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. 🏳️🌈