At school, there was a friend in my class who was a lesbian. To be honest, I didn’t think anything of it. She was cool, I liked her. She could always draw amazing fake tattoos on my forearm. To me, I didn’t get why anyone gave two hoots who she fancied.
The day it dawned on me that this was not everyone’s thought-process was one I’ll always remember.
Her sister, who was also gay, took her own life. It was heartbreaking.
A teacher took our friendship group out of assembly to inform us our friend wouldn’t be in school for the next few days and to delicately explain what had happened.
My friend and her sister, had been kicked out the family home due to their sexuality.
They’d moved into a small caravan together. And things were getting increasingly tough as her sister struggled to earn enough to look after them both.
This was probably why my friend never ate lunch too. She always said she wasn’t hungry or was on a diet. But now I’m writing this, the dots have connected and, I realise it’s more likely she didn’t have a choice.
I can only imagine the emotional weight that must’ve been on her sister’s shoulders. Feeling unloved and unwanted. Abandoned by her mum and dad. Rejected. Forced to feel shame about who she is. And she was probably feeling like she was failing her sister too.
This painful story is shockingly not uncommon.
Opinions have changed as years roll by and it feels like we’re growing into a more accepting society. Thank God. But it’s looking like a long, old journey. I saw a statistic the other day saying 1 in 3 transgender people end up homeless. 1 in 3!
To stand tall being the real you takes courage.
And even more so when you don’t fit into the “societal norm” (whatever that is). The LGBTQI+ community still face tough times, judged and shunned because they’re being true to themselves.
What I love about Pride month is it highlights the issues in rainbow colours, and adds glitter and sparkle to otherwise very dark stories. To me it feels like a huge, overwhelmingly-positive wave of love and joy and acceptance.
Whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, gender fluid, pansexual, asexual, or straight… Whatever your sexuality, however you identify… Have the courage to be proud of who you are.
Because “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside.”
(These are the powerful words of Lin-Manuel Miranda – They move me to tears every single time I watch the clip of his Tony acceptance speech on Youtube. If you’ve never seen it, I implore you to watch it, tissues at the ready.)
This pride month, what can you do to add a little more colour into this world of ours?
- Maybe you’re going to a Pride March? (the wave at it’s most powerful)
- Or add a rainbow flag filter on your profile pic?
- Maybe you’re gonna paint your nails rainbow colours?
- Or bake rainbow cupcakes with your sister? (with edible glitter!)
Tell me all your colour-love ideas in the comments below.
It might feel like a small gesture. But you know as well as I do, the little things add up. Seeing colourful rainbow nails on a perfect stranger might make someone feel less alone. Better to be surrounded by signs of love.
I want to live in a place where every sexuality, gender, and race is equal and embraced and loved.
Happy Pride Month!
P.S If you’re going through a dark time yourself, you don’t have to go through it alone.
Here are some of the sites I know to have been life-changing and immensely helpful.
You could also chat about it with your nurse or GP.
Anyone who has any other good sites or places to go, please comment below.
P.P.S As the title suggests, this is not the only impact of LGBTGI+ hate that’s impacted my life. I’m sad to say it’s been scattered throughout many chapters.
The one I hold closest to my heart is when one of my darling sisters was wrestling with her own identity. Questioning if she felt female? Or more like a ‘he’? Or somewhere in the wide spectrum in between? Her path has not been flowers and sunshine, there have been dark, distressing times. And I am more grateful than words could ever portray that she decided not to take her life, like my friend’s sister.
Love to you all, xxx