Primary schools and LGBT lessons!

Primary schools and LGBT

There is currently a huge outcry about the fact that primary schoolchildren are being introduced to the concept that LGBT people exist in society.  This is been driven by extremists in the Christian, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim communities.  Yes, the same Muslim communities that wants primary schoolchildren to be taken and mosques and shown them their way of life, seems equality is a one way street for them!

For those of you who remember section 28, this was a law passed by the Tories in 1988. This did alot of damage and there are thousands  LGBT people who were not here as a direct result of section 28.  You may think I am being dramatic when I am not the self-harm rates and suicide rates among LGBT young people are high, reportedly four or five times currently and in the learly 2000s it was sevent times so back in the late 80s it would have been even higher (stats weren’t collated in part due to section 28) The improvement in part thanks to section 28 no longer existing.homophobia. But it thatis not a leap of imagination to ascertain that while section 28 was in force and LGBT young people in schools were denied support and education around being LGBT that many would have to took their own lives, plus the huge numbers of young gay men who were not an given access to safer sex messages because even talking about being gay in schools was banned who become HIV + and died in the days before the meds were available.

Now language similar to that that was used when section 28 was introduced in 1989 is being used, indoctrination, perverting children to a gay lifestyle, being told being gay is acceptable and that teaching about LGBT people will make them the gay.  People objecting that they’re too young know about such things yet they are  not  too young to know about heterosexual relationships, remember there not being told about gay sex.  What are they being taught I can tell you it’s simply children’s books, one features a story about two male penguins who set up a nest together and raise a chic called tango.  The other is the girl with two mum’s who goes to the Moon for the day, it’s called Space Grl Pukes.  Another one is about the prince and his mum who wants him to marry a princess so invites all these princesses to the palace and he ends up falling in love with a brother of one of the princess’s and he marries him!.  Hardly hardcore sex or porn is it.  It makes me so angry that bigoted and small-minded people have tried to make life harder for the LGBT community.  The reality of the situation is when people say they’re too young to know is quite simply utter Bullshit.

Here is a scenario, a close family friend is gay, your five-year-old son or daughter asks why isn’t Uncle Simon married?  Who is Peter that guy a he lives with, well you know how  mummy loves daddy, yes, well Uncle Simon and uncle Peter love each other like mummy and daddy love each other in that special way, The childs most likely response would be ah Cool, so are they getting married? , well actually they’re getting married, oh cool can we go buy them a present?.  That is the reaction, you ask to the thousands of people who have primary school age children, who have LGBT family members or friends.  It’s accepted by the young people,. However many do not have LGBT or out close LGBT family members, so all that this’ll do is educate them by LGBT people up our society and their families come in all shapes and sizes and at the end of the day people just want to be accepted for who they are. SOme are likely to get homophobic messsges at home, what if they are gay? Many LGBT people realise they are different pre secondary school.

The opposition from mainly religious sectors and I’m not saying that all religions or religious people are behaving this way is born out of vehement homophobia and hatred towards our community, towards my community, towards the LGBT community. This is clearly wrong and their notions and protests against this not entertained by the Government or education establishments.

There are other more and more important reasons why it’s a good idea that primary school children know about LGBT issues, if there are no mentions of this in the family environment and the little at school, primary school then when young people are questioning the sexual orientation and coming to realise they may be LGBT usually very assumption is is bad!  So being taught tolerance and acceptance at a young age or making easier for LGBT young people to come out and feel safe and accept themselves for who they are as or realise it’s not bad because we know a primary school there were told there is OK!  Than perhaps no is by no difference in the self-harm and suicide rates between LGBT young people and heterosexual young people, no one should feel so bad about themselves and who they are will I end up and self-harm in an attempted suicide, is that what the opponents of he’s really wants!

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So today is the 17th of May, this is international day against homophobia bi phobia and Trans phobia.  It’s a again when we remember all of our LGBT brothers and sisters who have been affected by homophobia bi phobia and Trans phobia.

The vast majority of people in the LGBT Communities will have at some point in their life experienced stigma, discrimination and prejudice because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and or gender identity.  It would be safe to say that perhaps every single person who identifies LGBT has experienced this is only used once.

Even with progress in terms of equality in many of the western European countries, some Latin American countries and Australia and New Zealand.  We have to remember that there are 70 countries at least that in prison LGBT people purely because they are LGBT, sentences ranging from two years to life.  Needless to say, the societies are far from LGBT friendly so not only do they face prison they face discrimination and violence former own communities.  And a number of these countries carry the death sentence for being LGBT recently Brunei tried to introduce the death penalty for gay sex between two men.  Rightly there was an international outcry and Hollywood actors such as George Clooney were raising the profile of this situation.  Brunei eventually backtracks and said they wouldn’t stone gay men to death by having gay sex.  But they will face prison and as I said before discrimination and ostracization from their own communities and families.

Even in the UK with marriage equality, regular gay characters in all of the soap’s and now Trans characters also appearing weak our rest on our laurels we have of course the TeRFTS, Trans exclusory radical feminists who are doing all they can to whip up hatred and discrimination against Trans women.  Go as far as to interrupt gay pride Marches, obviously they forget very conveniently that these Marches were started off by the Trans community and I only that by the Latino and black Trans women and people.

In addition to this we are a climate politically of popularism and since Brexit three years ago hate crime has spiraled and this includes hate crime towards LGBT people, the people who a blaming the immigrants and people with brown faces of the country’s ills on too happy with us either.  We can’t be complacent; we can’t just carry on without at the back of our minds being aware of how under stable the political landscape is with Brexit and the likes of Nigel Forage and Tommy Robinson whipping up hatred towards minority groups.

Plus recently the work of No Outsiders an organisation that teaches primary school children about diversity and difference has seen resistence to their LGBT aspect of this with muslims and christians protesting outsode schools at what they see as indocrination of their children and language similar to that of section 28 being usedd.

So on IDAHOBIT day we need to give thanks to all those had gone before us for getting us in the position where we are today, we need to think about our brothers and sisters who were less fortunate and put international pressure on these countries to adapt am become more LGBT accepting.  There we also need to be mindful of where we’re at two and we need to ensure that straight Allies will have our backs if the political climate changes and god forbid, we get someone like the Brexit party in power.

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The effects of childhood abuse and neglect

This may not seem like a rocket science, however it needs to be remembered and addressed in a more pragmatic way, well actually in a more empathetic, compassion, caring, understanding and dare I say loving way, to support people who have been affected by this.

I’m not sure if you have seen, were still face experiment.  I ask of a parent and small baby, infant two be involved.  The parent interacts is parent normally would with a small child.  You know smiling, playing, showing love, for attention and being present.  The baby/small infant is in his element happy, smiling, giggling and truly showing its joy.  They then ask the parent to turn away, then turned back again and for her face to remain still only showed no emotion whatsoever.  The child reacts almost instantly, using its little resources to elicit the attention it had a few minutes ago.  Within a minute the child gets distraught as their parent shows no emotion, the child descends utter panic and distress, despair as its strategies on to working.  This is within minutes, the distress in the child is clearly evident.  The parent then RE engages with the child and he returns almost instantly to a state of joy and happiness again.

Again, it’s not rocket science to see all understand that if this is played out dozens, hundreds, thousands of times the emotional impact on a child in the first few years of his life could be utterly devastating to its emotional wellbeing and understanding.  We know in those first 5 to 7 years the personality is being formed, the brain is being hardwired, the programme’s it runs of being set.  Would it be any wonder that this person grows up to had issues so to speak.  The jury is out on whether this would be complex post-traumatic stress disorder CPTSD or a borderline personality disorder.  There is evidence that saw the worst serial killers had this kind of our brilliant I’m not saying that all or people who have experienced this will end up as serial killers.  But I know from my own experience emotional regulation is challenging, relationships and interactions with other people I challenging.

My own self-esteem and self-worth his battered and at times very low.  I know why this is, I have awareness of perceives that were planted so long ago and the plants are grew as a result of this.  You can never change the past, you can forgive and and forgive and forgive again and again those people involved.  You can even understand if you have a context as to why they behave this way.  However, managing the effects and affects is a challenge.  One that needs to be met with understanding, compassion, empathy, love, patience, caring and positive regard by the people involved in that individual’s life.  Looking beyond their behaviour, beyond their paranoia, beyond how they are on they are treated by circumstances beyond their control.  Mental Health Services need to have awareness of this and respond in a much more person-centred way to the needs of these individuals one size does not fit all, one therapy alone isn’t the be all and end all it takes a coordinated and holistic approach, a bit like combination therapy.

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Living with the suicidal thoughts

Living with suicidal thoughts, this is an almost daily occurrence for me.  Is it part of having complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) / borderline personality disorder (BPD) the jury is out.  I uncovered through my care files, sadistically abuse (physical, mental, emotional) up to the age of five when I was taken into care.  Being in care just exaggerated the feelings of being bad and being unlovable which my five-year-old self thought about himself.

So, I have managed this my whole life, friendships and relationships have always been a challenge for me I’ve never really understood how to be with people how to relate to them and manage my feelings.  I can go from elevating someone to god like status, then the let me down and or be out of my life and they will be downgraded to be a C***!  I have ended friendships over what people have said in a Facebook comment.  My self-esteem and self-worth so beleaguered and battled and feeling totally worthless and her ins you may be aware we tend to attract or subconsciously manipulate situations to reinforce that belief about ourselves hence me feeling suicidal on almost daily basis.  The feeling of what’s the point in going on if I am this damaged and fucked up.

Now I haven’t been a victim I’ve tried to make good my life as someone said to me make a lemonade out of the lemons.  I’ve done what I can to help others.  Since 1992 when I came out and move to London, I have done the following.  Donated £1000 to the Terrence Higgins Trust, volunteered at the Terrence Higgins Trust helping the hardship fund officer and on the gay men’s health education team.  Giving out condoms and sexual health advice on Hampstead Heath with the GMFA.  Volunteering as a trainer and designing and facilitating dozens of self-development workshops for gay and bisexual men.  Working at CLASH in and around Soho around her HIV prevention and sexual health awareness for gay men.  Supporting the droppings for sex workers, drug users and the homeless.  Setting up LGBT youth services in East London, supporting the development of an anti-homophobic bullying policy.  Coordinating sexual Health Services for gay and bisexual men in Wakefield, managing the LGBT youth group, setting up of two LGBT staff networks.  Designing and facilitating 50 LGBT awareness courses attended by 700 professionals across the west Yorkshire, setting up to LGBT staff networks, designing LGBT support resources.  Influencing Bradford NHS Services in 2011 to publicly renounce reparatory therapy and refuse to find any organisations that supported or advocated it.  Volunteered as a village angel, sexual health outreach and support her HIV clinic at LGBT foundation.  Their regular articles supporting gay men in out northwest magazine.  Volunteering at George house trust to give talks on HIV stigma an awareness.  Working at care leavers association designing commissioning tools for ccgs, produced resources to support organisations to work with care leavers and co-wrote a robust report on the health and wellbeing of care leavers and looked after children.  And so, tried to make a lemonade to make a difference.

Yet since 2011 I have experience and lung cancer scare by penal cancer scare, major lung surgery, vocal chord surgery, two redundancies, my house been repossessed and bankruptcy.  Whereas I was just managing the undiagnosed up CPTSD/BDP for all those years all of that pushed me over the fucking edge.

So, I am managing on a daily basis suicidal thought, thoughts of, it would be better if I wasn’t here.  What kind of life and my living, I’m single, no family, few friends.  I spend 95% of my time alone.  Perhaps he can understand why I feel ball while I do.  I don’t know if I will keep on managing the thoughts or whether I would take action.  I have 200 gabapentin and 30 codeine in the powder form to put into water to take one day.  I have written the note, the good bye note.  I really don’t know and I really can’t promise I won’t although I will.  That’s what living with suicidal thoughts is like.  I don’t believe if I was gone many people would be affected!

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Being punished for being honest

punished for being honest

Funny how the world is, or should I say more specifically the gay male community or use the word community loosely.  Now I have done my fair share well a lot more than my fair share to support and help the gay male community, 25 years of either paid or voluntary work in a variety of capacities from giving out condoms on Hampstead Heath, developing or running workshops for gay men, as this in abuse services for young gay men, working in promoting sexual health and HIV awareness, challenging stigma against HIV and training  more than 700 professionals around LGBT issues and volunteering to help keep the gay village in Manchester safe.  So, I am not bragging is a really fucking hate guys who are big headed and have even bigger egos, especially if they are nowhere near get in the shit together.

I live with significant and almost constant debilitating mental health issues, leaving aside the physical health issues surrounding having a neurofibromatosis which causes me a lot of physical pain and due to the nature of having tumours on nerve endings that a visible, which elicits lots of our comments on the apps.  Anyway, these mental health issues, depression, anxiety, severe body dysmorphia and relentless suicidal thoughts and idolation.

I grew up in the Care System and recently uncovered the fact I was sadistically emotionally, physically and mentally abused between the ages of nought and five when I was eventually placed into the Care System.  I have no memory of this and it’s not rocket science to work out where my issues of self esteem come from.  I went on a quest weekend last year that helps me uncover two core limiting beliefs I have these being I am bad, and I am unlovable.  So, no shit Sherlock as to how these came about, or a wanted as a child was to be loved, cared for and nurtured.  This really didn’t happen, and the bottom line is, combining neglect and the abuse the narrative is simple little me crying out for love and attention and was punished for the which physical, emotional and mental abuse.

Anyway, I am beginning to unravel all of this in order to heal and to improve my mental health.  However, I am honest about this in my profiles because I feel was only fair to be honest as I won’t just turn up and have sex with somebody.  I still carry body dysmorphia energies around my own looks and physical appearance to the points where I often don’t feel attractive or muscly enough to have sex. Anyway it basically means I am basically ignored and guys lose patience when I say I wont just turn up and shag.

Ironically this makes almost a pariah in the gay community, I find this laughable in a way because I do believe many of my day brothers carry significant mental health issues which they mask with drinking, drug taking and sex.  I am not judging before people clutch their beads and shout slut shammer at me.  He does kind of hurt the than in the community that wants expects them more than deserves tolerance and acceptance from the straight community, that the gay community can be so judgmental and isolationary towards guys with mental health issues.  However, it won’t stop me from being honest about these because it’s all part of the healing journey.

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Be PrEPared.

So with the wider use of Prep (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) HIV transmissions amongst gay men have dropped significantly, they have decreased from 2,060 in 2014-15 to 1,700 in 2015-16, while in London there was an even steeper drop.

Where as I applaud this as a good thing, I remember the days of 1500 gay men a year in the UK dying of HIV related conditions and at the same time rampant homophobia and stigma around HIV and AIDS.

However, at the same tine there has been a rise in gay men being diagnosed with one or more STIS, now both gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and syphilis can prove to be quite nasty if un diagnosed and or untreated. All three of these can be asymptomatic in the early stages and can lead to blindness in the case of Chlamydia, not to mention if you’ve not been tested to passing it on to others. I haven’t talked about the Heps B and C neither of which is picnic.

Now the whole point of Prep is to give up condom usage, as if used correctly will stop transmission of HIV now there are some caveats here such as your partner having as lower viral load as possible and you taking the meds regularly. Now I suspect that a significant number of gay men see this as a get out of jail free card pretty much like they sae Pep. I can’t help but wonder if with that and the lack of challenging risky behaviour we are encouraging an caviar attitude to taking personal responsibility in our community after all we can take pills or inject something or snort something to make us horny (i.e. forcing sex on the mind and body) now we can take something that will prevent HIV (which is a good thing if done correctly) however if guys are repeatedly taking risks and having large no’s of sexual partners then are the various sexual health agencies and NHS services complicit in supporting men to maintain unhealthy lifestyles as the behaviour remains all we have done is reduce the risk of the behaviour and we don’t really know of the longer term issues, I am talking about 5 or 10 years usage of Prep.

Now surely, we should still be focusing on working on guys to lead healthy lives? I feel that Prep is just masking the many issues that are inherent in the gay male community that many people are afraid to address out of fear of being judgemental. Now showing concern for people engaged in risky behaviour isn’t being judgemental its being kind and caring, however a significant number of gay men are so addicted to various behaviours and so afraid of dealing with their issues that see anything short of total condolence of these behaviours is seen as homophobic and being judgemental.

Now we have in the UK and most of Europe been granted total equality with our heterosexual peers so isn’t time we stopped blaming homophobia for our communities’ shortcomings and our issues and we started to take responsibility for ourselves, beginning with sorting out our mental health.

By all means continue using PrEP, but agencies and service should also be being a little more provactive rather than just dishing pills out have some conditions attached like regualr sessions where guys talk about their sex lives and challenged when its clear they are leading unhealthy lifestyle.

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Older gay guys

So I am 48 an age that many of the younger guys balk at, I’ve heard the comments on canal street in Manchester where I live that us old guys should stay home etc., some of us also have the pressure to stay in top physical condition to fulfil “daddy” status that even at 55 we are expected to be ripped and muscular.

My generation of gay male community had a lot to deal with when we came out in the late 80s and early 90s where homophobia was rampant, and HIV was claiming in the UK 1500 gay male lives a year, that’s 4 gay men a day. Like the generations before us we were the ones out and proud at a time when we were beaten and LGB hate crime didn’t exist, so we couldn’t go to the police and if we did they would say we got what was coming to us.

Our venues had their windows smashed in, our Pride Marches were pelted with rocks and insults the police didn’t take part but stood their rock solid in their homophobia towards us and 4 of us were dying every day from a disease that the government were reluctant to respond to because it only really affected faggots and druggies. The media were against headlines of gay plague etc., Celebs and MPs outed and the community vilified as deviant and perverted and yet we prevailed we stayed strong and we fought back, those of us who were out and wanted changed marched and fought back many of us were rejected by our families banned from the funerals of our partners and turfed out of our homes as the relationship wasn’t recognized in eyes of the law.

Our generation has been through a lot, there is not a man over 35 who hasn’t lost a friend or partner through HIV, who wasn’t involved in the struggle for equality. I remember my first pride in 1992 the police were stood between us and the crowd watching some of whom on our side others not, they had a look of hatred on their faces and it was obvious they rather be arresting us and not watching us parade our filth through the streets, Even on 1992 when 10,000s of attended pride it barely got a mention In the media and that was to show the extremes the butch lesbians, drag queens etc.….

So younger guys rather than judging us and thinking we don’t belong in the community or on the gay scene get the fuck over yourselves. Actually many of us don’t want your skinny arses and boyish bodies, or your squawking as we are out drinking or your attitude to us, be thankful that we created this environment for you that your coming out was easier (mostly) thanks to us, that the fact you can mince down the street openly kiss and hold hands with your fella is down to us. So ease up on us, don’t expect us to be daddies and remain in tip top condition well into our 50s (unless we choose to) or expect us to bank roll you with a younger guy wants to be an older one. Love and accept us for who we are and what we did to create the more tolerant world we live in today (yes I know we still have a ways to go yet, trust being gay is more accepted today than it was 20 years ago)

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