It's so sad that LGBT+ people are still living in fear of revealing their sexuality. I'm inspired by @danielhowell, @AmazingPhil and @EugeneLeeYang for coming out recently. It's 2019 and I'm ashamed, confused and outraged that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are still present.
I'm an introverted guy, was bullied at school, mildly attacked physically and mentally a few times, namecalled just for being shy and quiet, sexually harassed, been told I was a disappointment, and lost friends for good. I definitely had depression and suicidal moments when I was younger too, and never told anyone about it.
My sexuality changed all the way from genuinely straight (until I was about 15) to bi through college, until now, where I say I'm basically gay. Not been serious with girls before, so don't feel I can classify myself truly as bi, even though I wouldn't rule it out.
More than often I've ended up lying about being gay before, typically to people I don't know like the moving people, colleagues, or new friends. Simply because it's easier than coming out, and you don't really know what kind of reaction you'll get.
I'm starting to see more now that people say "so have you got a girlfriend... or boyfriend, I'm not one to judge", and that eases my mind a lot that people are willing to ask and consider. I generally use many subtle ways to 'come out' to people, like wearing a certain LGBT-themed lanyard, telling them I'm going to certain events, am into certain types of music, have certain idols, or leave a tab or browser open, or allow others to see me chatting to other guys, or that I have Grindr installed! I once dated a guy who felt he had to tell every single person he met, as if it were an important part of his personality, in a vain and camp kind of way, and I wholly reject that.
I never lie to anyone if asked and have always been comfortable being honest to people who do ask. But letting people know in a subtle way is an easy way to test someone's reaction, and get them guessing, until they're ready to talk about it upfront.
To anyone who is anti-LGBT+, please, disregard all prejudices, stereotypes, individuals, and everything you know about sexuality. Put yourself in the shoes of someone else who is. Read and watch LGBT shows, films, artists, vloggers, and celebs. Give yourself a chance.
Labels might be next to meaningless. Some make sense from a biological point of view, yes. But does it matter what gender or sexuality you are to anyone else? For finding a partner, it helps many, sure. But are we not more than reproductive machines?
When you consider the grand scale of the universe, and how near infinitely large and long it will exist for, why is a person's sexuality or gender a concern? For all the problems we face as a species, the sexuality and gender of others should be your least concern.
Queer is a term I never felt identified me before but I now understand it as an umbrella term for anyone who is not a well defined normal category, or simply different to most, or strange of themselves, it's actually an interesting idea.
I am not religious because I do not think a deity will save or protect us. We are an accident. A special, wonderful, beautiful accident. And it's worth protecting all forms of life because of how rare it appears to be in the universe (even though aliens should be common - see the Fermi paradox). We are alone, and it's up to us to protect life.
Religious beliefs shouldn't get in the way of others being who they are. People can't choose their sexuality just as over 450 other species can't. Sexuality is therefore natural. Using religion as a weapon is hurtful to others. Consider that science has discovered humans didn't come from 2 people. We all came from oil droplets that learned to duplicate themselves, maybe 4 billion years ago. Gender or sexuality had no meaning.
It's important to reconcile the differences between the facts of science and what religion tells you is the truth. Truth is best found through evidence, and science has overwhelming evidence.
Homophobia is senseless when you understand that sexuality is a fluid, unconscious and unbound mental property. We cannot choose it. We cannot stop it. It's not something we choose or created or learned from a book. Nothing in science tells us it is invalid in any way. It is simply part of nature itself. Mother nature has no agenda to spread. It should be as undisputed as the colour of the sky, the seasons, and evolution itself. It is as present in our biology and mind as are your favourite flavour of ice cream, band, or colour. Being gay, or being any other sexuality, is natural.
Why do we need pride?
A lot of people take offence to pride. I'm not here to offend. I'm here to educate.
So much more is still to be done. Nearly one third of all countries criminalise homosexuality. Only 28 countries allow same sex marriage. Only 16 have no deferral on blood donation. LGBT people are still subjected to suffering and death. The world is changing but leaders are still homophobic. Do everything you can to help them understand.
I made a useful and simple website with some key statistics that you can share with anyone who wants quick facts or just wanted to learn more. It's https://www.lgbtrights.co.uk
Let me know your feedback and I'll do all I can to ensure the picture is as crystal clear as possible.
Thanks to everyone who came before us and supports us already. With @stonewalluk riots 50th anniversary round the corner, now is a great time to remember everyone who sacrificed themselves or was killed or tortured for their sexuality. Rest in peace.
My message to those in the closet
To all those out there who are scared of coming out, I'm so sorry for you, but I promise there are so many others like you. Allow yourself to be you. Don't hold back any more. Be yourself and accept your thoughts. Allow your mind to open to wherever it leads you.
You're never alone, I know how easy it is to convince yourself that you are, but there are so many people who love and care about you just for being you, the way you are. Don't feel you ever have to be a cog that fits into a corporate and social machine. You're a person, or a formless blob if you prefer, and that's all anyone needs to know. I'm so sorry the world has been so horrible and traumatising to you. Here's hoping we can build a better, more inclusive, open minded world.
If you still feel alone or that you have no-one else to talk to, I will personally stand up for you, listen to you, call you, chat with you, or even meet with you, and hear what you have to say.
I am filled with joy seeing individuals let their inner rainbows out. I am so happy that others can be happy. I respect you so much for sharing your stories with the world and sending that hopeful message: one day, maybe in our lifetime, equality will win for good.