50 years ago

My best friend was born. Sgt Peppers was released. Homosexuality was no longer considered as a crime. A lot has changed in 50 years. 

I watched a programme about Princess Diana last night and was reminded of the amazing work she did with those who were diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. It was a difficult time for gay men, as they were branded vile and all other sorts of horrendous names in the press.

In the back of my mind was always thought that I couldn’t come out as gay then as people would automatically assume I had AIDS. I did mention to someone in 1987 that I was gay and I swore her to secrecy. I was just miserable at the thought of being gay as it was in direct conflict with my faith as a Christian at the time.

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I know now that there would have been a tremendous support network in my friendship circle as I came out a few years later, in the early 90s, to some wonderful friends. Being out for 25 years has caused my to readdress those early feelings of being terrified. I didn’t come out to my mother until I was 36, as I knew she didn’t approve, but we became closer as I knew that she loved me just as much as she did before.

The closet is a lonely place. It must have been awful for those living with the fear of being outed before 1967. A time when you could have been dismissed from your work if they found out about your true identity.

I still believe despite the progress that this country as made we have a long way to go to be accepted in society. I did a short survey of the Christian Institute’s YouTube channel and tallied up the amount of videos they had posted in 2017 to their site. It’s a total of 170 videos and out of that 69 videos mentioned LGBT issues; that’s nearly 41%. Even in their own videos they quote that LGBT people only make up 1.7% of society; they devote nearly half of their content to LGBT issues. There is no mentioned of homelessness or poverty in the UK and no mention of the plight of children in Syria.

As I said in my previous post, Evangelical Christians are obsessed with sex. Particularly the LGBT community. I really cannot understand how a supposed Christian Organisation such as the Christian Institute can justify levels of LGBT articles on their site. I will write to them and as why they highlight such issues, I am sure they won’t reply.

Dear sirs,

I am a writer and blogger and campaigner for LGBT rights as well as mental health issues. 
I under took Theological training for three years and I have a degree in Religion and Sociology. I also hold a PGCE in Education in Religion from Westminster College Oxford. 
In a short survey I looked at your content on the Youtube part of your social networking and was interested to note that nearly half of your posts mention LGBT issues; despite only 1.7% as you claim of people in the UK identifying as LGBTI. I was intrigued to know why this was as it seems a rather unbalanced view of the ‘news’ as you report it.
I would love to hear your response and even a chance to talk with a spokesperson from your organisation. 
Thanks 
Yours sincerely 
Philip Evans

Church of England Stories

Oh it pains me … Sometimes I just despair at the Church of England and their commentators. Why is it that, nearly half of transgendered people under the age of 26 , have attempted suicide? Is it because they are happy that we live in a country that’s welcome and caring? Nope. Still the ingrained prejudice attitudes that pervade our society.

A post on the Christian Today website by baptist minister @RevMarkWoods looks at the discussion that took place at the recent meeting of Church of England’s Synod. In the article he talks of people and how their ‘stories’ were heard during these discussions and their ‘stories’ were taken into consideration when planning changes to liturgy. He explains at best that being gay ‘ … it is a disorder, with the sin residing in the act rather than the inclination.’ 

Woods continues to explain that these ‘stories’, in some eyes, are a deliberate attempt ‘a Trojan horse’ he calls it to promote certain agendas. There is no theology, just stories to get people to change their minds, about transgendered people.

“However, those stories were powerful – and conservatives fear that they will simply out-compete the story of Scripture. The Church of England will make new doctrines based on what feels good. Truth will be reduced to what makes people happy.”

Woods is implies that soon the stories will replace scripture. An alarmist and blatant attempt to stop trans people having their voices heard. During the article Woods doesn’t actually say what he thinks, he quotes the ‘collective conservative voice’. He doesn’t nail his colours to the mast and in conclusion he believes that the Church of England hasn’t crossed the line as an answer to his articles title.

Well, I am going to nail mine. This sort of uncaring, unsympathetic and dismissive attitude to transgendered people is the reason why those who are confused about their body’s and their sex. Their thoughts are a mix of coming to terms with who they really are and an acceptance that they are transgendered. I don’t admit to know everything there is about body dysmorphia, but I wouldn’t ever tell someone ‘they are disordered’ because they are LGBT.

No wonder we (LGBT) in the community have the highest rates of mental health struggles. A separate article on the site even argues that the sidelining of religion is a route to mental health illness. I wish I was making this up I really do. Maybe people need a spiritual element to their lives, as others have found meditation and certain relaxation techniques extremely helpful.

Conservative Evangelicals are OBSESSED with sex. Particularly if you think taking it up the arse is something you might be interested. Franklin Graham condemned Teen Vogue magazine for talking about it. Ignoring the fact that there a millions of articles on the internet that ANY teenager could find let alone in a over-priced glossy magazine. Education about sex obviously leads someone try sex. It’s a pitiful belief.

You want to know why schools don’t teach about transgendered and gay people? Why the education about HIV and STIs is wilfully piss-poor? Look at the Church. In a recent article it was announced that the government were going to make sex education compulsory but others thought it was ‘opening a door to teach primary school children about pornography’

Pride – Newcastle

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So I did it, I plucked up the courage and got off my fat ass and went. A nice day really but it was amazing to see a mixed of young and old, families and singles out enjoying the day.  Growing up in the 80s, all I knew about being gay was AIDS. That was it. No support groups or Pride events in the north east. Even in the 90s, I ventured into a bar, which was dark and seedy only to leave after one drink as someone had pulled a knife on someone else.

There was security at this event bags were checked. Checking for those hoping to smuggle in cheap booze rather than for anything sinister. The music had more cheese that Edam and people seemed happy enough to lap it up. One good thing was they kept the price of alcohol to a sensible level. These sort of outdoor events seem to attract blatant profiteering rather than enabling people to have a good time.

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So I wondered and ate something and then wandered again. Then after a while I realised it was 7.30pm and most people were leaving. My body was aching and legs weren’t too happy. It’s been a long time I stood around in a field full of gay men.

It was nice to share and afternoon with people who aren’t straight. It’s a privilege to be able to celebrate diversity without the fear of being arrested or beaten up. We still have a long way to go in this country while others haven’t even left the starting block on LGBT rights.

 

Chester Bennington

What do we do when someone we know commits suicide? How do we handle it? Do we mock them for being weak and ‘taking the easy way out’? Do we simply matters and brand the person selfish? If only the answers to those questions were that simple.

I have tried to commit suicide. There I said it. I’ve wanted to. I don’t feel ashamed of saying it, but I am not proud of it. I don’t wear as a it badge in a ‘feel sorry for me’ statement. My mental health has reached crisis point and it’s acknowledging that it’s got so serious.

Others have mocked people who have tried to take their own lives. A simple disruption to someones travel plans of a few minutes is met with derision on social media, if they have found out that it was due to someones action at that critical point. It was someone on the lines or someone at the top of a building; cue the insults.

I don’t wish my worst enemy the thoughts of suicide. Believe me. If you have been there you know what it is like. Nothing that you could ever put into words or have a go at describing.

Chester Bennington’s death seems to some a natural consequence of a rock star lifestyle.

“He struggled for years with alcohol and drugs addiction” as is often reported in these cases. So do a lot of people, despite their wealth or fame, but suicide isn’t inevitable. It is the treatable manageable disease of depression that causes it. Depression and mental health problems aren’t helped by substance abuse although people seek short term fixes to alleviate the suffering.

I have come to terms with my suicidal thoughts, I acknowledge them. If they get bigger than I can handle I know I have to seek help. Recognising they are serious is first step. Stopping yourself getting to that crisis point by telling someone else you are feeling this way. I have done it numerous times. People will be happy enough to stick by you if they are good friends. It’s the pain of not reaching out to someone at that point that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Years and years

Why no one told me about this album I will never know. 10/10. Love it. This song is about him.

There’s a scratch on your shoulder
Crushes me like, crushes me like lead
And I wanna get older
All the things I want I really shouldn’t get

If I triumph, are you watching?
Can you separate everything for me?
You used to work me out
But you never worked it out for me

There’s a scratch on your shoulder
Crushes me like, crushes me like lead
And I wanna get older
All the things I want, I really shouldn’t get

If I triumph, are you watching?
Can you separate everything for me?
You used to work me out
But you never worked it out for me

And your head looks good
I wanna love it so much
I wanna be the one
I wanna do what you love

And I was lying
I don’t really wanna be fine
It’s all over

And there’s a scratch on your shoulder
It crushes me like, it crushes me like lead
And I wanna get older
And all the things I want I really shouldn’t get

Jesus to a child – George Michael

“Jesus To A Child”

Kindness in your eyes
I guess you heard me cry
You smiled at me
Like jesus to a child
I’m blessed I know
Heaven sent and heaven stole
You smiled at me like
Jesus to a child
And what have I learned
From all this pain
I thought I’d never feel the same
About anyone or anything again
But now I know

When you find a love
When you know that it exists
Then the lover that you miss
Will come to you on those cold, cold nights
When you’ve been loved
When you know it holds such bliss
Then the lover that you kissed
Will comfort you when there’s no hope in sight

Sadness in my eyes
No one guessed, well no one tried
You smiled at me
Like Jesus to a child
Loveless and cold
With your last breath you saved my soul
You smiled at me
Like Jesus to a child
And what have I learned
From all these tears
I’ve waited for you all those years
Then just when it began
He took your love away
But I still say

So the words you could not say
I’ll sing them for you
And the love we would have made
I’ll make it for two
For every single memory
Has become a part of me

You will always be … my love

Well I’ve been loved
So i know just what love is
And the lover that I kissed is always by my side
Oh the lover i still miss.

Never been on a Pride march

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It should be on my bucket list shouldn’t it? I never have been a march in celebration of my sexuality. In the 80s I joined the church and marched for Jesus. It was an interesting time to walk in celebration of something. But for your sexuality? I mentioned in the previous post about people who wanted a march for straight people.

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The above explains it better than I ever could. Straight people have never fought for human rights regarding their sexuality, to be acknowledged that they aren’t freaks or some medical curiosity. Beaten up or abused because of loving someone of the same sex. I acknowledge that not everyone is going to be happy or overjoyed at same sex relationships but others don’t have the right to impose on people’s human rights.

I was called names when I was growing up, bullied by other pupils when I was a kid at school. They called me ‘poof’ and ‘bent’ it wasn’t regularly or intense, just by one or two lads you thought it was hilarious. Others probably had no idea, that I was gay, but it did leave a lasting mark. I know I was different and there certainly wasn’t a support network that is provided for young people in schools that there is now.

It seems that some people are deliberately provoking the LGBTI community or have a general lack of understand and empathy for those us in minorities groups.  I just hope it’s ignorance rather than hate that is fuelling it.