As I sit in front of my computer with the sun shining through the window on St. Valentine’s Day, I’m reflecting on how lucky and loved I am. I have a wonderful job, a loving partner and family and I’m confident & comfortable in my own skin.
Before you go to the loo to be sick, it’s not always been this way. As a younger man, I was very unhappy, lonely, bullied at school and told not to be myself. I was frustrated and angry with the world, because it rejected me for being a gay man.
It’s taken a lot of work to understand “me” and find my way in the world and my voice as a leader. On Monday, I attended an academy event called Values Discovery Day. The day helped me to remember the values that I hold dear and bring with me to my work. My no. 1 value is Freedom. – The freedom to be authenticity me at all times and in all places.
As it’s LGBT History Month, a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It also reminded me that others have campaigned tirelessly and fought hard, even died for the freedom I somewhat take for granted in the UK and that in some parts of the world people still aren’t free to be themselves.
If we are all going to be kind and compassionate to one another and true to ourselves, we have to lean in to our differences and gain a greater understanding of each other. So how much do you really know about LGBT history? These quiz questions from Stonewall will put your knowledge to the test.
- What is the name of the landmark event that happened in New York, 1969, that was a catalyst for the gay and civil rights movement?
- During the Second World War, the Nazis deported up to 15,000 gay men to concentration camps. What symbols were they forced to wear to identify them as homosexual?
- Which popular singer set up the charity ‘The Happy Hippy Foundation” in 2015 to benefit LGBT homeless and at-risk youth?
- Who was the real life WWII hero that the film ‘The Imitation Game’ featuring Benedict Cumberbatch was based on?
- Which former boxing promoter transitioned before going on to appear in Celebrity Big Brother?
- Schools have the duty to prevent and tackle all forms of bullying; including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and they cannot discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation against a student or teacher. True or False?
- Which contemporary Christian rock singer came out as gay in 2014?
- What date did same-sex marriages become legal in the UK? - Is it: a) 30 September 2013 b) 29 March 2014 c) 20 July 2014
So how many did you get right? Did you surprise yourself? Were the questions too easy or more of a challenge? I’ll leave you to have a think….
Finally, I look to the future for us all with light and love. LGBT History is fast becoming LGBTTQQIAAP lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual History (what a mouthful!) and the pride flag is being reimagined to reflect our inclusivity. What do you think? I kinda like it.
1. Answer: The Stonewall Riots
2. Answer: Pink Triangle
3. Answer: Miley Cyrus
4. Answer: Alan Turing
5. Answer: Kellie Maloney
6. Answer: True
7. Answer: Vicky Beeching
8. Answer: 29 March 2014.