30 years ago yesterday (February 11th) Mark Ashton died.  Founding member of Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners, and real-life hero of 2014 film Pride had been diagnosed with HIV/Aids just twelve days earlier.

It’s poignant to mark the anniversary in 2017 when there’s a genuine and growing sense of the kind of protest and solidarity that Mark led in the 1980s. And especially so in February, LGBT History Month, which started with news items that definitely show progress (progress, not perfection). The Turing Pardon came into effect and new HIV infections across England have decreased by a third in one year.

Stigma not sexuality affects your mental health

Three new reports highlight the unsurprisingly links between LGBTQ identities and mental health:

  • An Australian study makes it clear poor mental health doesn’t come from your sexuality, but probably the stigma and sexual trauma of growing up gay in a heteronormative world.
  • It’s even worse for LGBTQ people brought up religious, who are 12 times more likely to experience poor mental health.
  • In London, 40% of LGBTI people have poor mental health. That’s 32,000 people in total.

What’s the solutions? Good support networks, GPs trained on inclusion and the end of institutionalised homophobia in the church. Expect this week’s Church of England General Synod to be all talk and no action on that one.

This book is… not allowed?

Transgender author Juno Dawson has been on a schools tour promoting her new young adult novel Margot and Me. At the start of the week, one parent was angry her 12 year old daughter came home with This Book is Gay. And unrelated on Friday, Buzzfeed News revealed Juno’s visit to a Catholic school had been cancelled in a transphobic shun. So that’s another two reasons to support #SREnow.

Hashtag Love

If you need a burst of internet-style hugs, look at two hashtags that didn’t mess around. #احب_المثليين_ولست_منهم (‘I’m straight and I love gays’) showed a remarkable display of rainbow solidarity from Saudi Arabia, while #BlackGaysSlay started by Mikey in Detroit is equally as empowering to scroll through.

Buy me a Valentine’s Day card. You’ve still got time. Last post isn’t til 5pm. And you only need to pop to Sainsbury’s. Or send one to your MP. Really.

Down Under and Out

Same-sex marriage is back on Australia’s political agenda. This week, its Parliament heard any bill legalising same sex marriage would ‘destroy the whole human race’. Enter reality TV show Bride and Prejudice. Chris invited his devout Jehovah’s Witness parents to his wedding (in Florida, where it’s legal), telling them ‘you can choose all of me, or you can choose none of me.’

Buzzfeed summed up the whole story of the show and outpouring of social media support.

Follow me on Twitter @JoeyKnock for more #LGBTQProgress news throughout the week.