YOU help nowComing out support | MEN R US
Hate crime and reporting hate crime | MEN R US
Housing and homelessness | MEN R U S
Gay’s the Word bookshop | MEN R U S
LGBT Forums (London) | MEN R U S
LGBT+ News Sources | MEN R U S Back to top
Do it your way
Welcome to our world and the journey. As you can see, we take ourselves seriously but not too seriously. And introductions are usually very dull, so you’re not going to get one, at least not in the traditional sense.
YOU is meant to be supportive, straight talking and fun and should help you get the best out of being gay, particularly if you’re starting out… or sneaking a peak. Getting the best out of YOU should be the same as getting the best out of life: do it your way!
And please let us know if you have any suggestions as to how we can make YOU better. And the search function is jolly helpful!Back to top
Sex, gender and sexuality
What does gay mean?
The word gay is most commonly used to describe people who are physically and romantically attracted to other people of the same gender (male or female). Simply put: men who have sex with other men, and fall in love with men; and women who have sex with other women, and fall in love with women.
While the word gay is used for both men and women, gay is usually used to describe men while women are referred to as lesbians.
Sexuality, sex, and gender
Before we get to sexuality (the gay bit, for the majority of you reading this) there are some basics we should cover first: namely sexuality, sex and gender. They are often lumped together when they are, in fact, different but connected components of who we are.Back to top
- X and Y chromosomes
- whether you have external or internal sex organs (penis or vagina)
- types and levels of hormones
- hair growth
- breast development
Some people are born intersex and have characteristics that don’t fit typical definitions of male and female, although this is rare.Back to top
Your gender is how you feel about yourself:
- Your internal and personal sense of being a boy or man, or a girl or woman
- The way you communicate, behave and identify with others
- The acceptance or non-acceptance of your ‘membership’ to society and attitudes and behaviours it expects of you
It’s not about whether you were born with a penis or a vagina.
Gender or gender identity is generally accepted to be a social invention and hundreds if not thousands of years old, depending on whether you want to look at more recent times or go back to the year dot. This means it does not exist naturally but rather is a series of ideas, rules, conventions, expectations which have evolved to enable society to work, and work better (if usually for the majority).
However, this may not reflect how you truly feel, behave, or define yourself so society’s categories or pigeon holes for what is masculine and feminine have always been acceptable for some while less so for others. If you haven’t already guessed, gay men are the ‘less so for others.’
Illustrating Gender | Gerard Coll-Planas and Maria Vidal.
Non-binary genders and gender variants
Terms primarily used by the LGBT+ communities, male and female genders are also referred to as gender binary, binary meaning composed of or involving two things (male and female). Non-binary genders refer to any gender that does not fit within the binary of male and female, genderqueer, being an example.
The term is also used by individuals wishing to identify as falling outside of the gender binary without being any more specific about the nature of their gender. For example, a person might say “I’m not sure if there is a term for my gender but I know it’s non-binary” or “I consider myself as gender variant.”What it means to identify as non-binary | HuffPost | 8 Dec 2018
Non-binary people aren’t a new phenomenon: we’ve been here as long as humans have existed | HuffPost | 5 Dec 2018
Genderqueer | Wikipedia Things not to say to non-binary people | BBC 3 | 7m Back to top
Your sexuality or sexual orientation is who you are attracted to romantically and/ or sexually
We should also include romantic orientation because we may have strong romantic relationships which do not necessarily involve sex, and where sex in itself is not necessarily the final goal or endpoint.
- Gay and lesbian (or homosexual) if you are attracted to people of the same sex or gender
- Bisexual or bi if you are attracted to both men and women
- Pansexual is the sexual, romantic or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity
- Straight (or heterosexual) if you are attracted to people of the opposite sex or gender
- Asexual if you are not sexually attracted to either men or women
Getting bi in a gay/ straight world | Bi Community News
I’m Bisexual, But I’m Not… | Buzz Feed | 11 Oct 2015 | 2m 5s
Bisexuality | Stonewall
Bisexuality | bisexuality.org (US website)
Bisexuality | Wikipedia 22 things you should read for bisexual awareness week | Pride | 24 Sep 2018
Is bisexuality real? (Yes, obviously) | Pink News | 28 May 2017
6 Truths of Bisexuality | Huff Post | 23 Oct 2016
13 things never to say to bisexual people | Advocate | 23 Sep 2016
Bisexuality: All you need to know about bivisibility | BBC Newsbeat | 23 Sep 2015
Bi visibility day: 23 September | bivisibility.com Bi the way, we exist | Viet Vu | TEDxTerryTalks | 24 Feb 2015 | 15m 44s Back to top
More about gender and sexualityIllustrating Gender | Gerard Coll-Planas and Maria Vidal Gender and sexuality | Kaleido Quail | Sep 29 2017 | 4m 46s Finding Identity: An LGBTQ Pastor’s Journey | David Norse | TEDx Talks | 9 Feb 2016 | 20m 6s Educating kids about gender norms | Elvin Pedersen-Nielsen | TEDx Talks | 19 Jan 2015 | 18m 2s
Gender is not a straight line | Charlie Hobman | TEDx Talks | 24 Jun 2015 | 10m 32s Emma Watson: HeForShe Campaign 2014 | United Nations | 22 Sep 2014 | 13m 15s
Gender and Sexuality (Animation) | Kaleido Quail | Jul 2014 | 4m 46s Ending Gender | Scott Turner Schofield | TED Talk | Nov 2013 | 16m 24s
Gender fluidity | Gabrielle Burton | TEDx Talks | 26 Oct 2013 | 17m 37s
Understanding the Complexities of Gender | Sam Killermann at TEDx | 5 May 2013 | 16m 29s Beyond the Gender Binary | Yee Won Chong | TEDx Talks | 13 Dec 2012 | 10m 43s
Human Sexuality is Complicated | vlogbrothers | 12 Oct 2012 | 3m 48s
Back to top
What can science teach us about gender identity and dysphoria? | AsapSCIENCE ft. Gigi Gorgeous | 20 Sep 2018 | 4m 20s
Organisations for trans people and/ or people affected by gender identity issuesBeaumont Society
As a UK registered charity, our primary focus is the transgender individual.
Holistic sexual health and well-being service for all trans people, partners and friends. We are a trans-led team, who offer a safe, confidential space for those who may not feel comfortable accessing mainstream services.
Support for transmen and transmasculine people. FTM London is a peer support group for female to male trans people, including transmasculine non-binary.
To increase understanding of gender diversity through creative ways.
For all those affected by gender identity issues. Information and guidance. No contact details that we could find.
To improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people, including those who are non-binary and non-gender.
It’s Pronounced Metrosexual
Online resource about snap judgments, identity, and oppression.
TransLondon is a discussion/support group for all members of the trans community, whatever their gender identity (or identities) and whatever stage in their transition they have reached (if at all). However, all members must be trans-identified or questioning.
Directory of the groups campaigning for, supporting or assisting trans and gender non-conforming individuals, including those who are non-binary and non-gender, as well as their families across the UK. Back to top
Same sex friendships and crushes
Throughout our lives, it’s not unusual for us to feel drawn to people of our own sex. Particularly when we are growing up, we experience very close friendships or crushes which are often not sexual. We also admire athletes and sports personalities, film and pop stars.
Finding someone attractive or handsome or stunning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gay, and certainly doesn’t mean you’re odd or weird. For some of us it is an indicator that we are gay or bisexual and, in time, we go on to have relationships with people of the same sex. For others, feelings change and they find that they are attracted to the opposite sex, or even both sexes.Back to top
What makes us gay?
What makes us gay?
- genetic factors and brain structure
- child rearing and overbearing parents
- the society and culture we grow up in
Take your pick. Browse the Internet and you’ll find 10 more, some bonkers. Even today, theories are fiercely debated, new ones appear, while others fall away. The nature vs. nurture argument often takes centre stage though genetic factors would seem to be the front-runner.
More importantly, perhaps, does it matter? Or as Albin belts out at the end of Act I of La Cage aux Folles “I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses.”
In December 2017, the New Scientist reported reported that “…for the first time, individual genes have been identified that may influence how sexual orientation develops in boys and men, both in the womb and during life. Alan Sanders at North Shore University, Illinois, and his team pinpointed these genes by comparing DNA from 1077 gay and 1231 straight men. They scanned the men’s entire genomes, looking for single-letter differences in their DNA sequences. This enabled them to home in on two genes whose variants seem to be linked to sexual orientation.”
Scientists quash idea of single ‘gay gene’
In 2019, A vast new study has quashed the idea that a single “gay gene” exists, scientists say, instead finding homosexual behaviour is influenced by a multitude of genetic variants which each have a tiny effect. The researchers compare the situation to factors determining a person’s height, in which multiple genetic and environmental factors play roles. “[This study] highlights both the importance of the genetics as well as the complexity of the genetics, but genetics is not [the] whole story,” said Dr Benjamin Neale, co-author of the study from the Broad Institute in the US.Scientists quash idea of single ‘gay gene’ | The Guardian | 29 Aug 2019
Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior | Science, Vol. 365, Issue 6456 | 30 Aug 2019
No one chooses their sexuality
One thing we do know is that no one chooses their sexuality. It is innate and natural to us. Some gay people knew they were different, if not gay, from as young as 5 or 6 while, for most of us, our sexuality is determined by our early teens. Some men have girlfriends, get married and have families before they realise who they are – coming out later on in their life, in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s.
‘Gay gene’ theories belong in the past – now we know sexuality is far more fluid | The Guardian | 30 Aug 2019
Does Everybody Have A Gay Gene? | AsapSCIENCE | 27 Jul 2017
What do the new ‘gay genes’ tell us about sexual orientation? | New Scientist | 7 Dec 2017
Why finding the gay gene is a big problem | Huff Post | 2 May 2017
Male homosexuality influenced by genes, US study finds The Independent | 2 Mar 2015
How our genes could make us gay or straight Washington Post | 4 Jun 2014
The evolutionary puzzle of homosexuality | BBC 18 Feb 2014
Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene, research finds The Telegraph | 2 Feb 2014 Xq28 Wikipedia
Sexual orientation | Wikipedia
Biology and sexual orientation Wikipedia Homosexuality: it’s about survival – not sex | TEDx | 15 Nov 2016 Back to top
Coming out to yourself
I know I am different
From the day boys are born, it is assumed/ we are told/ we learn (take your pick) that we are heterosexual, will have children with a girlfriend or wife, and will follow gender orientated work and career paths.
For the first 10 years or so of our lives before we start thinking things out for ourselves, most of us are actively encouraged to be heterosexual or straight whether it’s the clothes we are given to wear, the toys we are given to play with, the TV we are allowed to watch, or the male role model our father represents.
Even though much has changed in recent decades, this is underpinned by the ideal of traditional family life, still the backbone of many societies, reinforced by heterosexual stereotyping on TV and in the media.
But, and its a big but, assuming and reinforcing a person’s sexual orientation which has at least 1 in 10 chance of being something else is confusing and stressful, especially as we hit puberty when hormones rage and emotions surge.
Two stories for you …
There are many coming out videos online today but these thoughful stories from Tom and Kima are both powerful and moving.It gets better: Tom from Liverpool | tomtom1854 | 4 May 2011 | 12m 53s
It can be really tough when you have this feeling that you are different in some way, without the words to put your finger on it and a fear that if you try to talk about it you will we laughed at, not taken seriously or rejected by family and friends.
The bottom line is: this is the stuff of many many many coming out stories.
While the Internet provides a space where people can share their experiences, the path you take should be yours, and always be up to you. There is a massive difference between watching a few YouTube videos and thinking that being gay or coming out is easy peasy.
Yes, there have been noticeable improvements in the way British society views homosexuality but, while we can point at same sex partnerships and gay marriage (and a hurrah for gay bishops, politicians, and sportsmen) there is a long way to go before it will accept us in the same way as it does people who are, say, left-handed.
This has more to do with society’s hang-ups around sex and sexuality than with individual gay people. More often than not, once people know someone who is gay, their prejudices and fears about homosexuality disappear altogether.
It gets better: Tom from Liverpool | UK | tomtom1854 | 4 May 2011 | 12m 53s
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Coming out story | Kima Ali | US | 2 Feb 2017 | 15m 36s
Doubt and uncertainty
You don’t choose your sexuality, it chooses you. The journey to understanding and accepting this can be as quick as it can be slow. We may have been attracted to guys for many years before making a more meaningful connection or have only recently begun to question our sexuality as a result of a crush on a friend or a glance on the street that we can’t get out of our mind.
Doubt, uncertainty and questioning is not only usual and common, it’s also healthy. This doesn’t mean that everyone who questions their sexuality in this way is actually gay; some men explore same-sex relationships (or the idea of them) and then decide that they are in fact straight. Some people realise that they prefer people of the opposite sex, while others feel that they prefer people of the same sex. Some people realise that they’re gay later in life, and some know it from an early age.Back to top
Growing up gay
For many young gay or bisexual people adolescence can be a particular time of anxiety and fear and later may look back on this part of their lives with sadness and regret. Gay teenagers can become painfully aware that they are not like other people and many become withdrawn and lonely, convinced that only they are feeling this way. They learn to hide their true feelings or act as others want them to, for fear of being ostracised, ridiculed or rejected by loved ones and friends. Above all, there can be a sense that we are somehow different, that we are abnormal and that we are going to disappoint people.
Some people believe that if they get married to the opposite sex their gay feelings will disappear. It is unusual for this to happen. Most store up a great deal of stress and anxiety for their later years. Breaking out of a clearly defined role, or even attempting to shift the definition of it, involves tremendous courage and strength. The conflict between the relationship with a spouse and family and the need to be true to oneself can be enormous.
Check out our links (right) for support groups in London and helplines.Back to top
How many gay people are there in the UK?
A ‘one in ten’ per cent rule (10%) has long-held in popular culture as a ‘reliable guesstimate’ of homosexuality rates. With a UK population of just over 66 million, this means there would be around 6,6 million who are gay, lesbian or bisexual.
However, depending on who’s crunching the data, percentages (%) vary:
- The Office for National Statistics claims that just 1.5% of people in Britain are gay, lesbian or bisexual
- When analysing the financial implications of the Civil Partnerships Ac, the Treasury estimated 6%
- Stonewall say 5-7% is a reasonable estimate
- Public Health England concludes an LGB adult population in England of 2.5%, rising to 3.6% (Greater Manchester), 5.1% (Greater London), and 9% (Brighton and Hove)
- Healthcare company euroClinix, found that 13% percent of respondents identified as LGB
Data for transgender and intersex people is absent from most survey and data gathering exercises though the Public Health England report said the report “specifically focused on the LGB population and further work is needed to include transgender and intersex people.”Demographics of sexual orientation | Wikipedia Sexual orientation, UK: 2017 | Office of National Statistics | 21 Jan 2019
EuroClinix survey: how many gay and bisexual people are in the UK? | Pink News | 16 Nov 2018
Size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population of England | Public Health England | Jan 2017
Gay Britain: what do the statistics say? The Guardian | 3 Oct 2013
Gay in Britain: People’s experiences and expectations of discrimination Stonewall | 2013
Living Together: British attitudes to lesbian, gay and bisexual people | Stonewall | 2012
Serves you right: Lesbian and gay people’s expectations of discrimination | Stonewall | 2008
Love Thy Neighbour: What people of faith really think of homosexuality | Stonewall | 2008 Back to top
Why do I want to come out?
- “Because I’m proud of who I am”, or
- “It is impossible to be fully happy if my sexuality remains hidden” or
- “I want to meet other gay people like me”
… then these are good reasons. If you’re doing it principally to shock or hurt people, think again. The person who gets hurt could be you.
Benefits of coming out
- A relief to unload the secret you have been keeping
- You no longer have to live a lie and can live as you want to live
- Feel better about yourself and improve your confidence and self esteem
- Develop closer, more genuine relationships with friends and family
- It can be easier to make gay friends, date and have relationships
- You won’t be afraid of people finding out any more
- All of the above will not happen at once
Considerations when coming out
- Not everyone will be understanding or accepting
- There may be negative reactions and/ or rejection
- People may treat you differently
- People may not listen, understand or take what you are saying seriously
- People may try talk you out of it
- Your personal safety may be at risk
Coming out to yourself
Acknowledging that you are gay can take days, weeks, months, years or, in some cases, never. Some of us probably hoped these feelings were ‘just a phase’. In time, we realise that these feelings are not going to go away and we have to find a way of accepting them and dealing with the fact that we are sexually attracted to members of our own sex. This realisation is the first stage of coming out.
There is no hard and fast rule when this point is reached. It’s your life so take your time – do things for yourself and only when you are ready. There are several stages in the process of coming out. The fact that you are here reading these words is a starting point in itself so we encourage you to read, browse and click away.
For some, it happens in their teens, for others it may happen much later in life. Some people describe this time of accepting their sexuality as being like riding an emotional roller-coaster. One day they felt happy and confident and ready to tell everyone; the next they felt confused, scared and relieved that they hadn’t. You may want to talk to someone who understands what this is like. It’s a nerve-racking time – the fear of rejection is likely to be immense.Back to top
Coming out stories
“We are a group who are, or know of someone that is part of the LGBT community. We know how difficult, inspiring, relieving, uplifting, and isolating the process can be. We created this space so people can share stories, in hope to make the process easier. We hope that the stories we collect will help these individuals come to terms with their identity and understand that they are not alone.”
Story LGBT | Story LGBT
When I Came Out
“Every day across the world, people are coming out — to themselves, to friends, to family, to strangers, as gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning. And every story is unique. Some are funny. Some are disappointing. Some are inspiring. Some are heartbreaking.”
When I Came Out | When I Came Out
Coming Out Stories
“Coming Out is a non-profit, open-source library of stories. We strive to be a leading resource for coming out education by building a massive, diverse library that is easy to navigate so anyone can find relatable stories.
Coming Out Stories | Coming Out Stories (USA)
I’m From Driftwood
I’m From Driftwood aims to help LGBTQ people learn more about their community, straight people learn more about their neighbours and everyone learn more about themselves through the power of storytelling and story sharing.
I’m From Driftwood | I’m From Driftwood
Coming Out Stories
A wide selection of coming out stories from the Huffington Post.
Coming Out Stories | Huffington Post
Understanding | Terry Rayment | Kodak | 19 Dec 2016 | 3m 0s
Understanding | Terry Rayment | Kodak | 19 Dec 2016 | 3m 0s
“Amid the DIY digital age, it’s often difficult to remember the beauty of a 35mm film. Kodak teamed up with director Terry Rayment and cinematographer Kate Arizmendi to tell a beautiful story with a forgotten medium. The short film, “Understanding”, was shot with a KODAK VISION3 500T 5219.” Out | Glenn Garner | 23/12/16. “The film chronicles the relationship between a teenaged boy and his father as he struggles to accept his son’s homosexuality, speaks to the brand’s willingness to share socially relevant stories that have the power to spark change. Captured as a powerful and poignant slice of life, “Understanding” communicates the values of acceptance and equality.” Shoot Publicity Wire | 27/12/16Back to top
Coming out stories online
There have been a ton of coming out stories since then. Don’t be put off that some are a few years old as the issues are surprisingly similar across decades and generations.
However, we would like to make the point that you are not obliged to make a video. It’s not a required coming out rite of passage … and just because ‘everybody’ else seems to be doing it doesn’t mean you have to.
Coming out should be about you, on your terms, and your journey. So please think carefully before jumping out of the closet onto YouTube!Tom, UK | 4 May 2011 | 12m 53s (Minor Sound Sync Issue)
Connor Franta, US | 8 Dec 2014 | 6m 27s
Troye Sivan, US | 7 Aug 2013 | 8m 17s
Mark Ludford, UK | 26 Aug 2014 | 6m 36s
Nathan Henderson, US | 3 Aug 2014 | 15m 21s
Ian McKellen, UK | Anderson Live | 14 Dec 2012 | 2m 13s
Mandeep Jangi, US | I’m From Driftwood | 13 Aug 2014 | 4m 54s
Jonny Benjamin, UK | 29 Sep 2014 | 2m 48s
Tom Wicker, UK | I’m From Driftwood | 30 Jul 2014 | 5m 29s
And for a something a little less usual there’s:My Coming Out Story | Ivan Cruz | 23 Jan 2014 | 6m 31s Back to top
LGBT books and literatureThis Book Is Gay UK | James Dawson | Hot Key Books (2014)
On Growing Up: A Guide CAN | Ryan Kerr (2010)
The Complete Guide to Gay Life for New Explorers US | Michael Ryan | Author House (2014)
It’s OK to be Gay: Celebrity Coming Out Stories UK | Edited by Alison Stokes | Accent Press (2013) Back to top
Out and proud peopleIt’s OK to be Gay: Celebrity Coming Out Stories | Edited by Alison Stokes | Accent Press | 2013
List of notable gay, lesbian or bisexual people Wikipedia
List of notable gay sports men and women Wikipedia Celebrities who came out as LGBTQ in 2018 | Gay Times | 21 Dec 2018
30 celebrities who came out in 2017 | Gay Star News | 15 Dec 2017
Celebrities who came out in 2016 | GLAAD | 18 Dec 2016
Rainbow List 2015 Stonewall Back to top
Coming out films
There are a ton of sensitively well-told coming out stories, and these are the films that have caught our eye. Sometimes you have to look past the ridiculously good looks but, hey, that’s film making. Don’t be put off that some of them are a few years old (!) as the issues are surprisingly similar across decades and generations. And if you don’t like subtitles: please get over it. It’s so worth it!
- The Way He Looks (Trailer) POR | 2014 | Peccadillo Pictures 
- Just a Question of Love (Trailer) FRA | 2000 | Millivres Multimedia 
- Free Fall (Trailer) GER | 2013 | Peccadillo Pictures 
- Make the Yuletide Gay (Trailer) USA | 2009 | TLA Releasing 
- Balls (Trailer) GER | 2005 | Peccadillo Pictures 
- Latter Days (Trailer) USA | 2005 | TLA Releasing 
- Shelter (Trailer) USA | 2007 | here! Films 
- Dorian Blues (Trailer) USA | 2004 | TLA Releasing 
- Defying Gravity (Trailer) USA | 2010 | Millivres Multimedia 
- My Beautiful Laundrette (Trailer) GBR | 1985 | Working Titles 
- Beautiful Thing (Trailer) GBR | 1996 | Channel 4 Films 
- The Mulligans (Trailer) USA | 2008 | TLA Releasing 
In The Dark | Ryan Beene | 2017
A gay college student, Austin, is hiding his sexuality from everyone in his life, until he meets Eric. Austin is instantly attracted to Eric’s comfort in who he is. When they start a relationship, Austin may have to choose between keeping Eric in his life or keeping his secret. Written by Ryan Beene, and directed by Luke Nelson and Sarah Flores, this gentle and intelligent is film is cut many other films of this genre which why we’ve embedded it. Great performances and a satisfying ending. The sound is a little uneven in places but bear with it. There is also project to produce a feature length film based on the film, more details here.In The Dark | Ryan Beene | 29 Jun 2017 | 6m 3s
Out In The Line Up: Surf Film | 2014
You don’t have to be into surfing to appreciate this inspiring and thoughtful documentary, which is why we’re giving it its own paragraph. “Two gay surfers unite to uncover the taboo of homosexuality in surfing. Together they embark on a global journey to speak with people from all corners of the surfing community about an aspect of surf culture that has until now remained hidden. As their journey unfolds, they uncover a culture of fear, secrecy and exclusion but are inspired to affect change by connecting people, provoking discussion and looking to the sport’s grass roots values of freedom of spirit and love for the ocean.”Out In The Line Up: Surf Film | Trailer | XTreme Video 8 Nov 2014 | 2m04s
You can stream the film from GaySurfers.net Caught on camera: the homophobic world of surfing | The Guardian | 10 Oct 2014
Changing the Tide for Gay Surfers | Advocate.com | 2 Jun 2014 Back to top
Coming out to others
Coming out of the closet
When we disclose or tell others that we are gay, the phrase associated with this process is ‘coming out of the closet’ or ‘coming out’ as a figure of speech. Who you tell is really up to you. You may decide to tell your best friend or a member of your family. Remember, once you have told someone about your sexuality it can become known to others within a short period. This is human nature and there is very little you can do to prevent it. Be prepared to deal with any negativity that this disclosure may bring.
Where did the phrase come from?
The word ‘closet’ was first used to mean secret as early as the 1600s, but not in relation to a person’s sexuality. ‘Closeted’ also came into use around the same time and meant to keep something hidden or secret from others. ‘Closet case’, ‘closet queen’, or ‘closet homosexual’ began to be used during the middle of the 20th century to mean that someone was hiding their homosexuality from others.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first printed use of the term ‘coming out of the closet’ to describe declaring one’s sexuality, was written by Sylvia Plath in the January 16, 1963 issue of London Magazine. It is also believed to be the first time that these two terms were combined into one phrase, and a new meaning was born.
By the 1970s ‘coming out the of closet’ had come into common usage and ‘come out’ or ‘coming out’ was often used as a shortened version of this longer phrase, although ‘coming out’ can also be a reference to the social custom of a débutante coming out as mentioned above.
‘Come out’, ‘coming out’, and ‘coming out of the closet’ are terms that are now mostly used in reference to a person telling family members, friends, co-workers, or others that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Our language and the meanings of words are constantly changing and evolving, just as our society changes and evolves.
Sources: Dictionary of American Slang, 3rd ed., HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1997. The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., vol. III, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989. The Queen’s Vernacular: A Gay Lexicon, by Bruce Rodgers, Straight Arrow Books, San Francisco, 1972. Word’s Out: Gay Men’s English, by William L. Leap, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1996.The Beach | Three Flying PIglets for MEN R US | 2017 | 31s Back to top
Who should I tell first?
Many gay people describe how important it is to tell someone outside the family first. However, while there have been some moving coming out ‘live’ moments on YouTube we don’t recommend this is where you come out first. Make sure it’s someone you trust and whom you believe to be open minded and supportive.
Think carefully if you decide to confide in a teacher at school – they may be obliged to tell someone else what you have told them. Find out the school policy on confidentiality before you go ahead.
If you have decided to tell your family it may be easier to talk to one parent before the other. You could then ask them for help in approaching the other.
Sometimes brothers and sisters are a good starting point as they are likely to understand more about homosexuality or bisexuality. Make sure you understand why you are going to tell them. One of the best reasons to come out to your family is to become closer to them.
There are a number of typical responses that parents, particularly, are known to say:
- “How can you be sure?”
- “I went through a phase like this at your age.”
- “You’ll grow out of it.”
- “You haven’t tried hard enough with the opposite sex.”
- “How can you know at your age?”
Perversely, at the one time you need support and acceptance you may find yourself defending who you are. It may come as a shock if whomever it is you tell may say the strangest and most hurtful things. Be prepared for this and perhaps practice answering the above responses.
It’s definitely worth thinking about how you respond to these questions before you tell anyone. You might find it helpful to discuss these questions first with a trusted friend or a lesbian and gay helpline or switchboard.Back to top
Where, when and how
- Choose somewhere neutral and safe
- Make sure you have time to sit down quietly together with plenty of time to talk
- Try not to over-script or sound too formal or give too much information at once
- Try to be calm and be non-confrontational
- Remember that this might be the first time they have thought of you this way
- Their first reaction might not be how they actually feel
- Remember that it probably took time for you to come to terms with it
- If the person you want to tell is stressed or tired it may be a good idea to delay
- Remember to also listen to what others have to say
- Give people a chance to think, and process and have time to get used to it
Things people say
When you come out to someone or say you are questioning your sexuality, people can come out with some rubbish. It usually comes from a place of love (yawn) but responses can range from the thoughtful and supportive to thoughtless and downright insulting. In no particular order, here are our top 20:
- “You’re just going through a phase.”
- “Are you the man or woman?”
- “You can’t be gay – I’ve seen your dick.”
- “What will the neighbours say?”
- “So what about grandchildren?!”
- “You’re just confused.”
- “You need counselling.”
- “Go to church and God will love you.”
- “When did you choose to be gay?”
- “Have you got AIDS yet?”
- “I don’t see any make-up?”
- “You can’t be gay; you’ve had girls.”
- “Do you really want to be gay?”
- “Have you had bum sex?”
- “Which do you like better, men or women?”
- “We can go shopping.”
- “I love gay people, really.”
- “Don’t tell anyone!”
- “Some of my best friends are gay!”
- “Did you touch that biscuit?”
Things straight people say to gay people | Alan Tsibulya | 1 Mar 2017 | 2m 6s
Gus Kenworthy shares the 8 things you should never say to your gay friends | Teen Vogue | 23 Nov 2015 | 2m 59s
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Bad coming out experience?
Get help and support now!
You may feel hurt, vulnerable and lonely but there are some truly great organisations who are there for you.
- Switchboard GBT+ Helpline 0345 3 30 30 30 (10am-11pm),
- LGBT Foundation 0300 330 0630 (10am-10pm daily)
- Albert Kennedy Trust 020 7831 6562 (up to the age of 25)
- Samaritans 0845 7 90 90 90 (24/7)
- If you feel unsafe, can you stay with a friend or other family member (even if you don’t tell them why)?
- If you are in imminent danger or in fear of your life call 999. No ifs or buts.
This is not an easy watch but straight guy Chris Thompson was reduced to tears after watching a shocking video made by 19 year old Daniel Pearce from Georgia, US who was abused by his family after he came out. Chris’s response is enlightening as it is moving.Chris Thompson US | Daily vlog Channel | 28 Aug 2014 | 6m 28s.
A month later Trent and Luke posted this video which gives the response of some of their LGBT friends who had not seen Daniel’s video. And there is a happy-ish ending.Trent and Luke | 12 Sep 2014 | 10m 04s Back to top
Support for your family
This can be a difficult and traumatic time for some members of your family. You may feel unable to answer all their questions or to deal with all of the issues that come up for them. They, in turn, may not feel comfortable talking about homosexuality or bisexuality with you.
This can be a difficult time if your happiness is dependent to some degree on your family’s reaction. If this is the case for you, we would advise that you talk it over with someone who has been through it already.Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLG)
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline
If it’s not gay, it’s not gay
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If it’s not gay, it’s not gay | Rainbow Youth (New Zealand) | 1 Oct 2017 | 30s
Coming out bite-sized wisdoms
- Coming out is rarely all good or all bad
- Don’t let anyone pressure you into coming out
- Don’t lose sight of your own self-worth
- Be prepared for any reaction
- Be prepared that once you start to tell people others might find out quickly
- Give others time to process – after all, you may have given yourself time (perhaps years) to get used to the idea
- Be clear about your own feelings about being gay
- If you are still having doubts, or if you’re feeling depressed or guilty, it may be best to get some support first, perhaps from a counsellor or telephone support line
- Don’t come out during an argument or use your sexuality to hurt or shock
- Get support before coming out from a local support group or trusted friend or relative
- Don’t come out when you’re drunk (or have taken other drugs)
- Tell them that you’re still the same person as you were yesterday
- Have with you sources of support; eg: leaflet or helpline number
- If you decide to tell school friends make sure that you can trust them and that they’ll be supportive
- If you decide to tell a teacher or counsellor at school or college check out their confidentiality policy first
Extract from “Call Me By Your Name” Elio’s father speaks to him.
“You had a beautiful friendship. Maybe more than a friendship. And I envy you. In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, or pray that their sons land on their feet soon enough. But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste! How you live your life is your business. But remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. Most of us can’t help but live as though we’ve got two lives to live, one is the mockup, the other the finished version, and then there are all those versions in between. But there’s only one, and before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much .less wants to come near it. Right now there’s sorrow. I don’t envy the pain. But I envy you the pain.”Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman | Atlantic Books
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I was actually being honest with myself for the first time. (Gay man comes out to wife and kids) | ImFromDriftwood | 30 Oct 2018 | 3m 45s
You've told someone you're gay
Even if the experience wasn’t as you expected, people describe a huge weight being lifted from their shoulders, of feeling euphoric and giggly and childlike again. Don’t feel guilty about it – go on and enjoy yourself, you deserve it.
The thrill of revealing something long kept hidden can give a tremendous sense of relief. Use this new found energy wisely and remember that close friends and family may be worried that you have changed out of all recognition.In a Heartbeat | Beth David and Esteban Bravo | 31 Jul 2017 | 4m05s
Reassure them that nothing has really changed, only their perception of you. In fact after a while they may even realise that the ‘new’ you is better than the ‘old’ you. Most people will experience many positive reactions. For example, ‘We’re so pleased you could tell us’ or ‘Well, we had already guessed and were just waiting for you to say something’.
Some gay people have also met with the response, ‘So am I’. Equally, if it hasn’t gone too well – don’t lose heart.
Time is a great healer
Time is a great healer and things will get better. If you are experiencing rejection from close friends, ask yourself whether they were really so close if they couldn’t support you through this important part of your life? If your family is reacting badly, this is normal. They may be experiencing a whole range of emotions including shock, grief, guilt, blame, disappointment and lots of pain. Remember how long it took for you to come to terms with being gay.
Many parents will feel a loss in some way – perhaps of future grandchildren or weddings and other family gatherings. This can blur their happiness and their love for you. Here are a few examples of how parents and family can react negatively:
- “My parents refused to talk about it. They dismissed it and said they didn’t want the subject brought up again. I decided that I was going to continue to live my life as a gay man. I stopped going home as often as I used to and attending family occasions. It is only now, three years later, that they have begun to broach the subject with me.”
- “My family say that they accept that I am gay but they don’t want to see me being affectionate with another man. They say that they won’t be able to cope with it.”
- “I was at a wedding recently and everyone was there with their partners. I was upset that I couldn’t bring mine. Everyone asked the usual embarrassing questions about girlfriends and I just had to smile and make excuses. I didn’t want to row with my family about it, but it’s just not fair.”
At the end of the day, your parents are still your parents and, in time, few reject their children because they are gay. If they go quiet on you, give them time to react and think about what you have told them. If they ask lots of questions, it’s a good sign. It may help to think of it as though it is in your interests to respond to them – they are likely to be the same ones that you have asked yourself many times along the way.
If things are so bad that you feel like giving up with the whole process of coming out, it’s important to talk to someone about your fears and concerns. It’s probably better to persevere and keep going – after all, you have come this far and in many ways it would be difficult or impossible to go back now. The next person you talk to will probably give you a huge hug and say that they were relieved that you had found the courage to tell them, and that they had suspected that something may have been on your mind for a long time.Understanding | Terry Rayment | Washington Reader Award 2016
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“It wasn’t easy telling my family that I’m gay. I made my carefully worded announcement at Thanksgiving. It was very Norman Rockwell. I said, “Mom, would you please pass the gravy to a homosexual?’ She passed it to my father. A terrible scene followed.”
Bob Smith, American comedian and author
When shall I tell them?
As with everything in life, timing is everything. Choose the moment carefully – do it when you (and they) have lots of time – not last thing at night when you are likely to be more tired and emotional. Think about the way you are feeling, allowing for nerves, which are perfectly natural under the circumstances.
Don’t do it if you are feeling angry or emotionally sensitive – this will affect what you say and how you say it. For obvious reasons don’t do it when you are drunk (even if you think you need a drink to steady your nerves). And remember – only when you are good and ready.
A friend once said that he knew he was ready to tell his family only when he realised that, if he had to, he could live without their support. Fortunately for him (and his family) this didn’t happen.Back to top
Telling someone you're gay
There is no rule that says you have to sit down and talk to others about this; there are other ways. You might like to write to people first and give them time to react in their own way. This is probably a better approach if, for example, you live a long way from your family or friends. Remember that you have probably taken a long time to get used to the idea yourself, and others might need the same amount of time.
Writing a letter allows you to take your time and to compose your thoughts carefully and clearly. It can also give the person you are writing to space to react and consider the news before discussing it with you. This could be a useful approach if you are expecting a hostile or negative reaction.
If you decide to talk face to face, remember not to rush it or to do it when one of you is in a hurry or distracted. It probably won’t help to memorise a script either – you can guarantee that some people do not respond in a predictable manner. If you are worried about their reaction, tell them of your fears and that you don’t want to hurt them but need to be honest with them.
Remember to listen to what they have to say – it should be along the lines of a chat; try not to make it a speech or a performance!
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Grotto | Dave Scala | 5 Jun 2013 | 6m 53s
Your doctor and dentist
A friendly, understanding, doctor (GP) or dentist can be hard to find, but they are vital parts of maintaining our health. Of course, when we’re younger we like to think of ourselves as invincible but finding one urgently can be hard if you’re not registered.
Even in the 21st century, responses from GPs and dentists that you are gay can be positive and negative, but less negative these days. You may wish to consider telling them about your sexuality once you feel you can trust them, though, in the meantime, this may affect the treatment you receive.
If you’re looking to register with a GP, consider phoning up anonymously first to ask whether they are ‘gay-friendly’ and gauge what they have to say. You will most likely get the “all the doctors are professional” response but go with your gut feeling and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will most likely speak to a receptionist but if would like someone more senior you can ask to speak to the practice manager.
Disclosing your sexuality to your GP or dentist may mean that it is recorded on your medical notes. Medical records can be accessed by a range of organisations including life insurers, which can raise the whole question of HIV and testing.
However, bottom line, we do recommend that you do at least register with a GP … never know when you might need one!Find a GP | NHS Choices
Find a Dentist | NHS Choices
Telling your GP and dentist you have HIV | GMFA Back to top
Coming out at school
- thinking about coming out at school
- worried about coming out at school
- coming out at school
- being forced or bullied to come out at school
then you should find all the help and support you need in YOU.
And three things to remember:
- you are not alone
- there is help and support for you
- you’re fabulous!
Coming out in the forces
The journey to allow LGBT people to serve in the British military has been a long one. In the late 90s Stonewall spearheaded the movement to rescind British military prohibitions against openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. It took over 10 years to achieve this but the ban was lifted in 2000 when a new general code of sexual conduct was introduced.
Scroll through armed forces multimedia media platforms today and they are keen to promote good working conditions for all existing and potential LGBT employees and ensure equal treatment. However, the reality can be very different. For example, if you have come out but are then the victim of bullying then approaching your commanding officer (CO) is unlikely to impress fellow serving soldiers. Challenging underlying cultural and attitudinal values that allow discrimination to flourish simply doesn’t change over night, so without diminishing the significant steps the armed forces have taken in recent years it will take time.
Proud 2 Serve provides support, information and networking to LGBT persons serving, ex-serving personnel and their families both at home and abroad. It is a little disappointing there is not more consistency across the Armed Forces as it would appear the Army has a website, the Royal Air Force has a Facebook page, while the Royal Navy (only) has a news article.UK armed forces recruits to be asked if they are gay The Guardian (2015)
Gays in the military: The UK and US compared BBC News (2010)
How the forces finally learnt to take pride The Independent (2009) On the same side: homosexuals during the Second World War History Extra (2014) Sexual orientation and the military of the United Kingdom Wikipedia
Sexual orientation and military service Wikipedia Out In The Army: My Life as a Gay Soldier | James Wharton | Biteback Publishing | 2014
“A heartfelt account of a gay man’s journey from recruit to veteran, as well as a non-judgemental appraisal of an institution’s efforts to move with the times. On both counts it is a worthwhile read.” Soldier Magazine Jeff Shenge: Striking Images of Gay Military | SuchIsLIfeVideos | 15 Nov 2010 3m24s Free Fall | 2013 | Peccdillo
Two fellow police officers meet whilst on a training course, one of whom lives with his pregnant girlfriend.
Burning Blue | 2014 | Lionsgate
Based on the 1992 play by DMW Greer about two US Navy pilots and a US Navy accident investigation which becomes a gay witch-hunt during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era. Back to top
Coming out at work
Some of us prefer not to discuss our personal lives at work – it’s got nothing to do with why we’re there and it’s as straightforward as that. However, human nature being what it is, colleagues often guess or find out, particularly if you don’t talk about ‘her’ or get involved in the ‘who shagged who on Saturday night’ office gossip. For other guys, feeling able to be themselves and chat about what they did at the weekend – perhaps with a boyfriend – is an important part of who they are.
While it may be possible to gauge the kind of response you’ll get, the only way to find out for certain is to come out again – but, in this instance, to the people you work with. Furthermore, there are some circumstances where coming out can seriously affect your job security and promotion prospects. The bottom line is being careful and seeking advice first.
In a nutshell, trade unions represent people at work. They protect their members, making sure that workplaces are safe, and that pay is fair. For these reasons join one, but particularly if you experience discrimination, harassment or unfavourable treatment at work. There are many trade unions in the UK but here are a handful you may have heard of:
- Unite is Britain’s biggest union with 1.42 million members in every type of workplace
- Unison represents public services staff, although they may be employed in both the public and private sectors
- National Union of Teachers (NUT) represents teachers in the UK
- National Union of Students (NUS) is a confederation of 600 students’ unions, representing the interests of more than 7 million students
- Royal College of Nursing (RCN) represents nurses
- British Medical Association (BMA) is the trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK
Top 100 Employers 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | Stonewall Challenges for LGBT people in the workplace and how to overcome them The Guardian | 28 Jul 2014
LGBT employees who feel unable to come out at work more likely to leave their jobs – and cost business millions The Independent 3 May 2015 Back to top
There comes a time to stop talking (or reading for that matter) and get on with living your (new) life exactly how you want to.
There comes a time to start meeting other gay people and to explore your sexuality safely and confidently. A common reaction to this statement, especially if you don’t live in a city is “Fine – but where do I start?”
Remember that being gay is about expressing yourself in the way you want to. And just because you’ve come out doesn’t automatically mean you have to have sex. The important thing is you take your time until you feel the time is right for you.
Despite the stereotypes, there is no single way of being gay. We are all as different as any other group of people. Going out with friends and meeting new ones at clubs or parties can be great. But the scene isn’t for everybody and it’s not everything there is to being gay.
As with any group of people, there will be some you get on with and some you don’t. If you feel that you have little in common with the gay people you have met so far, you could try different ways of contacting more gay men; take a look at our Activities section.
Above all, be yourself!Back to top
Heteronormativity is the way that heterosexuality (or being ‘straight’) is seen as the norm, or in some cases the superior. It is the bias expressed by a society that can be obvious, but which is often subtle and pervasive, whereby individuals are conditioned to expect others to live and behave as if everyone were heterosexual.
Like sexism, heteronormativity is firmly entrenched in the prevailing customs, traditions and institutions of society and often leads to the neglect of issues facing gay men and lesbians. Heterosexuality also leads to the dilemma of whether to hide the fact you are gay or to make a decision to ‘come out’, with all that this entails. Homophobia feeds on heteronormativity, and both can be equally damaging. When services are heteronormative they can, at best, prevent the needs of our community being met and, at worst, cause someone to become disenfranchised or isolated. Examples could include our presumptions about family life (“You met that special woman yet?”) or prevent access to core services we all need (“What do you mean you were raped?”).
Heteronormativity and homophobia within society create an atmosphere where gay men can feel less valued and more vulnerable than their heterosexual counterparts. While landmark legislation in recent years now plays an important part in setting out what it is people can say and do, there remains a mismatch between what the law states and how people actually behave and treat gay men, and other individuals from the LGBT community.Heteronormativity | Wikipedia Back to top
SWITCHBOARD LGBT+ HELPLINE 0300 330 0630
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline
Welcome to Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline, a place for calm words when you need them most. They are here to help you with whatever you want to talk about. They understand how anxious you might feel before you pick up the phone.0300 330 0630 | 10am-10pm every day Switcboard LGBT+ Helpline | Switcboard LGBT+ Helpline Switchboard: Homophobia, HIV and hoax calls | BBC | 4 March 2019
Switchboard LGBT+: What it means to me by five people | Another Man | 25 Feb 2019
Switchboard send their poster to every GP surgery in the country | Gay Times | 20 Nov 2015 Switchboard (UK) | Wikipedia
2019 marks the 45th birthday of Switchboard, a pioneering support organisation that began in the rooms above Housmans Bookshop, Kings Cross, London. Switchboard was founded in March 1974 as the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, providing help and information to London’s gay community, particularly in the aftermath of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967. In the 1980s, Switchboard was the leading source of information on HIV/AIDS, with some of Switchboard’s volunteers amongst the founding members of the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Switchboard rebranded to its current name in 2015 to emphasise inclusion for persons of all sexual orientation and gender identities, and that its services are not limited to London. Today, it has expanded considerably to more than 30,000 callers each year, and now also provides support through email and instant messaging. Switchboard provides a listening service for people to discuss their feelings in an impartial and non-judgmental way, as well as information and advice for going out in London and the UK. Switchboard also operates an internet database of LGBT+ organisations in the UK known as “queery”.
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“45” | Three Flying Piglets | 2019 | 1m
COMING OUT SUPPORT
Coming out support
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline
Welcome to Switchboard, a place for calm words when you need them most. We’re here to help you with whatever you want to talk about. We understand how anxious you might feel before you pick up the phone.
0300 330 0630 | 10am-10pm every day
LLGS PO Box 7324, London N1 9QS
We all need information and support from a friend in the know and LGBT Foundation’s Helpline Service provides thousands of hours of advice and support to thousands of people every year.
0300 330 0630 | 10am-10pm every day
LGBT Foundation, 5 Richmond Street, Manchester M1 3HF
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLG)
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLG)
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG) is a national voluntary organisation dedicated to supporting parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual daughters and sons.
0845 652 0311 | FFLAG, PO Box 495, Little Stoke, Bristol, BS34 9AP
Albert Kennedy Trust
Albert Kennedy Trust
Supports up to the age of 25, who are (or think you might be) lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex, homeless, sofa-surfing or living in crisis and/ or living in a violent , hostile or abusive home.
For more click here
Private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything – no problem is too big or too small. Call them free, have a 1-2-1 chat online or send an email. Go to their website for more.
0800 1111 | Always open
Online supportBeing Gay is OK Being Gay Is OK
R U Coming Out R U Coming Out So…you think your child is gay? Guide for parents Stonewall
Coming out Stonewall
University Guide Stonewall
Homosexual or gay? Avert
Groups for people questioning their sexuality, coming out, support, and gay youth groups have all but disappeared in London these days. A sign of the times, a lack of funding or maybe men don’t want or need them any more.Turning Point and Matrix Groups | London Friend (Central North)
86 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DN Map | 020 7833 1674 LGBT Group (Young People) | Step Forward (East)
234 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AA Map | 020 7739 3082 First Steps (14-17yrs) Step Out (18-25yrs) | East London Out Project (East)
56-60, Grove Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 9BN Map | 020 8509 3898 Metro LGBTQ Youth | The Metro Centre (South)
141 Greenwich High Road, London SE10 8JA Map | 020 8305 5000 Mosiac LGBT Youth Centre | Mosiac LGBT Youth Centre (West)
Locations: Hanwell, Uxbridge and Kilburn (address withheld) | 07931 336 668 Back to top
PRIDE AND GAY PRIDE
“Gay pride or LGBT pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.” It’s also what you want to make it!Gay pride | Wikipedia
Why is Pride still important in 2018? | TLDR News | 7 Aug 2017 | 3m 14s
Why gay pride still matters
“It might be easy to see the increased visibility of queer people in our culture as a sign of progress. And it is, but it’s not enough. There are more and more queer characters on our TV shows and in our movies. LGBTQ movies are finally getting the recognition they deserve—with mainstream media attention and darlings of the award circuit.
But it’s not enough. There are still gay “purges” in Chechnya. Beirut was just forced to cancel what would be the Arab world’s only LGBT pride. You can still be fired in many USA states and cities simply for being gay or lesbian. And there are hundreds more stories about LGBTQ inequalities around the world.”Why Gay Pride still matters | travelsofadam.com | 17 May 2018
The birth of the gay rights movement in the US
“The history of the gay rights movement in the USA is usually dated to 1969, when the patrons of a New York City bar fought back against a discriminatory police raid. At the time, homosexuality — or “sodomy,” as it was referred to in the legal books — was still a crime. Men could be arrested for wearing drag, and women faced the same punishment if they were found wearing less than three pieces of “feminine clothing.” The harassment continued for years, infuriating the gay community. On June 28, 1969, the police arrived at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. However, the 200 patrons inside didn’t just sit down and wait to be arrested — they resisted, then rioted, sending the police a loud and clear message about their frustration with the status quo for LGBT individuals. If you ever wondered why Pride month takes place in June, now you know that it’s not just because of the generally pleasant weather. It’s historically relevant, too!”The origins of Pride month | Bustle | 22 Jun 2016
A conversation about Boston LGBTQ life after the Stonewall uprising | Radio Open Source | 30 May 2019 | 50m 14s
How the Stonewall riots sparked a movement | History Channel | 1 Jun 2018 | 3m 54s
Pride in the UK, in the beginning
“Pride has been organised by several organisations since the first official UK Gay Pride Rally which was held in London on 1 July 1972 (chosen as the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969) with approximately 2,000 participants.
The first marches took place in November 1970 with 150 men walking through Highbury Fields in North London. The controversy of Section 28 from 1988 led to numbers increasing on the march in protest. In 1983 the march was renamed “Lesbian and Gay Pride” and in the 1990s became more of a carnival event, with large park gatherings and a fair after the marches. For 1996, following a vote by the members of the Pride Trust, the event was renamed “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride” and became the largest free music festival in Europe.”Pride in London | Wikipedia
Gay Pride 1979: Inside Story | BBC | 7 Jan 2016 | 48m 34s
Pride in the UK, today
“Pride in London (formally known as Pride London) celebrates the diversity of the LGBT (lesbian, gays, bisexual, trans+) community with the colorful Pride in London Parade, as well as the free festivity events that take place in the Trafalgar Square. This event brings together thousands of people of all genders, ethnicities, sexualities, and also many people of different races. It is one of the longest running in the country and attracts an estimated one million visitors to the city. The festival’s events and location within London vary every year however the Pride parade is the only annual event to close London’s iconic Oxford Street. London’s 2015 Gay Pride Parade through the streets of London attracted 1 million people making it the 7th largest gay event in the world and the largest Gay Pride Parade and Gay event ever held in the UK.”Pride in London | Pride in London (Organisation)
We are Rainbow | Gay Men’s Health Collective | 3 Jun 2019 | 53s
Gay prides UK and international gay pride datesPride event calendar | ILGA Europe
List of UK LGBT events | Wikipedia
List of UK LGBT events internationally | Wikipedia
Gay prides UK and international gay pride dates | Pink UK
London Pride march being ‘degayed’ by corporate sponsors, says veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell | Independent | 7 Jul 2018
Like many gay Muslim people, I have no faith in Pride | The Guardian | 19 Jun 2018
Pride in London: Why businesses are backing Pride | BBC | 8 Jul 2017
The rise of pride marketing and the curse of ‘pink washing’ | The Conversation | 26 Aug 2014 Pride parade | Wikipedia (US)
Under the radar: a snapshot of lesbian and gay lives in London, 1700 to today | Museum of London
Pride (2014), the film
Pride: Real Life Inspiration | CBS Films | 24 Sep 2014 | 4m 8s
Pride, the film, is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person.Pride, 2014 | Wikipedia
When miners and gay activists united: the real story of the film Pride | The Guardian | 31 Aug 2014 Back to top
GAY’S THE WORD
Gay's the Word
While you may instinctively reach for Amazon we urge you to visit your local bookshop instead. For those of you visiting or if you live in London Gay’s the Word bookshop is a must go to destination. Two minutes walk from Russell Square tube station, it’s is the only specifically lesbian and gay book store in the UK. And here’s your map. It recently appeared as a primary location in the film Pride which, BTW, we thought was rather good. Gay’s the Word is also on Facebook with books, events and news.
Gay’s the Word
Homage | Three Flying Piglets
Made by GMHC volunteers, a fond homage to Gay’s the Word which marks its 40th Anniversary in January 2019.
66 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB
Gay’s the Word | Wikipedia 40 Years of Gay’s The Word: A Celebration | British Library | 22 Feb 2019
Inside England’s only LGBT bookshop | i-d | 18 Jan 2019
Gay’s The Word at 40 | Attitude | 17 Jan 2019
A book lovers pride | Evening Standard | 5 Jul 2018
1984: The trials of Gay’s the Word | Gay in the 80s | 1 Oct 2012 Back to top
Housing and homelessness support
I need help now
If you’re in immediate danger ALWAYS call the police
999 | Met Police (London)
National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline
0300 999 5428/ 0800 999 5428 | GALOP
Trouble with drugs and the law
020 7324 2989 | Release
0300 330 0630 | LGBT Switchboard
116 123 | Samaritans
Next Meal (food and support 24/7 in London)
Next Meal | Next Meal
If you are HOMELESS
Contact your local council. If you are calling out of office hours, use the emergency contact number on your council’s website. If there is no emergency service, contact your neighbouring council.
No second night out
No Second Night Out (NSNO) focuses on helping those who find themselves rough sleeping on the streets of London for the first time. It will ensure there is a rapid response to new rough sleepers, and will provide an offer that means they do not have to sleep out for a second night..
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use this website to send an alert to StreetLink. The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support.
Whether we’re looking for a pad, a bijou flat, or a show home, most of us want a place we can call our own. It‘s where we eat, sleep, relax, invite friends and have sex so, in many ways, it’s the cornerstone of our lives.
When we’re younger, we tend to move around but we still need a base but, as we get older, many of us want a home whether we’re by ourselves, living in a house or getting to grips with living with someone.
Some of us are forced to leave the family home or have found ourselves in vulnerable and/ and dangerous situations which is why LGBT+ organisations like the Albert Kennedy Trust and Stonewall Housing are needed, today more than ever.
Housing and homelessness are complex (way above our pay-grade at MEN R US) so apart from some tips if you’re looking to rent we’ve pulled together details of specialist organisations who should be able to help if/ when you need it.
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“Every year, thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people contact Stonewall Housing for help and advice. Most tell us that the housing problems they’re facing are related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Today, many more LGBT people are having to rent their homes from a private landlord, thanks to a lack of affordable housing and because local authorities have a requirement to discharge their duty to house only the people in most acute need. But how safe is the private rented sector for LGBT people?
For many, it simply isn’t. Even though LGBT people living in private rental accommodation are more likely to be in full-time employment, more than 40% tell us they still feel insecure in their homes or are facing eviction. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not just private issues, they are at the core of someone’s identity. Unfortunately, LGBT people still face daily harassment and abuse simply because of who they are. Sometimes, that abuse comes from a landlord.
Gay residents may also face discrimination from neighbours or those who they share a home with. They may have to deal with inappropriate language from letting agents, and landlords have even told potential renters that they are not welcome because they may upset other tenants.
Safety is one issue, and security of tenure is another. Tenancy agreements tend to be weighted in favour of the landlord: for LGBT tenants, this can mean their housing is even more insecure. If an LGBT tenant is being abused, and is unable to leave because of the length of notice period, they can become effectively imprisoned within their home.”Extract from Making the private rented sector a safe space free from prejudice | The Guardian | 23 Oct 2012
Stonewall Housing is the specialist lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) housing advice and support provider in England. It provides housing support for LGBT people in their own homes, supported housing for young LGBT people, as well as free, confidential housing advice for LGBT people of all ages. It also researches and lobbies for LGBT housing rights, so that all LGBT people can feel safe and secure in their homes.Advice Services | Stonewall Housing
Helpline020 7359 5767 (10am-1pm, Monday – Friday)
Outside of these hours please complete an online referral here and you will be called back. Please remember to leave a contact phone number. No advice is given at the office address below without an appointment.
Stonewall Housing gives advice about different housing related issues to hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people every year. It understands what you, or your friends, might be experiencing. So if you need advice, contact them. You can phone them, or you can come along to one of their drop-in surgeries. Some of the housing issues include:
- if you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
- if your relationship with your family has broken down because of your sexual orientation or gender identity
- if you’ve been victimised or harassed
- if you need to escape from domestic abuse
- if you need advice about a dispute with your landlord
- if you need advice with your housing benefits
Phone the Advice Line on 020 7359 5767 for confidential advice, open every weekday between 10 am and 1pm. When you first call, you’ll give you time to explain what your problem is. You might need some basic advice, or some in-depth help.
Downloads and fact sheets
Stonewall Housing has a range of downloads and fact sheets, including:
- LGBT friendly solicitors
- Information for trans clients
- Almshouses for the over 50s
- Credit Unions
- LGBT BME support groups
- Housing options for older people
- Information for refugees and asylum seekers
- Homeless persons units
- Debt awareness
- Housing guide for lesbian, gay and bisexual people
- Housing options for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic abuse
Office2A Leroy House, 436 Essex Road, London N1 3QP
Office: 020 7359 6242
Stonewall Housing Back to top
The Outside Project
The Outside Project is a homeless/ crisis shelter and community centre in response to those within the LGBTIQ+ community who feel endangered, who are homeless, ‘hidden’ homeless and feel that they are on the outside of services due to historical and present prejudice in society and in their homes. The prpject is comprised of LGBTIQ+ colleagues, friends and activists who work in the homeless sector and have lived experience of homelessness and the unique, complex issues the community faces.The Outside Project | The Outside Project
The Outside Project | The Outside Project
020 7359 5767 | 10am-1pm
Drop-InMonday 18:00 – 21:00pm | Castlehaven Community Association , 23 Castlehaven Road, NW1 8RU
Wednesday 14:00 – 15:30 | Origin Housing, St Richards House, 110 Eversholt Street, NW1 1BS
Friday 14:00 – 15:30 | London Friend, 86 Caledonian Road, N1 9DN
First Wednesday of every month for trans people | 17:00 – 19:00 | cliniQ, 56 Dean Street, W1D 6AQ
Second Wednesday of every month | 12:00 – 14:00 Camden LGBT Forum Hub at Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, N1 2UN
Online referral form‘LGBT shelter means I can be myself‘ | BBC News | 2 May 2019
Sadiq Khan gives UK’s first LGBTIQ shelter a new home in a fire station | The Big Issue | 3 May 2019
The UK is set to gets its first permanent LGBT homeless shelter | Pink News | 6 Jul 2018 Back to top
Albert Kennedy Trust
Supports up to the age of 25, who are (or think you might be) lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex, homeless, sofa-surfing or living in crisis and/ or living in a violent, hostile or abusive home.
Albert Kennedy Trust is the national LGBT youth homelessness charity; focused on prevention and early action. It provides safe homes, mentoring, training, advocacy and support to young people who are homeless or living in a hostile environment after coming out to their parents, caregivers and peers.Albert Kennedy Trust | Albert Kennedy Trust
Albert Kennedy Trust | Wikipedia
Offices in London, Manchester and Newcastle which are staffed from 10am – 4.30pm, Monday – Friday
48 The Chocolate Studios, 7 Sheperdess Place, London N1 7LJ
020 7831 6562
Albert Kennedy Trust
5 Oak Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 5JD
0161 228 3308
Albert Kennedy Trust
1 Osborne Road, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 2AA
0191 281 0099
Albert Kennedy Trust
Citizens Advice aims to provide the advice people need for the problems they face and improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives. It provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. Citizens Advice values diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination.Citizens Advice | Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice | Wikpedia National phone service | England: 03444 111 444 | Wales: 03444 77 20 20 Get advice from local Citizens Advice | Citizens Advice
Webchat | Citizens Advice
Housing issues will always arise and therefore you need to know your rights and responsibilities. You could also find yourself threatened with eviction if you can’t cope with your mortgage payments. These links to Citizens Advice pages you can find information about how to go about renting or buying a home or just finding somewhere to live. You can also find advice on handling problems with your landlord and help to avoid losing your home.Finding a place to live | Citizens Advice
Housing options for people leaving the Armed Forces, veterans and their families
Information for people who are about to leave the armed forces
National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) information
Before you start your tenancy
During your tenancy
At the end of your tenancy
National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) information
Renting from a private landlord
Renting from a social housing landlord
Repossession by your landlord’s mortgage lender
Subletting and lodging
What are your options if you are a private rented tenant?
What are your options if you are a social housing tenant?
Disrepair – common problems
Asking the local authority for help with disrepair
Eviction for rent arrearsDiscrimination in housing | Citizens Advice
Overview of discrimination in housing
Introduction summarising the main themes in discrimination in housing.
What are the different types of discrimination?
Buying a home
Selling a home
Problems with buying and selling a home
Problems with selling your home – delayed completion and lease options contracts
Help with home improvements
Fire safety in flats
Anti-social behaviour in housing
Deal with flooding in a rented home – overview
Problems in your local environment
Properties exempt from council tax
Who has to pay council tax
How much is the council tax
Empty homes premium for long-term empty properties
How to pay council tax
Managing your mortgage
How to sort out your mortgage problems
What happens when your mortgage lender takes you to court
Your mortgage lender takes you to court – how to prepare for the court hearing
Eviction for mortgage arrears
Shelter advice and support services across the UK give people one-to-one, personalised help with all of their housing issues. Its free emergency helpline is open 365 days a year and is often the first port of call for people facing a housing crisis.
You can find expert information about everything from reclaiming your deposit to applying as homeless, and you can talk to an adviser over webchat. Its solicitors provide free legal advice and attend court to help people who’ve lost their homes or are facing eviction.Shelter | Shelter
Shelter | Wikipedia
Helpline | 0808 800 4444
Weekdays: 8am – 8pm | Weekends: 9am – 5pm. Open every day of the year.
If your situation is urgent you could call our emergency helpline if:
- You have nowhere to sleep, or might be homeless soon
- You have somewhere to sleep, but nowhere to call home
- You are/could be at risk of harm
- You feel very overwhelmed about your housing situation
This helpline gets busy, but you may be able to get emergency support from a housing adviser sooner.Emergency helpline | 0808 1644 660
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday
Find local services
Find local services
Shelter Youtube channel
Help with housing problems and housing advice
Shelter YouTube channel | Shelter
Information and advice on housingHomelessness | Shelter
Emergency/ temporary housing | Shelter
Private renting | Shelter
Tenancy deposits | Shelter
Repossession | Shelter
Eviction | Shelter
Repairs | Shelter
Housing benefit | Shelter
Council housing | Shelter What is homelessness? | Shelter
Emergency housing | Shelter
Who is eligible to apply for council housing? | Shelter
Costs of private renting | Shelter
Protecting your tenancy deposit | Shelter
Eviction with a Section 21 notice | Shelter
Responsibility for repairs | Shelter
Shelter template letters | Shelter Back to top
Nightstop provides free overnight accommodation in the home of a volunteer. You get a private room, a hot meal and access to washing and laundry facilities. You can use the service for up to 3 weeks and may be housed with the same host or different hosts. Nightstop is for young people aged 16 to 25, who’ve become homeless suddenly and need a place to stay because, for example:
- you’ve been kicked out of your home
- you’ve fallen out with a family member and are unable to stay with them
- you’re fleeing domestic abuse
Different nightstop schemes have different rules about who they’ll accept. For example, some will only accept applicants who don’t have a history of violent or anti-social behaviour, a drug or alcohol problem or a health problem they can’t support.
The first Nightstop opened in 1987 in Leeds and there is now a network of 33 Nightstops around the UK.Nightstop | Nightstop
Main Office, Sherborne House, 34 Decima Street, London SE1 4QQ
020 7939 1220 Back to top
No place like home
Despite changes in equality laws in recent years, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer and Questioning (LGBT*Q) people still face discrimination across a range of public services, including social housing. However, little is really known about the needs and views of LGBT*Q residents who live in housing provided by a housing association or local authority.
This study was conducted to find out, commissioned by HouseProud and conducted as HomeSAFE (secure, accessible, friendly, equal) by researchers from the University of Surrey and Goldsmiths, University of London. Over 260 people participated, through a survey, focus groups and interviews.No place like home | University of Surrey | 2017
Back to top
Safety was a real concern for residents. 78% of survey respondents felt they lived in a safe neighbourhood. However, 32% felt their neighbourhood was not a safe place to live as an LGBT*Q person; this was 60% amongst trans* respondents. In interviews/focus groups people spoke of disturbing experiences of harassment and hate crime.
This was an area of real concern for some residents. 34% of survey respondents were completely open with their neighbours about their sexual orientation, but 35% were not open at all. 36% reported that they were uncomfortable having neighbours in their home, a figure that rose to 91% for trans* individuals. Some residents spoke about harassment and abuse from neighbours, yet felt housing providers do not deal with it effectively.
21% of survey respondents reported that they were uncomfortable with repairs people entering their home and 24% their landlord.
Although a minority, a significant number of residents change their home environment in some way before people enter it to conceal their gender identity or sexuality. For example, moving pictures, books, DVDs. This was more common amongst gay men than other groups. 20% of gay men responded that they did this ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’ when being visited by their landlord or a repairs person. We found that women were less likely to let people into their home, but men were more likely to self-censor it. Overall, there is a strong degree of hypervigilance on the part of LGBT*Q residents.
Extract courtesy of King, A., Stoneman, P and Sanders, F (2018) ‘No Place like Home? Exploring the concerns, preferences and experiences of LGBT*Q social housing residents. Findings from the 2017 HouseProud HomeSAFE study’. University of Surrey, Guildford.
Flat hunting tips
Flat hunting tips from our own experiences:
- Try to be honest with yourself about a) where you want to live, b) who you want to live with, and c) why
- When looking at a property, go with a friend and get a second opinion … making sure your friend is sensible!
- When looking, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s going to be your home
- If you’re seeing more than one place, it can be easier to compare them if you devise a check-up list for each property
- When you think you’ve found ‘the place’, check it out at different times of the day/ week
- Can you honestly afford the rent? Make a complete budget of all your income and outgoings
- Find out precisely what you have to pay on top of the rent and if the bills are shared, etc
- Almost without exception, you are responsible for a TV licence. If you get caught, the fines can be heavy!
- Landlords require references and deposits. Try and arrange this before you start looking
- If you have ANY doubts, concerns or queries, get professional advice BEFORE you agree to or sign anything
- Make sure you understand the terms you agree under which you hand over the deposit, and get it back when you leave
- Read all contracts and agreements carefully – including the weeny small print
- Get written receipts for all transactions
- Keep notes and write stuff down
- Think very carefully before moving in with an ex, sleeping with the landlord, sleeping with a flatmate or the partner of a flatmate or the best friend of a flatmate (you get where this is going)
Gay conversion therapy
Gay conversion therapy
In 1899, German psychiatrist Albert von Schrenck-Notzing announced at the first International of Hypnotism conference that he had turned a gay man straight. He reported that his homosexual patient required 45 hypnotic sessions over four months to reverse his homosexual desires. Little did he know, Albert had kicked off a phenomenon often referred to today as “conversion”, “reparative”, or “gay cure” therapy.
In 1920, Sigmund Freud wrote of a lesbian patient whose father wanted to see her converted to heterosexuality. Freud echoed modern psychologists by responding that changing sexual orientation was difficult and unlikely. Offering to see the woman, Freud later broke off the therapy due to her hostility. In 1935, Freud went even further, writing to a woman who wanted her homosexual son converted that homosexuality “is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness.”
What is conversion therapy?
Conversion therapy is any form of so-called treatment which attempts to change sexual orientation or reduce attraction to others of the same sex. It’s pseudoscientific practice based on a theory and assumptions that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be cured.
Because conversion therapy is not a mainstream psychological treatment, there are no professional standards or guidelines for how it is conducted. Early treatments in the 1960s and 70s included aversion therapy, such as shocking patients or giving them nausea-inducing drugs while showing them same-sex erotica, according to a 2004 article in the British Medical Journal.
It’s difficult to find ANY reliable evidence that sexual orientation can be changed and medical bodies warn that conversion therapy practices are ineffective and seriously harmful. Nevertheless, its advocates provide anecdotal reports and stories of so-called “ex-gays” claiming some (a degree) of success in becoming heterosexual.
In the US, Joseph Nicolosi, Sr (now deceased) claimed to have “assisted hundreds of clients with their goal to reduce their same-sex attractions and explore their heterosexual potential.” Thankfully, no one as high profile in the UK has done likewise but it would be foolish to think that the dark art of conversion therapy has been eradicated here.
In the UK, all major counselling and psychotherapy bodies, as well as the NHS, have concluded that conversion therapy is dangerous and have condemned it. The UK government has said it wants to ban the practice.
Psychologists back call for end to conversion therapy | The British Psychological Society | 21 Oct 2017 Conversion therapy | Stonewall
Conversion therapy | Wikipedia
Gay conversion therapy | HuffPost
The lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity | Human Rights Campaign (US)
‘Gay conversion therapist’ comes out: exclusive interview | Channel 4 | 31 Jan 2019 | 13m 17s
“David Matheson said he regrets perpetuating the idea that being gay is a disorder. “It is horrifying to think that I was part of a system that held people like me down,” he said. One of the leading figures of the controversial ‘gay cure’ therapy movement in America made headlines all around the world last week when he publicly came out as gay. In an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News, David Matheson, 57, admitted the practise which nearly 700,000 Americans have undergone, is not only built on a harmful philosophy, but should be banned.” Channel 4 News
MoreThe cruel, dangerous reality of gay conversion therapy | Wired | 7 Jul 2018
‘Global epidemic’ of LGBT conversion therapy | The Guardian | 8 Aug 2018
Proposed ban is a positive step but the battle remains to be won | The Conversation | 4 Jul 2018
What is gay conversion and is it legal? Here is everything you need to know about it | inews.co.uk | 3 July 2018
‘Gay conversion therapy’ to be banned as part of LGBT equality plan | BBC News | 3 July 2018
Will a UK ban on gay conversion therapy work? | NewStatesman | 2 July 2018
The day I met a ‘gay conversion therapist’ | BBC | 16 Sep 2019
Gay conversion therapy’s disturbing 19th-century origins | History | 22 Jun 2018
10 ridiculous and laughable cures for homosexuality | 19 Aug 2014
Conversion therapy: she tried to make me ‘pray away the gay’ | The Guardian | 27 May 2011 Banning ‘gay cure’ therapies under the LGBT action plan | BBC News 24 | 5 Jul 2018 | 6m 7s
Fast facts about conversion therapy | USA Today | 17 Apr 2018 | 1m 12s
Is this the end for gay conversion therapy? | BBC Newsnight | 9 Apr 2015 | 5m 27s Back to top
Homophobia is the active targeting of lesbians and gay men based on ignorance, fear and prejudice. It is rooted in simplistic and stereotypical views of what people from the LGBT community are. It can take the form of verbal abuse, physical violence, or attacks in the press or media. It humiliates, degrades, intimidates, insults, excludes, silences or harms us on the basis of our actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Homo: a group (genus) of primates that includes modern humans (Homo sapiens)
Phobia: an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of a person, object or situation that poses little real danger but provokes anxiety and avoidance.
The term homophobia was coined in the late 1960s by psychologist George Weinberg. Weinberg used homophobia to label heterosexuals’ dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals as well as homosexuals’ self loathing. The word first appeared in print in 1969 and was subsequently discussed at length in Weinberg’s 1972 book, Society and the Healthy Homosexual
This is how homophobia feels in 2018 | The Social BBC Scotland | 9 Apr 2018 | 4m 17s
Two men hold hands in a public place, but even in 2018, something’s not quite right. Time For Love explores homophobia in modern society, and also the concept of normality. Do the pressures of convention turn us against one another? Is love the price?
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia | 17 May What is a hate crime Stonewall | 2015
What is a hate crime Report-It.org.uk | 2016
How to report hate crime: 10 reasons why you really should Stonewall | 2014
Online reporting | Galop | 2016
Report LGB&T Hate Crime Stop Hate UK | 2016
Hate crimes and hate incidents Stonewall for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission | 2009
Homophobic Hate Crime: The Gay British Crime Survey Stonewall | 2013 Stonewall Anti Bullying | Stonewall 24 Feb 2014 | 4m39s
Football Against Homophobia | Dulwich Hamlet | 4m51s
Shh! Silence Helps Homophobia | LGBT Youth Scotland | 7m02s Stand Up! – Don’t Stand for Homophobic Bullying | BeLonGTo, Ireland | 4m24s
Stand Up at Work! | BeLonGTo, Ireland | 7m20s
Against Homophobia | Stand Out, Australia | 5m25s
No to homophobia | ALSO, Australia | 1m05s
Writing about this here isn’t easy…
Writing about this here isn’t easy for us, especially if think you might be gay or are thinking about coming out. Equally, it would be wrong to sugar-coat something when the truth is that not everybody likes us. And they can be pretty mean about us!
Without losing sight of the extraordinary strides made though civil partnerships, gay marriage and the Equality Act 2010, scratch the surface and homophobia is alive and well in the UK, some might say rife, once you leave the relative ‘safety’ of larger UK cities.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come out, but just because your favourite celeb is out, and guys on YouTube say it’s OK to be gay, doesn’t necessarily make your journey easier. Most gay men understand what it is like to be discriminated against because of their sexuality. We grow up in a world where heterosexuality is the assumed norm and anything different is often considered unnatural or perverted. Even when friends and families give us love and support, we are usually aware of others who don’t or won’t.
Outside the UK the EU LGBT Survey 2013 makes for worrying reading. Further afield, Russia continues to crack down on homosexuality, Isis perpetuate murderous punishments for people who are gay, and there over 70 countries around the world where homosexuality is illegal.78 countries where homosexuality is illegal Erasing 76 Crimes blog (Jan 2015)
Isis fighters throw another ‘gay’ man off a tower and stone him to death when he survives fall The Independent | 4 Mar 2015
Russia’s new crackdown on human rights Amnesty International UK (Jan 2014)
EU LGBT survey: Poll on homophobia sparks concern BBC News (2013)
Holding hands with another man in public has made me realise how naïve I’ve been about homophobia in the UK The Independent, Iain Lee (2015)
Gay in Britain: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people’s experiences and expectations of discrimination Stonewall (2013)
The Hate Crime Report: Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in London GALOP (2013)
Homophobic Hate Crime Stonewall (2013)
How to report hate crime: 10 reasons why you really should Stonewall (2014)
History of violence against LGBT people in the United Kingdom Wikipedia
Drag queen and gay rights activist Panti Bliss (aka Rory O’Neill) gave a barnstorming performance at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin at an event to protest at the treatment of debate around homophobia on Radio and Television of Ireland (RTE). Panti Bliss, Ireland [Abbey Theatre] 2 Feb 2014 | 10m47s
SupportSwitchboard LGBT+ Helpline | 0300 330 0630 | 10am – 11pm
The LGBT Foundation | 0345 3 30 30 30
ChildLine | 0800 1111 (up to 19yrs) R U Coming Out
Gay men share their first experience of homophobia | Pink News | 27 Feb 2019 | 5m 6s
This can include unplesant stuff and negativity about same-sex attraction, homosexuality, and that not being heterosexual is somehow ‘wrong’, ‘immoral’, ‘evil’, ‘sick’, ‘bad’, ‘twisted’, and ‘something to be ashamed of’.
Mainly when we younger, we often accept (at face value) our parent’s beliefs, prevailing attitudes in the community, and religious and faith teachings. We may be influenced by the views of friends and work colleagues and, anti-gay laws are still being passed by governments, around the world.
It’s not difficult to turn this negative stuff inwards, absorbing it into ourselves, believing it to be true. This can lead to feelings of self-hatred, self-loathing, and disgust which can have damaging and lasting consequences.
This is ‘internalised homophobia’ also known as ‘internalised oppression’, and affects and harms people from across the LGBT+ spectrum.
Some experience internal conflicts (which can last for years) over feelings of sexual attraction, a desire to be ‘normal’, that they should be ‘normal’ and heterosexual. Some people try to bury or reject their sexuality altogether.
Internalised homophobia gets in the way of having a fulfilling personal life (especially if you are already in a same-sex relationship), can mess with your work life, lowering and crushing self-esteem which leads to anxiety and depression.
Whether you are gay or not, it may be helpful to speak to a trusted friend or contact one of the helplines listed in our support section.Aquarium | Yonatan Tal | 26 Apr 2015 | 2m 35s Internalised Homophobia | The Rainbow Project
Homophobia (scroll down Internalised Homophobia) | Wikipedia
Internalised homophobia | Revel and Riot
Gay and homophobic? Dealing with internalised homophobia | Xander Tonjaroff | 9 Feb 2017 | 6m 21s
“Gay people are not the only ones to suffer such shame, but experts, both gay and straight, agree that gay kids are overwhelmed with it. Many of us grow up, come out and have wonderful and happy lives. For others, the journey can be rockier. Many bury their feelings, hoping they’ll go away, some psychologically “split”, like the heterosexually married men who believe anonymous internet hook-ups don’t count as gay if they happen in secret. Just this week I met a young man who told me he hated gay pride, hated effeminate men but crucially was trying to work through these feelings by talking about them. The gay community doesn’t talk about this enough, and when we do it’s often with judgment.”Self-loathing among gay people is nothing new. We’re overwhelmed by it | The Guardian | Matthew Todd | 8 Feb 2018
How to Overcome Internalized Homophobia | Gayety | 15 Jul | 2016
Hating yourself because you’re gay | Huff Post | Max DuBowy | 30 Mar 2016
Gay man overcomes self-hatred and learns to love himself | ImFromDriftwood | 8 May 2018 | 7m 1s
Hate incidents and hate crime
The police and Crown Prosecution Service have agreed a common definition of hate incidents. They say something is a hate incident if the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on:
- transgender identity
- sexual orientation
This means that if you believe something is a hate incident it should be recorded as such by the person to whom you are reporting it. All police forces record hate incidents based on these five personal characteristics.
Examples of hate incidents:
- verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
- bullying or intimidation by children, adults, neighbours or strangers
- physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing, spitting
- threats of violence
- hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, hate mail
- online abuse; eg: Gaydar, Grindr, Facebook, Twitter
- displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
- harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, vehicle
- malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise.
Hate crime against LGBT people in Britain increases by 78 per cent since 2013 | Stonewall | 7 Sep 2017
Hate crime against LGBT people in Britain increases by 78 per centsince 2013 | Stonewall
Based on YouGov polling of over 5,000 LGBT people. Click link below for full report.
- Hate crime: One in five LGBT people (21 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months
- The number of lesbian, gay and bi people in Britain who have experienced hate crime has increased by 78 per cent in five years, from nine per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent in 2017
- Two in five trans people (41 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months
- Four in five LGBT people (81 per cent) who experienced a hate crime or incident didn’t report it to the police
- Youth: 33 per cent of 18 to 24-year-old lesbian gay and bi people and over half (56 per cent) of trans young people of the same age, having experienced a hate crime or incident in the last 12 months. Just 12 per cent of these people report it to the police.
- BAME*: A third of black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people (34 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months, compared to 20 per cent of white LGBT people
- Religion: LGBT people of a non-Christian faith were more likely to have experienced hate crime or incident than LGBT people in general, with almost a third (30 per cent) experiencing this in the last 12 months
- Disability: LGBT disabled people are more likely to have experienced a hate crime or incident based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity: 27 per cent in the last year compared to 17 per cent of non-disabled LGBT people
- Safety in public: Three in ten LGBT people (29 per cent) avoid certain streets because they do not feel safe there as an LGBT person. More than a third of LGBT people (36 per cent) don’t feel comfortable walking down the street while holding their partner’s hand. This increases to three in five gay men (58 per cent).
- Housing: One in ten LGBT people looking to rent or buy a home in the last 12 months were discriminated against. This increased to one in four (25 per cent) trans people and almost one in four (24 per cent) black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) LGBT people
- Bars and restaurants: One in six LGBT people (17 per cent) have been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity when visiting a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the last year. A third of LGBT people (33 per cent) avoid certain bars and restaurants due to fear of discrimination. This number significantly increases for trans people, half of whom (51 per cent) avoid certain venues.
* black, Asian and minority ethnic (used in the UK to refer to people who are not white) synonym BME Around 20% of the teachers are from BAME backgrounds.
When is a hate incident also a hate crime?
When hate incidents become criminal offences they are known as hate crimes – a criminal who breaks the law. Any criminal offence can be a hate crime if it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. When something is classed as a hate crime, the judge can impose a tougher sentence on the offender under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
Incidents which are based on other personal characteristics, such as age and belonging to an alternative subculture, are not considered to be hate crimes under the law. You can still report these, but they will not be prosecuted specifically as hate crimes by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Examples of hate crimes
- verbal abuse or threats
- criminal damage
- sexual assault
- hate mail (Malicious Communications Act 1988)
- causing harassment, alarm or distress (Public Order Act 1988).
What can you do about a hate incident or crime?
If you’ve experienced a hate incident or crime you can report it to the police. You can also report a hate incident or crime even if it wasn’t directed at you. For example, you could be a friend, neighbour, family member, support worker or simply a passer-by.
When reporting the incident or crime you should say whether you think it was because of disability, race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or a combination of these things. This is important because it makes sure the police record it as a hate incident or crime.
You may be unsure whether the incident is a criminal offence, or you may think it’s not serious enough to be reported. However, if you are distressed and want something done about what happened, it’s always best to report it. Although the police can only charge and prosecute someone when the law has been broken, there are other things the police can do to help you deal with incident.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some hate crimes start as smaller incidents which may escalate into more serious and frequent attacks – so it’s always best to act early.
If you’re being repeatedly harassed, should you report all the incidents?
If you’ve experienced hate crime, it may have been just one isolated incident. But sometimes, you may be repeatedly harassed by the same person or group of people. It’s best to report all the hate incidents you experience to help the police get the full picture. If you’re in this situation, it may be a good idea to keep a record of the incidents to help you when you contact the police.
SupportR U Coming Out
Hate crime statisticsHate crime, England and Wales, 2017 to 2018 | Home Office | 18 Oct 2018
In 2017/ 18, the police recorded 11,638 sexual orientation hate crimes (up 27%) from the previous year. Hate crime, England and Wales, 2015 to 2016 | Home Office | 13 Oct 2016
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2014 to 2015 | Home Office | 15 Oct 2015
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2013 to 2014 | Home Office | 16 Oct 2014
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2012 to 2013 | Home Office | 16 Dec 2013
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2011 to 2012 | Home Office | 13 Sep 2012 Hate crime soars to nearly 100,000 incidents in a year | Huff Post | 16 Oct 2018 Man ‘glassed for holding hands with boyfriend’ in unprovoked homophobic attack at Peckham Wetherspoon pub | Evening Standard | 10 Mar 2016
National Hate Crime Awareness Week: ‘I still get called p**f on the street in London’ | Evening Standard | 15 Oct 2016
Gay man subjected to vile tirade of homophobic abuse: ‘It’s happening more and more often’ | Evening Standard Wed 16 Nov 2016
Gay couple subjected to vile homophobic attacks on consecutive nights say ‘it just doesn’t make sense’ | Evening Standard | 17 Dec 2016
Gay couple ‘beaten up on London-bound train in horrific homophobic attack on Valentine’s Day’ | Evening Standard | 17 Feb 2017 Hate Crime Report 2016 | GALOP
Homophobic Hate Crime: Gay British Crime Survey 2013 | Stonewall
Hate Crime | Citizen’s Advice LGBT+ hate crime on the rise in London | BBC News | 6 Jul 2018 | 1m 58s
LGBT hate crime on the rise | Channel 4 News | 7 Sep 2017 | 6m
National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership | National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership
The National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership brings together 35 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) organisations from across England, Wales and Scotland. Delivered for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the partnership led by the LGBT Consortium aims to increase the reporting of Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Hate Crimes and incidents and improve the support available to those targeted.
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LGBT Advisory Group
Voluntary group of independent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advisors working with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at New Scotland Yard. Advises on and monitor police issues that affect LGBT people who live in, work in, study in or are visiting London. Initially the Group was only invited to advise the Racial and Violent Crime Task Force (CO24), now the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate (DCFD). However as the quality of its advice has been recognised, the Group increasingly invited to participate in a wide range of strategy and policy work.LGBT Advisory Group | LGBT Advisory Group
LGBT Advisory Group | LGBT Advisory Group Hate Crime Dashboard | Mayor of London
Homophobic crime reports statistics
A rising number of reports (red line for 2018 is clearly highest) but falling sanction detection (red line is lowest). This erodes community confidence and this is already seen in low satisfaction levels recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service.
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17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign
17-24-30 represents the combined dates of the London nail bomb attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho which took place on the 17th, 24th and 30th April 1999. Its primary aim is to organise and facilitate the April Acts of Remembrance #AAR to mark the anniversaries of the attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho, and National Hate Crime Awareness Week #NHCAW in October.
17-24-30’s secondary aim is to spread a message of H.O.P.E. across the UK and beyond to encourage local authorities (including councils and police services), key partners and communities affected by hate crime to work together.17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign Back to top
SERIAL KILLERS AND MURDERERS
Over several decades, three serial killers have raped and murdered gay men in the UK: Dennis Nilsen (1978-1983), Colin Ireland (1993), and Stephen Port (2012- 2015). While David Copeland (1999) does not fit the criteria of a serial killer, he was responsible for the 1999 London nail bombings which included the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, London where three people were killed and a total of seventy-nine were injured, many of them seriously.
Outside the UK, Canada recently sentenced Bruce McArthur accused of killing and dismembering eight men between 2010 and 2017. In the USA, Jeffrey Dahmer murdered 17 males between 1978 and 1991. Dahmer was captured in 1991 and sentenced to 16 life terms. He was killed by fellow prison inmate Christopher Scarver in 1994.
A serial killer is typically a person who murders three or more people, usually in service of abnormal psychological gratification, with the murders taking place over more than a month and including a significant period of time between them. Different authorities apply different criteria when designating serial killers and, wgile most set a threshold of three murders, others extend it to four or lessen it to two.
For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines serial killing as “a series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always, by one offender acting alone”.Serial killer | Wikipedia
What defines a serial killer? | Psycholoty Today | 31 May 2019
Murder in English law | Wikipedia Have you seen this serial killer who murdered gay men in the 1970s? | Buzzfeed | 8 Feb 2019
Serial killer Bruce McArthur gets life sentence in case that terrorized gay men | The New York Times | 8 Feb 2019 Back to top
Dennis Nilsen (1978-1983)
Dennis Andrew Nilsen was a serial killer and necrophile, who murdered at least 12 young men between 1978 and 1983, most of them homeless and gay.
They include: Stephen Dean Holmes, Andrew Ho, Kenneth Ockendon, Martyn Duffey, William ‘Billy’ Sutherland, Douglas Stewart, Malcolm Barlow, Paul Nobbs, John Howlett, Carl Stotter, Archibald Graham Allan, and Steve Sinclair.
Nilsen was sentenced to life imprisonment on 4 November 1983, convicted at the Old Bailey of 6 counts of murder and 2 of attempted murder. With a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 25 years, he was incarcerated at Full Sutton maximum security prison in his later years. He became known as the Muswell Hill Murderer as he committed his later murders in Muswell Hill, in north London.Dennis Nilsen | Wikipedia
Serial killer Dennis Nilsen dies in prison aged 72 | The Guardian | 12 May 2018
Dennis Nilsen | Murderpedia Back to top
Colin Ireland (1993)
Colin Ireland was a British serial killer known as the Gay Slayer because his victims were gay.
In 1993, Ireland started frequenting the Coleherne pub in Earl’s Court (now closed). Between March and June, he murdered five men: Peter Walker, Christopher Dunn, Perry Bradley III, Andrew Collier and Emanuel Spiteri.
He was jailed for life for the murders in December 1993 and remained imprisoned until his death in February 2012, at the age of 57.Colin Ireland | Wikipedia
Torture killer Colin Ireland dies in Wakefield Prison | BBC | 21 Feb 2012
Colin Ireland | Murderpedia Back to top
David Copeland (1999)
The 1999 London nail bombings were a series of bomb explosions in London. Over three successive weekends between 17 and 30 April 1999, homemade nail bombs were detonated respectively in Brixton, south London; Brick Lane in the East End; and in The Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in the West End.
On 2 May, the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch charged 22-year-old David Copeland with murder. Copeland, who became known as the “London nail bomber”, was a Neo-Nazi militant and a former member of two far-right political groups, the British National Party and then the National Socialist Movement.
The bombings were aimed at London’s Black, Bengali and gay communities. He was convicted of murder in 2000 and given six concurrent life sentences.1999 London nail bombings | Wikipedia
Admiral Duncan pub | Wikipedia
17-24-30 represents the combined dates of the London nail bomb attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho which took place on the 17th, 24th and 30th April 1999. Its primary aim is to organise and facilitate the April Acts of Remembrance #AAR to mark the anniversaries of the attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho, and National Hate Crime Awareness Week #NHCAW in October.17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign | MEN R US
17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign | 17-24-30 Back to top
Stephen Port (2012- 2015)
Stephen Port is a convicted serial rapist and serial killer.
Over three-and-a-half years, between 2012 and 2015, he is responsible for murdering at least four men: Anthony Walgate, Jack Taylor, Daniel Whitworth and Gabriel Kovari, and committing multiple rapes.
Port received a life sentence with a whole life order on 25 November 2016, meaning he will not become eligible for parole and is unlikely to ever be released from prison.
Police are now investigating at least 58 deaths connected to the use of GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) in response to the Port case.Stephen Port | Wikipedia
Stephen Merchant to play ‘Grindr killer’ Stephen Port in BBC drama | The Guardian | 9 Feb 2019
Stephen Port: Officers refuse to answer watchdog’s questions | BBC | 26 Jul 2018
Stephen Port | Murderpedia Back to top
Bullying in school
Bullying can cause long-lasting damage to young people and badly affects the schools and colleges that take no measures to tackle it. Homophobia can affect any pupil or student, whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight, and this form of bullying can be especially confusing, vicious, isolating, and life-changing.
All schools have a duty of care to ensure the safety of, and to protect the emotional well being of, every person in their care. Schools need to be aware of the homophobia endemic in British schools, and its effects on learning, health, and self-esteem. Anti-bullying activities can improve pupils’ behaviour, social relationships, and level of academic achievement.
If you are experiencing bullying
If you are experiencing homophobic bullying at school, you may be:
- Questioning or unsure of your sexuality
- Struggling with your studies
- Playing truant or avoiding classes
- Feeling bad about yourself and your future
- Feeling frightened or alone
Examples of bullying are when people
- Write vicious and hurtful comments on social networking sites and/ or post offensive pictures
- Verbally abuse or threaten you and/ or name call; eg: gay, faggot, fairy, poofter, bum boy, batty boi, fag
- Exclude you from conversations, social groups, parties, and invitations
- Throw things at you, unintentionally bump into you, hit you, and/ or graffiti your possessions
- Out you by telling other people or spreading rumours that you are gay
- Deliberately misuse pronouns when addressing you; eg: referring to you as she if you are male
What to do
- The most important and brave thing to do is to talk to someone. There are people and organisations who can listen to you, understand you, and respect your confidentiality
- Do not make contact or engage with the bully
- Do not delete anything you receive. For help to take screen shots: Windows | iPhone, iPad | Mac | Android
- If you think you are in physical danger or fear for your life call 999
SupportR U Coming Out Back to top
“We’re here to let all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, here and abroad, know they’re not alone. We believe we’re stronger united, so we partner with organisations that help us create real change for the better. We have laid deep foundations across Britain – in some of our greatest institutions – so our communities can continue to find ways to flourish, and individuals can reach their full potential. We’re here to support those who can’t yet be themselves. But our work is not finished yet. Not until everyone feels free to be who they are, wherever they are.” [Stonewall] Stonewall | Stonewall 192 St John Street, | London, EC1V 4JY | 020 7593 1850Stonewall Cymru | Stonewall Transport House, 1 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9SB | 029 2023 774 Stonewall Scotland | Stonewall Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB | 0131 474 8019
LGBT in Britain: hate crime and discrimination 2017
Stonewall commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey asking more than 5,000 lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people across England, Scotland and Wales about their life in Britain today. This report, the first of a series based on the research, investigates their experiences of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes and day-to-day discrimination. The study looks at these hate crimes and if they have been reported or not. It also looks at discrimination LGBT people face in their daily lives, for example when they walk down the street, when visiting shops and cafes, when accessing public services or when trying to rent a new home.LGBT in Britain: hate crime and discrimination | Stonewall | 2017 Punched in the face for being gay | BBC | 7 Sep 2017 | 2m 42s
Decriminalisation of homosexuality
Partial decriminalisation of homosexuality
2017 marked 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality which some might regard as a blip within the timeline of LGBT+ history in the United Kingdom which can be traced back to Roman times.
Depending which decade you were born into, it’s likely you will view the 50th milestone differently. Some are ‘grateful, others ‘remembered’ while others still ‘marked’ and ‘celebrated’. However, Owen Jones’s piece “Hatred of LGBTQ people still infects society. It’s no time to celebrate” is also on point.
On the back of legal equality, an equal age of consent for sex, civil partnerships, and gay marriage it’s not difficult to think that the battles have been won. They are not and, without throwing the non-binary baby out with the bath water, we would do well to remember this.
“Anger, searing fury, not gratitude: that’s how the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales should be marked. That we are no longer legally persecuted in this country – and that we are less hated and judged than we were – is not something to be thankful for. Gaining treatment others take for granted is not some special gift: equality is not a privilege.
Gratitude implies that the state eventually buckling to the demands of LGBTQ people represented some sort of sacrifice on the part of our persecutors. Legal rights were won by LGBTQ people who were spat at, reviled by the press, demonised by large swaths of the public, persecuted by the law, incarcerated, chemically castrated and driven to suicide.”Hatred of LGBTQ people still infects society. It’s no time to celebrate | Owen Jones | The Guardian | 27 Jul 2017
Sexual Offences Act 1967 | Wikipedia
History of LGBT rights in the UK: A long road to equality | Kings College London | 28 Jul 2017 | 2m 11s
LGBT rights in the United Kingdom | Wikipedia Decriminalisation of homosexuality: History of gay rights in the UK | BBC
Buggery, bribery and a committee: the story of how gay sex was decriminalised in Britain | The Conversation | 20 Dec 2017
Homosexuality was decriminalised 50 years ago. But what happened next? | The Guardian | 27 Jul 2017
Hatred of LGBTQ people still infects society. It’s no time to celebrate | The Guardian | 27 Jul 2017
Out on the screen: 50 years of queer cinema in Britain | The Conversation | 26 Jul 2017
Fifty years of gay rights but some in the British media are peddling the same homophobia | The Conversation | 25 Jul 2017 Timeline of LGBT history in the United Kingdom | Wikipedia
Wolfenden Report | The National Archives
Sexual Offences Act 1967 | The National Archives Back to top
Mental health matters
Mental health mattersMENTAL HEALTH MATTERS | MEN R US Back to top
Sigma Research is a social research group specialising in the behavioural and policy aspects of HIV and sexual health. It also undertakes research and development work on aspects of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health and well-being. While this section concentrates on the Gay Men’s Sex Survey (1993-to date), Sigma’s research covers a wide range of issues affecting gay men and you are encouraged to explore their website.
Gay Men’s Sex Survey
In 1993, Sigma Research carried out an on-the-spot survey of men attending the London Lesbian and Gay Pride festival, instigating an annual survey that has grown to be the largest in the world and an institution on the UK summer gay scene. The National Gay Men’s Sex Survey (GMSS), also known as Vital Statistics, has occurred 17 times in the 24 years since and now recruits exclusively online.
The content of the survey is developed in collaboration with health promoters, within the framework of Making it Count The questions cover a range of demographics, health indicators, sexual behaviours, HIV prevention needs, use of settings in which health promotion can occur and recognition of national interventions. The weight given to each area varies each year, and the data collected is treated as cumulative, building a detailed picture of gay men and bisexual men and HIV over time.Sigma Research | Sigma Research
State of play: findings from the England Gay Men’s Sex Survey 2014 | Sigma Research
Final Reports: Gay Men’s Sex Survey | Sigma Research Back to top
Though there has been progress in the past 50 years or so for LGBT people around the world, it remains a divisive, religious, and political issue. While some countries have decriminalised homosexuality, outlawed homophobic hate crimes and over 20 countries recognise same-sex marriage; others are becoming increasingly oppressive, and brutal, like Chechnya. Having sex with someone of the same sex remains illegal in over 70 countries, and punishable by death in 10. We’ve pulled together a number of organisations working to promote equality, though it’s worth remembering that LGBT human rights campaigners risk violence, discrimination, and arrest.LGBT rights by country or territory | Wikipedia
LGBT rights | The Guardian
LGBT News | BBC Back to top
ChechnyaHomosexuality in Chechnya 101 | Michael Rizzi | 2 Oct 2017 | 5m 17s LGBT rights in Russia | Wikipedia
Gay concentration camps in Chechnya | Wikipedia
Russian-Speaking American LGBT Group | Russian-Speaking American LGBT Group
EU Parliament Intergroup of LGBT Rights (Russia) | EU Parliament Intergroup of LGBT Rights
Russian LGBT Network | Russian LGBT Network Spasibo (Thank you) | Anaïs Sartini | 2013 | 13m 20s
“Spasibo” is a response to homophobic laws in Russia which came into force the 17 of March 2012 in Saint Petersbourg. Since then, the laws are extended across Russia. The film received the Special Prize for human rights at the Cinema and Human Rights Film Festival, Amnesty International, Paris 2012. Zelim Bakaev the Face of Chechnya’s Anti-Gay Purge | Huff Post, C L Frederick | 2 Nov 2017
Report on the circumstances of LGBT people in Russia to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights | Coalition of LGBT Organisations | Aug 2017
Trump follows Russia’s lead on LGBT hostility | The Advocate | 31 Jul 2017
Russian ‘gay propaganda’ law ruled discriminatory by European court | The Guardian | 20 Jun 2017
Russia: Anti-Gay Purge in Chechnya | Human Rights Watch | 26 May 2017
Russian LGBT Network claims to have saved 42 Chechen gay men | Huff Post | 11 May 2017
Chechen police ‘kidnap and torture gay men’ – LGBT activists | BBC News | 11 Apr 2017
Gay crisis in Chechnya | Huff Post | 10 Apr 2017 Stop anti-gay attacks in Chechnya | Human Rights Watch | 2 May 2017 | 1m 55s
LGBT survivors of torture in Chechnya speak out | France 24 | 26 Apr 2017 | 10m 3s
LGBTI executions in Russia’s Chechnya, explained | Громадське Телебачення | 9 Apr 2017 | 11m 48s Back to top
Amnesty International UK
Amnesty International UK works to protect men, women and children wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. As a global movement of over seven million people, Amnesty International is the world’s largest grassroots human rights organisation. It investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilises the public, and helps transform societies to create a safer, more just world. It has received the Nobel Peace Prize for its life-saving work.
We all have the right to be treated as equals, regardless of our gender identity or sexuality. But being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex is a crime in many countries around the world.LGBTI rights | Amnesty International Back to top
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a non-profit, non-governmental human rights organisation made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 1978, HRW is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups. Each year, HRW publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media.Human Rights Watch | Human Rights Watch Back to top
Human Dignity Trust
The goal of the Human Dignity Trust is to ensure that international human rights laws which prohibit the criminalisation of private consensual same-sex sexual conduct are respected and applied across the world so that people’s human dignity, privacy and equality are not violated.
The Trust does not campaign; it works using international law and plans to facilitate test case litigation in those jurisdictions that continue to criminalise homosexuality.
At any one time we aim to have between 5 and 10 cases before national courts and international tribunals. This work is endorsed by many of the world´s leading human rights lawyers and jurists, some of whom are involved as our patrons, trustees and supporters.Human Dignity Trust | Human Dignity Trust Back to top
International lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex association (ILGA)
ILGA is a worldwide federation of more than 1,200 member organisations from 132 countries campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights. Established in 1978, ILGA enjoys consultative status at the UN ECOSOC Council. It publishes an annual world report and a map on legislation criminalising or protecting people on the basis of their sexual orientation or recognising their relationships.ILGA | ILGA
Maps and sexual orientation lawsOverview | ILGA
Criminalisation | ILGA
Protection | ILGA
Recognition | ILGA Back to top
Peter Tatchell Foundation (PTF)
The PTF seeks to raise awareness, understanding, protection and implementation of human rights, in the UK and worldwide. This involves research, education, advice, casework, publicity and advocacy for the enforcement and furtherance of human rights law. They have charitable objectives and provide public benefit.Peter Tatchell Foundation | Peter Tatchell Foundation Back to top
Collaborative knowledge base for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement. The site aims to crowdsource every law related to LGBT rights to provide a comprehensive and global view of the LGBT rights movement.Equaldex | Equaldex
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Border-less, largely volunteer community of more than 1,400 writers, analysts, on-line media experts, and translators. It curates, verifies and translates trending news and stories that you might be missing on the Internet, from blogs, independent press and social media in 167 countries. Many of the world’s most interesting and important stories aren’t in just one place. Sometimes they’re scattered in bits and pieces across the Internet, in blog posts and tweets, and in multiple languages. These are the stories on which Global Voices accurately report, and translate into more than 40 languages.Global Voices | Global Voices Back to top
Age of consent
Age of consent
The age of consent in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is 16 regardless of sexual orientation or gender. The age of consent in Ireland is 17. The age of consent in other EU countries varies.
It’s barely been 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act (1967) decriminalised sex between two consenting males, as long as those involved were aged 21 or over.Ages of consent in Europe | Wikipedia
The age of consent | Stonewall
Age of Consent | Bronski BeatBack to top
By 1984, many European countries had reduced the age of consent for homosexual acts to 16, but it remained at 21 in the United Kingdom. Having only been decriminalised in 1967, the wording of the legislation to decriminalise also included wording that placed restrictions such as making illegal the use of a hotel room for sex. Against this background, the Age of Consent was a seminal and debut album by Bronski Beat (Steve Bronski, Larry Steinbachek and Jimmy Somerville) released on London Records on 15 October 1984.
On the cusp of the AIDS epidemic, Jimmy Sommerville appearing in Top Of The Pops 1984 was a light in a dark time for gay rights with Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 passed a few years later. It stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.Smalltown Boy from Age of Consent | Bronski Beat
Tell Me Why from Age of Consent | Bronski Beat
I Feel Love Jimmy Somerville and Marc Almond
Faith and religion
Faith and religion
Homosexuality and religion | Wikipedia
Religion and LGBT people | Wikipedia
Attitudes towards gay rights | British Religion in Numbers | Jan 2017
Ranking religions on acceptance of homosexuality… | Religion News Service | Jun 2015
Homosexuality and Religion | SexInfo Online (US)
The Global Divide on Homosexuality | Pew Research Center (US) | Jun 2014
Religion and being gay | Being Gay Is OK
Faith and LGBT inclusion | Stonewall
Love thy Neighbour | Stonewall
News, articles and resources
Muslims, Jews, and Christians on being LGBT and believing in God | The Independent | 5 Apr 2017
What’s life really like for LGBT people of faith? | Attitude | 23 Sep 2016″
Why the faith community’s support of LGBT people can’t be conditional | Huff Post | 20 Jun 2016
LGBTpeople of faith: why are they staying? | Advocate | 17 Sep 2015
What does the Bible actually say about being gay? | BBC | 23 Oct 2003
No Outsiders programme
The No Outsiders programme aims to teach children about the characteristics protected by the Equality Act – such as sexual orientation and religion. Books used in programme include stories about a dog that doesn’t feel like it fits in, two male penguins that raise a chick together and a boy who likes to dress up like a mermaid. But some parents at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham say lessons featuring books depicting same-sex relationships are not age-appropriate and the lessons have currently been put on hold.School LGBT teaching row: what is in the No Outsiders books that sparked protests? | BBC | 1 Apr 2019 Four more Birmingham schools have cancelled LGBT+ lessons over ‘No Outsiders’ row | HuffPost | 22 Mar 2019
Faith and LGBT inclusion | Stonewall | 19 Mar 2019
Parents complain to Manchester schools about LGBT lessons | The Guardian | 19 Mar 2019
Faith should be no barrier to schools teaching respect for LGBT rights | The Guardian | 4 Feb 2019
School defends LGBT lessons after religious parents complain | The Guardian | 31 Jan 2019
Organisations and networksEuropean Forum of LGBT Christian Groups | European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups
Ecumenical association of LGBT Christian Groups in Europe
ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) | ILGA
World federation of national and local organisations dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM) | IAM
Vision of faith communities in Africa that are welcoming and affirming; where LGBT people can participate fully and be strengthened in their spiritual, psychological and sexual identity as human beings.
Metropolitan Community Churches | Metropolitan Community Churches
Inclusive denomination with a network of affiliated churches worldwide. Their website contains a comprehensive database of contact details for inclusive churches in every region of the world.
Three Faiths Forum | Three Faiths Forum
Creates spaces in schools, universities, and the wider community where people can engage with questions of belief and identity and meet people different from themselves.
FilmsMorning Announcements | Brad Etter | 1 Nov 2015 | 9m 17s
Gay man goes undercover to expose conversion therapy | ImFromDriftwood | 27 Feb 2018 | 7m 47m
Gay = Sin | Matthew Brown | 8 May 2009
“The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World” Debate | Intelligence Squared | 21 Oct 2009
For the motion: Ann Widdecombe | Clip starts at 14m40s
Against the motion: Stephen Fry | Clip starts at 21m01s
The No Outsiders project was created by Andrew Moffat to teach children about the Equality Act 2010 and British values and for pupils to “be proud of who they are while recognising and celebrating difference and diversity”. In 2014, the project was piloted at Parkfield School, Birmimgham and, shortly afterwards, adopted by schools across the country.
In January 2019 a petition was started claiming the project’s teaching went against the Islamic faith. Meetings took place with concerned parents which broke down. Shortly afterwards, parents began protesting outside the school and several pupils were also kept at home. Protests then spread to other schools in Birmingham.
‘We can’t give in’: the Birmingham school on the frontline of anti-LGBT protests | The Guardian | 26 May 2019
“To its credit, the government has spoken out in defence of LGBT+ inclusive lessons – but it hasn’t backed this up with explicit, concrete guidance to schools about what they can and should do,” says the veteran gay rights campaigner. With religious extremists trying to “hijack the issue”, a culture of fear around mentioning LGBT orientation has sprung up. “Many teachers are left feeling very uncertain about what they are required to do or what they’re allowed to do or say.”Fear of LGBT-inclusive lessons harks back to 80s, says Peter Tatchell | The Guardian | 28 May 2018
Birmingham LGBT teaching row: How did it unfold? | BBC | 22 May 2019
LGBT school lessons row shows homophobia is alive and well in the UK | The Conversation | 3 Apr 2019
Parkfield school head hits back at ‘ridiculous’ LGBT lesson claims | Pink News | 27 Mar 2019
LGBT in Islam | Wikipedia
Owen Jones goes to the centre of the LGBT lesson row | ‘Let gay Muslims be gay’ | Owen Jones | 5 Apr 2019 2019
Stances of faiths on LGBTQ issues: Islam – Sunni and Shi’a | Human Rights Campaign
Coming out as an LGBT Muslim | Reaching Out The Qur’an, the Bible and homosexuality in Islam | The Conversation | 16 Jun 2019 Back to top
LGBT+ news sources
Attitude | Attitude
The Advocate | The Advocate
Aljazeera | Aljazeera
BBC LGBT | BBC News
Buzz Feed LGBT | Buzz Feed
Gay Star News | Gay Star
Gay Times | Gay Times
Little Gay Blog | Little Gay Blog
No Straight News | No Straight News
Queerty | Queerty
Huff Post UK LGBT | Huff Post
Huff Post Worldwide | LGBT Huff Post Worldwide
Huff Post Queer Voices | Huff Post
Pink News UK | Pink News
Pink Sixty | Pink Sixty
Politico | Politico
Reddit | Reddit
Reuters | Reuters
Vice LGBT | Vice
LGBT fluffier stuffCocktails and cock talk | Cocktails and cock talk
The Daily Grind | The Daily Grind Back to top
Researching content for MEN R US, we’ve stumbled across some really great vlogs. While some are sweet, self-indulgent, and shouty, others are more thoughtful, inclusive and a testament to how far we have come in recent years. So, something for everyone it would seem!
Here are a handful of vlogs that have caught our eye. If you don’t like them type ‘gay vlogs’ into YouTube and find your own. From late 2017, we stopped updating them. It’s a little sad (if predictable) that some have morphed into sales, seemingly more interested in selling an underwear range or grooming regime than providing an authentic insight into the lives gay vloggers share with their followers. While many vlogs remain inspirational, they are harder to find these days.
We are also mindful that living one’s life vicariously through the vlogs of others is not living your life. That’s not to say we can’t be inspired but, if you’re living vicariously, stop it. Get out and live life for yourself. (Sorry, we just love this word: vicariously means that you’re experiencing something indirectly, like when the life and adventures of others feels like your own). Anyway, grouchiness aside, the vlogs listed here (in no particular order) should provide a springboard from where you can explore.Calum McSwiggan | Calum McSwiggan | UK
Doug Armstrong | Doug Armstrong | UK
Dan and Jon | Dan and Jon | UK
Trent and Luke | Trent and Luke | UK
Our Swirl Life | Jack and Ben | UK
Roly | Roly West | UK AsapSCIENCE | Mitchell and Gregory | CAN Andrew Goes Places | Andrew Neighbors | USA
Husband & Husband | Aaron and Jonathan | USA
PK Creedon | Patrick and Mike | USA
Stepsof2Foreigners | Bernardo and Adam | USA
PJ & Thomas | PJ and Thomas | USA
Mark E Miller | Mark and Ethan | USA
Ethan Hethcote | Ethan and Mark | USA
Matthew J Dempsey | Matthew J Dempsey | USA
SupDaily06 | Chris Thompson | USA
wickydkewl | Davey Wavey | USA
Two Beeps | John and Jeremy | USA
V-Squared | Luke and Vinny | USA
Lush | Matthew Lush | USA
Travis and Jack | Travis and Jack | USA
Matt and Blue | Matt and Blue | USA Back to top
LGBT definitions and vocabulary
Definitions and vocabularyLGBT Definitions (Glossary of Terms) | Stonewall (UK)
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Definitions | Human Rights Campaign (USA)
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Glossary of Terms | We Are Family (USA)
LGBTTIQQ2SAA+ Definitions | Revel & Riot (Canada) Back to top
We often use labels because they fit and better connect us with others like us. For example, “I’m a gay man”, “I’m a bear” or “I’m part of the LGBT community” Others find them rigid and fixed, preferring instead to self-identify as queer, or pansexual, for example, or refuse to be labelled at all. We’ve also more about labels and types in MEN.
Society is often quick to lump everyone who is not heterosexual under a ‘homosexual’, ‘gay’ or ‘LGBT’ banner. By adhering to society’s labels one tends to think of these terms of having to be this or that, one thing or the other, leaving other people out in the cold.
Cut out the labels
The thing about labels is that you cut them out and replace them with your own. What you call yourself is up to you. The important thing is that you choose what feels comfortable for you. There is a growing movement of people who refuse to be labelled and are striking out to define themselves on their own terms. Having said that, society feels safer by putting people in boxes (for all sorts of things) so while you may not want a label it can be a struggle defining yourself to others.
Reduced to one thing
There’s also something to be said about being reduced to one thing, and few if any of us like this. Gay men, particularly, are often reduced to sexually transmitted infections, sexual acts, or hedonism when, in fact, we are (of course) so much more. It’s one of the reasons why we built this website; being gay is an important part of who we are but it’s not all that we are.
People, the media especially, will define us in whatever ways are convenient and easy, often at the expense of accuracy and recognising our individuality. While some of us may be gay, lesbian, bi or trans (or whatever we choose to call ourselves) we are also parents, workers, learners and explorers. At times we feel indignant, other times we shrug and realise that’s just the way it is, but there are other times when we’re actually quite pissed off!Back to top
To be or not to be queer
The meaning of ‘queer’ has changed a lot over recent decades. From being a slur, to being reclaimed by some LGBT+ people and being rejected by others. The short answer is that ‘queer’ means different things to different people.
Finding umbrella terms for a community as diverse as ours isn’t easy and over the last fifty years or so, we’ve cycled the ‘LGB community’, the ‘gay community’ the ‘gay and lesbian community’, and the ‘LGBT community … and so on … including those who don’t believe we should have labels like this at all, or be lumped together in this way.
Like the word “gay” used to mean “happy”, queer used to mean “strange” or “different”. But like all words, its use evolved over time and quickly came to mean something different.
There’re lots of reasons why people identify with ‘queer’, either individually or as an umbrella term. It encompasses a wide range of identities, and doesn’t risk excluding groups that the acronym may leave out. Some people find queer’s ambiguity appealing since it gives a sense of community without the need for a more specific label. You might be gay, I might be trans – but we’re both queer, and that brings us together.
For some, using ‘queer’ also aims to be an all-inclusive, a unifying umbrella term that includes people who are same gender attracted and gender diverse as well as the intersections of people and identities within our community. Also, people like it because it’s easy to say, and a whole lot fewer syllables than LGBTIQ and overall, it’s easier to use and remember; especially if this all new to you.
There are people who dislike the term, mostly due of the fact that it has also been a term that’s used as a slur (a word people use with hate). In the 1960s onwards, people used the word queer as a weapon, usually saying it when attacking or trying to humiliate LGBTIQ people. It wasn’t until the 1980s when activists began to reclaim it, writing it on banners and flags when marching and protesting.
Reclaiming language is a powerful tool against other people’s hate and bullying. The thinking behind it is that you can’t be hurt by words that you use to describe yourself. Take the word ‘slut’ for example. If someone calls you a slut it takes away a lot of that person’s power if you turn around and say “I am, so what?”
For some, words do hurt, and for anyone who’s been called queer as an insult, hearing it used within your community can remind you of those experiences. This doesn’t mean that it’s never OK to use the phrase ‘the queer community’. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no umbrella term that everyone is 100% happy with. Lots of people don’t like LGBTIQ! So there’s no one size fits all.
So while it’s a word we use, keep in mind that not everybody uses it, and that’s totally OK if they don’t.
BTW: MEN R US has adapted these words from an original piece by MINUS18 Australia titled “What Does Queer Mean Anyway? with their kind permission.
What Does Queer Mean Anyway? | MINUS18 | 18 Oct 2017
How the word ‘queer’ was adopted by the LGBTQ community | Columbia Journalism Review | 22 Jan 2019
Queer politics has been a force for change; celebrate how far we’ve come | The Guardian | 27 Jul 2017
Tracing the history of the word ‘queer’ | Dazed | 28 Jul 2016
Queering the map
Queering the Map is a community-generated mapping project that geo-locates queer moments, memories and histories in relation to physical space. As queer life becomes increasingly less centered around specific neighborhoods and the buildings within them, notions of ‘queer spaces’ become more abstract and less tied to concrete geographical locations. The intent of the Queering the Map project is to collectively document the spaces that hold queer memory, from park benches to parking garages, to mark moments of queerness wherever they occur.Queering the map Back to top
LGBT or LGBTQIAABAACG
LGBT or LGBTQIAABAACG
The initials LGBT stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender or transsexual. and are intended to emphasise inclusion and a diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures. Or, to put it another way, anyone who is not straight (heterosexual).
The term LGBT is also an update of LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) and usually the preferred term when referring to our community (though there is also disagreement by LGBT people about this). Before we were called gay, the term homosexual was, and to some extent still is, used. Before that we called pansies, queers, and deviants, for example.
More recently, the letter ‘Q’ is sometimes added for those who identify as queer or those who are questioning their sexuality. People also define themselves as intersex or asexual so we need at add an ‘I’ and an ‘A’.
This is perfectly understandable though we are running the risk of becoming LGBTQIA, or is it LGBTIQA? And what about our gay rights allies, should it then be LGBTQIAA? And how do we include those who define themselves as bigender, androgyne, agender, cisgender. and genderqueer. We’re not making light, but nor are we going to use LGBTQIAABAACG at MEN R US. Instead we are going to use LGBT+ unless someone has a better (and practical) idea. And, yes, we love everybody!The LGBTQAlphabet | Equinox/ LGBT Community Center, NYC | 5 Jun 2017
LGBT Myths Debunked | BuzzFeedYellow | 14 Jun 2015 | 2m10s
16 LGBT Coming Out Secrets | Buzz Feed Yellow | 7 Jul 2014 | 1m59s
History of LGBT Characters at DC | DC Entertainment | 5 Jun 2015 | 7m16s
Moment Obama Heckled at LGBT Reception | BBC News | 25 Jun 2015 | 2m26s Back to top
QTIBPOC and QPOC
QTIBPOC and QPOC
Terminology and definitions to describe different LGBT+ groups of people are constantly evolving. LGB to LGBT to LGBT+ and LGBTQIA being an example. MEN R US is a gay men’s health organisation and somtimes we arrive late finding out about and understanding new terms, accronyms, and abbreviations. But, from what we can gather, QPOC and QTIBPOC have emerged over the past year or two from these communities. Although the aim is to become inclusive and representative, it’s not always immediately obvious what these more newly evolved terms mean. Here are three defininitions:
“QTIBPOC : An acronym used to abbreviate Queer Trans Intersex Black People & People of Colour, a specific ID that describes people who have heritages from continents of Africa, Asia, and Indigenous people of the Americas and Australia, and are invested in Queer politics and organising.”
QTIBPOC | Purple Rain Collective
“An acronym for Queer People Of Colour. Another term used is QTIPOC (Queer, Transgender, and Intersex People of Colour). Queer people of colour often experience intersecting oppressions on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.”
QPOC | Qmunity
“An abbreviation for Queer & Trans People of Color and Queer & Trans Women of Color. These terms are rooted in the concept of intersectionality—which focuses on the intersections and interactions between various forms & systems of oppression, including: Racism, Classism, Heterosexism, Patriarchy, Religious Oppression, etc. A QTPOC framework attunes itself to the lives, challenges, and needs of people who experience these compounded and/or interlocking oppressions.”
QTPOC/ QTWOC | County of San Mateo: LGBTQ Commission
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Symbols and signs
Signs and symbols
Over many years, lesbian and gay communities around the world have used symbols to identify who we are. Often worn as badges and displayed as flags, some of the better known symbols include the rainbow flag, the pink triangle, the lambda and gender symbols.
Probably the most recognisable symbol today is the rainbow flag, but other symbols have been an integral part of our history in the fight for recognition and equality. While the red ribbon is not a symbol of being gay, many gay men wear it, which is why it is interpreted by some as an indication that the wearer is gay; this is not necessarily so.
This section is by no means exhaustive, in fact it’s just the tip of the iceberg.LGBT Symbols | Wikipedia
The Rainbow flag
Use of the rainbow flag by the gay community began in 1978 when San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in response to the need for a symbol that could be used year after year. The flags had eight stripes, each colour representing a component of the community:
- hot pink for sex
- red for life
- orange for healing
- yellow for sun/ sunlight
- green for nature
- turquoise for art/ magic
- indigo for harmony/ serenity
- violet for spirit
Due to production difficulties (hot pink was not commercially available), pink and turquoise were removed from the design, and royal blue replaced indigo. This six-colour version spread from San Francisco to other cities, and soon became the widely known symbol of gay pride and diversity that it is today. If you’re looking for a gay venue, a flag above the door is a welcome signpost.
Since there have been variations of the flag including a black stripe symbolising those community members lost to AIDS, and a pink triangle: originally used by the Nazis in the Second World War as a badge of shame if you were homosexual. Today it’s been re-purposed by the LGBT+ movement as a symbol of pride and defiance, without any negative associations.
Recently, Birmingham LGBT launched a new community-wide inclusive Pride flag, which incorporates colours representing trans communities and queer people of colour.Birmingham LGBT unveils new inclusive flag | I AM BHAM | 11 May 2019
The history and meaning of the rainbow Pride flag | Huff Post | 29 May 2018
The history of the rainbow flag | BBC Culture | 15 June 2016 History of the Rainbow Flag | Time | 29 Jun 2015 | 1m32s
Gilbert Baker: The Gay Betsy Ross | In The Life Media | 16 Jun 2010 | 7m39s
2014 Rainbow Flag | Gilbert Baker | 28 May 2014 | 6m08s Rainbow flag | Wikipedia
The pink triangle
The history of the pink triangle begins before WWII, during Hitler’s rise to power. Paragraph 175, a clause in German law, prohibited homosexual relationships. Convicted offenders were sent to prison, and then later to concentration camps. Their punishment was to be sterilized, and this was most often accomplished by castration. In 1942, punishment for homosexuality was extended to death. Concentration camp prisoners each wore a coloured inverted triangle to designate the reason for their incarceration. Criminals wore a green triangle, political prisoners a red triangle, Jewish prisoners two overlapping yellow triangles (to form a Star of David) and the pink triangle was for homosexuals. Stories of the camps reveal that homosexual prisoners were given the worst tasks and were the focus of attacks by the guards and other inmates. Although homosexuals were only one of the many groups targeted for extermination by the Nazi regime, it is, unfortunately, our group that history often excludes.
Estimates of the number of gay men killed during the Nazi regime range from 50,000 to twice that figure. In the 1970s, gay liberation groups resurrected the pink triangle as a symbol for the gay rights movement. Not only is the symbol easily recognized, but it also draws attention to oppression and persecution – then and now. In the 1980s, ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) began using the pink triangle for their cause. They inverted the symbol, making it point up, to signify an active fight-back rather than a passive resignation to fate. Today, for many, the pink triangle represents pride, solidarity, and a promise to never allow another Holocaust to happen again.Pink triangle | Wikipedia The Pink Triangle | Richard Plant/ Holt Books
The Men with the Pink Triangle | Heinz Heger/ Alyson Books Bent (1998) Trailer | Film 4 A 9 Jan 2014 | 2m27s
A Love To Hide (2008) Trailer | Peccadillo Pictures | 29 May 2009 | 1m29s The Holocaust | Imperial War Museums
Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals | United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The lambda symbol seems to be one of the most controversial of symbols, as regards its meaning. However, most sources agree on a few things: the lambda was first chosen as a gay symbol when it was adopted in 1970 by the New York Gay Activists Alliance. It became the symbol of their growing movement for gay liberation. In 1974, the lambda was adopted by the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As their symbol for lesbian and gay rights, the lambda became internationally popular. However, no one seems to have a definitive answer as to why the lambda was originally chosen as a gay symbol. Some suggest that it is the Greek lower-case letter for ‘liberation’, others cite its use in physics to denote energy, eg: the energy we have when we work harmoniously. It’s also thought to mean a ‘wavelength’, eg: gays and lesbians on a different wavelength. Lambda may also denote the synergy of the gay movement, the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The lambda may also represent scales and balance, and the constant force that keeps opposing sides from overcoming each other. The ancient Greek Spartans regarded the lambda as meaning unity, while the Romans considered it “the light of knowledge shed into the darkness of ignorance”. Reportedly, Ancient Greeks placed the lambda on the shields of Spartan warriors, who were often paired off with younger men in battle. (There was a theory that warriors would fight more fiercely knowing that their lovers were both watching and fighting alongside them).Lambda | Wikipedia
Double interlocking female symbols have often been used to denote lesbianism, but some feminists have instead used the double female symbols to represent the sisterhood of women. In the 1970s, gay liberation movements used the male and female symbols superimposed to represent the common goals of lesbians and gay men.Gender Symbol | Wikipedia
The red ribbon
The red ribbon is a symbol of solidarity and of the commitment to the fight against HIV and AIDS. The Ribbon Project was conceived in 1991 by Visual AIDS, a New York-based charity group of art professionals that aims to recognize and honour friends and colleagues who have died or are dying of AIDS. The ribbon made its public debut at the 1991 Tony Awards, but since then – in some circles – has become a popular and politically correct fashion statement for celebrities at other awards ceremonies. Because of this popularity, some activists have rightly worried that the ribbon is simply paying lip service to AIDS causes. Nevertheless, it is a powerful symbol for all of us around the world, and a unifying symbol on World AIDS Day (1 December). Today, the red ribbon is an international symbol and, for many, stands for care, concern, hope and support.Back to top
LGBT history month
LGBT+ History Month
With a different theme each year, LGBT History Month is celebrated in February in the UK and around the world including the USA, Berlin, Greenland, Brazil, Australia, and Hungary. The overall aim of LGBT History Month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. This is done by:
- Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) people, their history, lives and their experiences in the curriculum and culture of educational and other institutions, and the wider community
- Raising awareness and advancing education on matters affecting the LGBT community
- Working to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBT communities
- Promoting the welfare of LGBT people, by ensuring that the education system recognises and enables LGBT people to achieve their full potential, so they contribute fully to society and lead fulfilled lives, thus benefiting society as a whole.
LGBT History Month | Wikipedia
Timeline of LGBT history in the United Kingdom | Wikipedia
The Story Behind the First LGBT History Month | Advocate | 2 Sep 2015
Gay History and Literature (Essays) | Rictor Norton
UK LGBT Archive | Wikipedia Gay’s the Word (Facebook) | Gay’s the Word
As a precursor to Camden and Islington LGBT History Month, Three Flying Piglets made a several short films over recent years with local volunteers both in front of and behind the camera.Flash Mob Feast | Three Flying Piglets | 2017
Together – We Make LGBT History | Three Flying Piglets | 2015
I’m Going | Three Flying Piglets | 2014
Jimmy Somerville Message for I’m Going | 2014
I’m Going – Extended Version | Three Flying Piglets | 2014 Back to top
MAKING LGBT HISTORY (US)
Making LGBT history
Making Gay History brings the voices of queer history to life through intimate conversations with LGBTQ champions, heroes, and witnesses to history. Since 2016, Making Gay History has been bringing the largely hidden (US) history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement to life through the voices of the people who lived it.
The Making Gay History podcast mines Eric Marcus’s decades old audio archive of rare interviews — conducted for his award-winning oral history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement — to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.Making Gay History | Making Gay History (US)
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Making Gay History | Eric Marcus and Sara Burningham | Talks at Google | 52m 53s
LGBT forums and networks
LGBT Forums, groups and networks
Many towns, cities and authorities have some kind of group supporting LGBT people. Few are staffed and volunteers are their life blood, working tirelessly to raise LGBT issues and create a positive presence locally. If you can’t find a local presence, Meet Up may surprise you.
In Greater London, for instance, boroughs are supposed to have an LGBT Forum, a recommendation in the Lawrence Inquiry. The original idea of a Forum was to act as community liaison with the police to ensure adequate service provision and a breakdown of barriers on the reporting of hate crime.
Regularly updated, please contact us if you know of any groups or organisations not listed here.
Barking and Dagenham
LGBT Network Barking and Dagenham
No presence. Do you know of anything?
No presence. Do you know of anything?
Camden LGBT Forum
City of London
No information. Do you know of anything?
No information. Do you know of anything?
LGBT-QA of Enfield CT
No information. Do you know of anything?
Rainbow Hackney LGBT Forum
Hammersmith and Fulham
No information. Do you know of anything?
No information. Do you know of anything?
No information. Do you know of anything?
Hillingdon LGBT Forum
No information. Do you know of anything?
Kensington and Chelsea
No presence. Do you know of anything?
Kingston upon Thames
Kingston LGBT Forum
Lewisham LGBT+ Group
Merton LGBT Forum
No information. Do you know of anything?
Redbridge Rainbow Community
Richmond upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames LGBT Forum
Southwark LGBT Network
No information. Do you know of anything?
Tower Hamlets LGBT Community Forum
No information. Do you know of anything?
Wandsworth LGBT Forum
Westminster LGBT Forum
North West London LGBT
North West London LGBT
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Theatre, cabaret and alternative
The theatre has always attracted those who have a flair for the fabulous and in recent years we’ve seen a real surge in ‘gay plays’ on both The West End and the fringe. If you’re looking to see more LGBT-themed shows then a good place to start is always with the established companies and theatres. Main theatres like to programme at least one gay-interest play a season (the pink pound is very lucrative after all) so a quick web-search for ‘LGBT shows in London’ will usually throw something up. Check out what The National Theatre has on or have a browse through the listings on What’s On Stage. There’s usually a tour of Pricilla or Cabaret showing somewhere nearby and through websites like lastminute.com you can often pick up a good deal on tickets to a lot of the main shows.
However, if you’re feeling brave and fancy venturing off the beaten track then there are some amazing fringe venues that programme gay work. Check out Above the Stag Theatre who are the only venue in London to programme purely LGBT-themed work. Also check out Duckie who do a weekly cabaret in Vauxhall showcasing all things queer and quirky as well as creating big, interactive shows like the recent Border Force which looked at queer perceptions around the world. These companies are a little harder to find but once you track them down you begin to notice others like them popping up all around you.
The beauty of fringe compared to some of the more mainstream shows is that fringe is often smaller scale and less-worried about profit margins thus is often more avant guarde and ‘out there’. Although, by the same token, there are some truly terrible plays out there which you will probably want to avoid with a barge-pole. It all depends on how much of a risk you want to take with something you haven’t heard of before. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with sticking to an old classic like Rocky Horror where you know what to expect and you know it will be fabulous!
Here’s a a compilation of clips of Regina Fong at the Black Cap Camden, London, a taste of what nights were about in the 80s, 90s and 00s at venues such as the Black Cap, the RVT, Central Station, the White Swan and the Two Brewers. Also on the circuit at the time were Lily Savage, Adrella, Dockyard Doris, Millie Mopp, Maisie Troillette, to name but a few. Without taking anything away from the up-and-coming generation of drag and queer artists, is it sooo bad to look back some of those who trail blazed and on whose bouffant hair they stand today?National Theatre | National Theatre
DV8 | DV8
Donmare Warehouse | Donmare Warehouse
Southwark Playhouse | Southwark Playhouse
Acola Theatre | Acola Theatre
Soho Theatre | Soho Theatre
Above the Stag | Above the Stag
Duckie | Duckie
West Five Bar | West Five Bar
Royal Vauxhall Tavern | Royal Vauxhall Tavern
What’s On Stage | What’s On Stage
The best of LGBT theatre | Out Savvy Velvet Box Office | Velvet Box Office
“Velvet Box Office is the only site in London currently dedicated to bringing you the best of the alternative non West End scene covering burlesque, cabaret, circus, music, family shows, magic and spoken word shows.” Londonist | Londonist
“Londonist is about London and everything that happens in it. That means news, reviews and events; the history and future of London. We provide everything you need to know about the capital, as well as celebrating the quirks, eccentricities, hidden and surprising bits that make up the alternative side of the city. Upbeat and eclectic, Londonist is created by a diverse team of contributors who share a passion for London.” LGBT London: lesbian and gay London | Visit London The five gay plays that changed the world | The Telegraph | 9 Jul 2018
LGBT theatre in London | Time Out | 4 Jul 2018
Why LGBT theatre needs to start telling new stories | Exeunt | 6 Jul 2017
LGBT London: what venue closures mean for the capital’s future | The Guardian | 21 Apr 2017
Celebrating the LGBT community through arts and culture | The Arts Council | 9 Mar 2017
Top 10 London cabaret and drag show venues | The Guardian | 2 Sep 2016
Simon Callow: In Praise of Gay Sweatshop | The Guardian 13 Feb 2015
Gay theatre: coming out or going back? | The Guardian | 24 Oct 2013
A gay theatrical power list | The Stage: Mark Shenton | 2 Jul 2013
Gay Theatre | Drama Online
LGTC | London Gay Theatre Club
Gay Sweatshop Theatre Company | Unfinished Histories
Gay and Lesbian Theatre | Unfinished Histories
Lesbian and Gay Plays | doollee.com Theatre and Sexuality | Jill Dolan | Palgrave Macmillan | 2010 Back to top
In the first 50 years of world cinema only a small number of films took homosexuality as a primary theme. The landmark is Richard Oswald’s Different from the Others, made in Germany in 1919, and a huge box office success during a very liberated period of sexual liberation made possible by the pioneering work of the sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld. With the rise of Nazi Germany, the film was banned and only fragments of the film survive.
It was during the 1920s/early 30s that world cinema films in general could be open about gay sexuality, and it is worth checking out the opening of Wonder Bar (1934, dir. Lloyd Bacon) with two men dancing together (choreographer. Busby Berkeley). The Motion Picture Production Code known as the Hays Code was introduced in 1934 and gay sexuality became invisible on screen unless suggested by coded reference. Experimental films including Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks (1947), Jean Genet’s Un Chant D’armour (1950) and the Athletic Model Guild physique films of Richard Loncraine (early 1950s) became the only real sources of gay imagery. The code as applied in the UK ended in 1961 and Basil Dearden’s Victim, with Dirk Bogarde, became the first film to dare speak of the love-with-no-name in a ground-breaking study of a married man blackmailed over his sexual relationship with a younger man.
With flood gates partially opened, the work of Andy Warhol, eg: Blow Job (1964) and films including Sebastiane (1976, dir. Derek Jarman), Cruising (1980, dir. William Friedkin), Maurice (1987, dir. James Ivory), Beautiful Thing (1996, dir. Hettie Macdonald), Brokeback Mountain (2005, dir. Ang Lee) and Stranger by the Lake (2013, dir. by Alain Guiraudie) broadened the way gay film became accepted into mainstream UK Cinema release. Gay films often première at the annual BFI London Film Festival, or in the LGBT Flare Festival at the BFI on the South Bank in London.
The rise of explicit hardcore gay film also started in the early 70s with erotica by Wakefield Poole, Jean-Daniel Cadinot, Curt McDowell, Peter de Rome and Bruce la Bruce. Fred Halsted’s L.A. Plays Itself (1972) is credited as the first gay film to show fist fucking while A Night at Halsteds (1982) records the first jerk-off cum shot to be screened in a public cinema.
These films from the masters of erotica were released on VHS, paving the way for new generations of LGBT+ film makers and the digital revolution, which by 2000 included gay pornography on DVD and online streaming from the likes of Peccadillo Pictures, TLA Releasing, Amazon Netflix; and YouTube where you can watch many short films from gifted independent film makers and directors.The 30 Best LGBTQ+ Films of All Time | British Film Institute | 19 Jul 2018
History of homosexuality on film | US perspective | Just Write | 2 Jul 2015 | 10m 12s
The 50 best gay movies: the best in LGBT+ filmmaking | Time Out | 11 Jun 2018
Stop telling us about LGBT characters in blockbusters – show us instead | The Guardian | 18 May 2018
GLAAD calls for LGBT characters in 20 percent of movies by 2021 | Reuters | 22 May 2018
History of homosexuality on film | US perspective | Just Write | 2 Jul 2015 | 10m 12s
Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (British Film Institute)
British Film Institute Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender-related films | Wikipedia
Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender-related films by year | Wikipedia
LGBT characters in animation and graphic art | Wikipedia Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America 2005, H M Benshoff | Rowman and Littlefield
From Thomas Edison’s first cinematic experiments to contemporary Hollywood blockbusters, Queer Images chronicles the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer sexualities over one hundred years of American film. The most up-to-date and comprehensive book of its kind, it explores not only the ever-changing images of queer characters onscreen, but also the work of queer filmmakers and the cultural histories of queer audiences.
The Queer Encyclopedia of Film and Television 2005, C J Summers | Cleis Press
From Hollywood films to TV soap operas, from Vegas extravaganzas to Broadway theater to haute couture, this comprehensive encyclopedia contains over 200 entries and 200 photos that document the irrepressible impact of queer creative artists on popular culture.
Ultimate Guide to Lesbian & Gay Film and Video 1996, J Olson | Sepent’s Tail
More than 2,000 entries, complemented with extensive film stills, short essays and reflections on the most important gay and lesbian films ever made highlight this encyclopedic reference. Includes a distributor and subject index, a directory of international gay and lesbian film festivals, and much more.
Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video 1994, R Murray | TLA Publications
This unique guide is a revealing, comprehensive and entertaining reference source that uncovers vast and previously unknown contributions by lesbians and gay men to the entertainment industry. With more than 3,000 reviews and 200 biographies, this encyclopedia is fully indexed and cross-referenced.
Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies 1972, P Tyler, A Sarris | Holt Rinehart and Winston
Parker Tyler (1904-1974) was a noted American film critic, and this text is regarded as his most significant work. Devoted to homosexuality in films, it aims to look beyond the obvious and to observe the psychology of sex roles, at the same time recognising film as the realm of contemporary mythology. Tyler was once described as one of the most consistently interesting and provocative writers on film that America has produced, “well-informed and free of cant”. Back to top
The London LGBT poetry scene – amongst others around the UK – is as prolific and diverse as the LGBT community and, in recent years, poetry has steadily crept into its collective consciousness as accessible, entertaining, and social.
It has a myriad of styles, but is essentially creative writing that expresses the experience and lifestyle of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons in our society. Consequently it can be topical, inspiring, funny, heart/ gut wrenching, therapeutic… it can express anything and everything we ever wanted to say.
The formats of LGBT+ poetry events vary from open mike evenings, where anyone can have a go, to venues where some of the finest LGBT+ poets on the circuit strut their stuff. Events are performed at gay venues or gay-friendly straight venues with specific LGBT+ evenings.INCITE@The Phoenix
Every 2nd Wednesday of the month. The Phoenix Artists Club, 1 Phoenix Street,WC2H 8BU Polari Literary Salon Poetry LGBT (no website). Monthly Open Mike, hosted by Andreena Bogle
First Sunday of every month, Tipsy Bar. 20 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, N16 7XN Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Weekly queer cabaret that includes poetry The Poetry Café
Hosts regular LGBT poetry events. 22 Betterton St, London WC2H 9BX Queer’Say hosted by Rosie Wilby
Held regularly at different venues in association with Apple & Snakes and Out in South London Radio Poetry | GScene LGBT Poets | Wikipedia
LGBTQ Pride Poems | Poetry Foundation (US) Bristol Pride: Poet Chris Hyde’s “Heart in Mouth” on LGBT equality | BBC | 14 Jul 2018
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Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard.
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with the sword.
Click here to find out.
TVLGBT characters at record high on TV, report finds | The Guardian | 25 Oct 2018
‘Where We Are on TV’ report shows television telling more LGBTQ stories than ever | GLAAD (US) | 25 Oct 2018
Research finds LGBT characters hit record high on TV, but still lack diversity | Attitude | 9 Nov 2017
How it’s taken 50 years for British TV to portray gay life properly | BBC Radio Times | 27 Jul 2017
Most LGBT characters on US TV are white and male, study finds | The Guardian | 27 Oct 2015
BBC drama boss says there aren’t enough gay characters on TV | Attitude | 27 Feb 2014
10 great LGBT TV and online series | BFI | 7 Apr 2015
How TV’s gay characters shape up | BBC | 22 Jul 2010 Lists of television programs with LGBT characters | Wikipedia
List of dramatic television series with LGBT characters | Wikipedia
GLAAD uses this yearly data to create a clearer picture of the stories and images being presented by television networks, and to work alongside the networks and content creators to tell fair, accurate, and inclusive LGBTQ stories on screen.Where we are on TV reports 2005-2018 | GLAAD Back to top