
The T shirt I’m wearing was designed by my favourite LGBT guesthouse @alexanderskeywest long before President Obama or anyone else used the slogan. It summarises my feelings during Pride.
Pride Month around the world is not only a celebration of the LGBT community, but is also still a protest against inequality. In many countries, gay rights have come along way and that must be recognised, but the fight is nowhere near won.
In June this year, The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a watershed victory for LGBT rights in America. In the new ruling, the justices decided that gay and transgender employees are protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex as well as race, colour, national origin and religion.
Most of us, here in the UK probably are quite shocked that until this Monday, an LGBT person in America could have been fired just because of their sexual or gender orientation. Finally they can be out and proud!
In 2018-19 UK police recorded 14,491 crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation. Police recorded a further 2,333 offences against transgender people because of their gender identity. According to Stonewall UK, only one out of five hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is reported to police.
On the 20th June this year, three men were murdered in a park in Reading, U.K. Hardly any of the media has mentioned the fact that they were all gay men. What does that say about our community in the U.K? Is it not an important fact that all three victims were gay? It’s certainly not coincidence.
Pride is a joyful celebration of the amazing vibrant people within the LGBT community and every win must be celebrated with jubilation, but we must never forget that there are many millions of people still suffering, even in the U.K. In the end though, love wins! We can only change the world with love and acceptance of all people. #onehumanfamily . Let’s celebrate that. 🏳️🌈
Beautiful post JP. Let’s hope live wins.
It will in the end Penny, always does. Thank you my love. Xxx
JP this is such an insightful and personal post. I honestly had no idea there were so many countries where it is still illegal. That absolutely blows my mind, it should not be this way. Makes me so sad. I hope one day we can live in a world where people can just be who they are, without prejudice or discrimination. I suppose every step counts but my goodness sometimes it seems painfully slow! Thank you for sharing this, so easy for people to take for granted the freedoms they enjoy without realising the same basic freedoms aren’t the same for everyone. Geri xx
Thank you so much Geri for taking the time to read it. Here’s hoping love will win in the end. X
Oh JP. Thank you so so much for writing this. I can’t quite comprehend how it is that so many Countries still have being homosexual as illegal. I pray it is only a matter of time. Love you enormously and thank you for being my gay best friend 😘😘😘
Ah Sally thank you so much darling. Yes, a lot has changed for the better, but there’s such a long way to go. Xxx
Great blog post JP. I remember all the scary campaigns that were out in the 80s about AIDS/HIV. I didn’t know some of the info you have included though about losing your job in the US etc. Love will win in the end – it has to! xx
I do hope so Sarah. Xxx
Another great post JP xx
Thank you darling xxx
I’m always shocked to hear that people can be killed for loving another. Imagine living in one of those countries? It’s truly shocking. Your post was brilliant JP and I really enjoyed reading it. X
Thank you so much Sophie. It’s important to talk about these things to try and help change the world.
What a fantastic article JP, I too remember the terrifying AIDS adverts shown on tv, how difficult it must have been being a gay man at that time. Sadly my uncles partner died but no one spoke of it and no sympathy cards were sent which today seems so horrendous that my uncle felt unable to share his grief. Reading how so much of the world has not yet moved on is so shocking. Hopefully love will conquer all eventually. Much love xx🌈🌈
Thank you so much Debbie. So sad about your uncle’s partner. I do hope love wins in the end. Xx
Brilliant words JP. Really makes you think xxx
Thank you so so much Tanya xxx
Stunning blog post JP!
I couldn’t agree more about choosing one’s holiday destination carefully before booking and really considering where those governments stand with not just gay rights, but women’s rights, child slavery etc, etc. So much goes on behind the glossy doors of fancy hotel resorts, so people should get wise about which countries to give their money to.
Thank you and well done for using your influence in this way JP.
Thank you Reli and thank you for taking the time. It’s such an important subject and a lot of what I talk about straight people have no idea about, so it’s good to talk. Xx