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#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 18:Non-binary role models

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Non-binary people have a gender identity that sits outside of the (socially constructed) binary where male and female are the only options.

A non-binary person might use gender neutral pronouns they/them, or they might use he or she. They have no legal recognition in the UK.

Non-binary people are trans people. You cannot say you support trans rights and trans people if you don’t support non-binary people as part of that.

My hometown non-binary role model is food writer Jack Monroe. Fox (a filmmaker) and Owl (a columnist) are a couple, and prominent non-binary people in the media.

I’m also thinking today of my non-binary colleagues and friends. As a friend commented on my piece about trans role models, all trans (including non-binary) people are role models for being themselves when the world constantly tells them not to be.

#LGBTQHM Calendar Day 17: Different generations

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Yesterday after a morning 10k in Hyde Park with LGBT running club London Frontrunners, I was chatting to Michael. I’ve been in club member for 8 months. He’s been a member for over two decades.

I’m fortunate that I have amazing queer friendships with LGBTQ people who help me navigate my gay life now. That’s usually means me saying far too too much about my love life. But often those friends at work or at the bar are the same age as me.

Talking to older or younger generations gives a different perspective and insight. For older LGBTQ people, this might be first hand accounts of the AIDS epidemic or their first romances when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK.

For younger LGBTQ people there’s often a fearlessness in sharing their identity and being visible role models and allies to all LGBTQ communities.

We also know that bullying in school and LGBTQ youth homelessness is a huge problem as well as loneliness and isolation for older LGBTQ people.

Today is a chance to hear the stories of people who you don’t always chat with. If you have personal LGBTQ friends who are younger or older, give them a message today.

If you don’t have someone directly to talk to, then you can listen. Find out more about the work of Albert Kennedy Trust or Opening Doors London.

#LGBTQHM Day 16: Venues

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A perfect day for me at London would be:

I’m fortunate I’ve got a local friendly LGBTQ venue I can walk to (and walk in to – accessibility in many venues is nonexistent).

Perhaps there’s an LGBTQ bar, venue, memorial or public art where you live that you can pop to or tell someone about today.

If not, today you could:

What’s the local LGBTQ venues that you go to? What’s their history? I’d love to hear the stories! Comment below or tweet using #LGBTQHMCalendar.

#LGBTQHM Calendar Day 15: Trans Role Models

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Today I’m thinking of my trans friends and colleagues, for their resilience at a time when trans identities are daily undermined and attacked.

I’m also thinking of Hannah and Jake Graf, who are married and both trans. It’s an absolute joy every time they appear on Lorraine. Hannah was recently named Stonewall’s Trans Role Model of the Year.

Stonewall’s Come Out for Trans Equality videos feature lots of trans role models. Remember, being a role model doesn’t mean being perfect. It means being visible in your identity, and having behaviours you admire.

Who’s your trans role models?

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 14: Trans Flag

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Today on the LGBTQ History Month Calendar we’re learning about the third of four flags. Here’s some questions to help you (and a handy website).

  • Who designed the flag?
  • When was it first used?
  • What do the stripes represent?

Last year the British government held a consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act, so that it is easier for trans people to legally change their gender.

This opened up a lot of discussion in the press and social media, presenting trans rights as a debate.

Trans rights are trans rights. They are not a debate. Someone’s identity is not a debate.

The intensity of attacks in the media is similar to the attacks on gay and bi men in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic.

Attacks are never just limited to the media. Two in five trans people in Britain (41 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months (Stonewall, 2018).

Everyone can be a trans ally. Here’s 100 ways to do that.

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 13: BAME/PoC Role Models

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Your sexual orientation and your gender identity is only one part of who you are. It’s a hugely important part to many people, and it relates to different parts of your identity such as race, faith or belief, age and gender.

You might hear discussions on this called intersectionality, identity politics or multiple identities. It’s about how we’re never one tick box identity, but recognising in real life those different parts of who we are inter-play to form our identity.

This means your identity, and how society views it, creates a unique experience. BAME/PoC LGBTQ people have a different experience from white LGBTQ people.

(BAME means Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity. It’s a demographic term in the UK used in censuses and reporting data. PoC means People of Colour.)

Half of black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people (51 per cent) have experienced discrimination or poor treatment from others in their local LGBT community because of their ethnicity (Stonewall, 2018).

My BAME/PoC role models include articulate trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, alongside my friends Josh and Adam.

Here’s three resources to help you learn about BAME LGBTQ experiences and role models:

#LGBTQCalendar Day 12: Global LGBTQ Rights

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Yesterday, a horrific story emerged of an attack against a bi man in Algeria. This is one of over 70 countries in the world where same-sex relationships remain illegal.

Trans people also face a lack of legal recognition for their identities and forced sterilization.

While LGBTQ rights across the world are overall progressing, these hideous hate crimes and larger outrages such as in Chechnya show that progress cannot be taken for granted.

The current Presidents of United States and Brazil have been outspoken against LGBTQ identities and attempted to role back rights.

Here’s some resources to help you learn about LGBTQ rights across the world:

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 11: Music

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At the forefront of 20gayteen last year (instead of 2018) was widely released LGBTQ films and queer pop music.

Young LGBTQ artists like MNEK released albums unapologetic in their music and promotion about their queer identity. His music brings us back to a point I hope you’re learning this month: seeing someone like you on TV or on the radio isn’t just life-affirming, it’s life-saving.  

It’s important artists break through the music industry’s narrow definitions of marketable and successful. Last month on Will Young’s Homo Sapiens podcast, Australian pop start Troye Sivan wondered if he’d have more mainstream success if he wasn’t gay.

I think the question should be, would Troye be more successful if society wasn’t heteronormative at the exclusion of LGBTQ people?  

Here’s my (current) top five songs by LGBTQ artists. What’s yours? I’d love to know your music recommendations!

  • New York Pretty – Bright Light Bright Light
  • Free – MNEK
  • All For You – Years and Years
  • I Know A Place – MUNA
  • DANCE!!! – Saara Alto
  • Out of the Darkness – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie cast

#LGBTHMCalendar Day 10: Bi Role Models

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Visible bi role models matter because bi people face double discrimination of homophobia and biphobia.

This include snarky jokes or remarks such as bi people ‘being greedy’. This is not a joke. It is biphobic bullying.

Bi people also experience bi erasure, such as gay people asking why ‘straight couples’ are in the ‘gay bar’ (This also erases trans people).

More than one in four bi women (27 per cent) and almost one in five bi men (18 per cent) have experienced discrimination or poor treatment from others in their local LGBT community because of their sexual orientation, compared to nine per cent of lesbians and four per cent of gay men. (Quoted from Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain report, 2018).

I’ve learnt about being bi, biphobia and bi erasure from the amazing bi friends, flatmates and colleagues I have.

Bi identities remain overlooked and attacked. Find out and learn about a bi role model today.

You could start with Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, now available as a Barbie doll or the Faces of Bisexuality project on bi.org.

#LGBTQHMCalendar Day 9: Designers and artists

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I think Keith Haring’s unmistakable style must have been the first queer art I appreciated through his segments on Sesame Street.

i’m already planning my trip to the first major UK exhibition of his work at Tate Liverpool later this year.

You can also see one of his posters in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Their free LGBTQ tours on the last Saturday of each month are a fantastic way to hear about queer designers and queer meanings in art.

Of course it’s not just big names and big museums that can help you appreciate queer art. You can find some new contemporary LGBTQ artists in this Them article.

For the last two years, the Queer Art(ists) Now exhibition in East London has given emerging artists a space, in direct response to the retrospective focus of big galleries.

Last year’s programme is online and full of names and pieces you can find out more about.

One LGBTQ designer I’m appreciating a lot right now is Jock Mooney, whose Lorraine Kelly t-shirt caught the eye of actual Lorraine Kelly yesterday, and the boys in my local LGBTQ pub last night.

Who’s your favourite LGBTQ visual artists and designers? Tweet using #LGBTQHMCalendar.