WELCOME

About this section

YOU FILMSThree short films about this section, navigating the website, and the story behind MENRUS.CO.UK. Enjoy!

ABOUT YOU | MEN R US | 1m

NAVIGATING THE WEBSITE | MEN R US | 1m

BUILDING MENRUS.CO.UK | MEN R US | 3m

Click below to show to the icons used

  • MEN R US is comprised of six SECTIONS: YOU, MEN, BODY, SEX, STIs, and DRUGS.
  • Under each SECTION, content is listed in the INDEX or tap the book icon if you are using a smartphone or tablet.
  • Use the arrows to expand or collapse the chapter headings.
  • Quick links are listed under MORE STUFF or tap the info icon if you are using a smartphone or tablet.
  • IF YOU GET LOST there are Back to top links under every subject.
  • All LINKS open in a new window or tab and the key to the link icons are as follows:

Film or film clip
Sound clip
Photograph
Further information; eg: another website
Books
Groups or street services
Telephone; eg: support helpline
Internal link to another MEN R US section

  • A SEARCH function is located top screen right (next to DRUGS). It’s handy and we encourage you to try it!
  • There is a CONTACT US link the top right of the screen or tap the info icon if you are using a smartphone or tablet.
  • The ‘7th’ section ABOUT US contains MEN R US project info, contact details and Q&A.
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ABOUT YOU

Do it your way

Welcome to our world and the journey. As you can see, we take ourselves seriously but not too seriously. And  introductions are usually very dull, so you’re not going to get one, at least not in the traditional sense.

YOU is meant to be supportive, straight talking and fun and should help you get the best out of being gay, particularly if you’re starting out… or sneaking a peak. Getting the best out of YOU should be the same as getting the best out of life: do it your way! 

And please let us know if you have any suggestions as to how we can make YOU better. And the search function is jolly helpful!

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Sex, gender and sexuality

What does gay mean?

The word gay is most commonly used to describe people who are physically and romantically attracted to other people of the same gender (male or female). Simply put: men who have sex with other men, and fall in love with men; and women who have sex with other women, and fall in love with women.

While the word gay is used for both men and women, gay is usually used to describe men while women are referred to as lesbians.

Sexuality, sex, and gender

Before we get to sexuality (the gay bit, for the majority of you reading this) there are some basics we should cover first: namely sexuality, sex and gender. They are often lumped together when they are, in fact, different but connected components of who we are.

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Your sex

Your sex is based on the biological and physiological characteristics used to define people as male or female. These include:

  • X and Y chromosomes
  • whether you have external or internal sex organs (penis or vagina)
  • types and levels of hormones
  • hair growth
  • breast development

Some people are born intersex and have characteristics that don’t fit typical definitions of male and female, although this is rare.

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Your gender

Your gender is how you feel about yourself:

  • Your internal and personal sense of being a boy or man, or a girl or woman
  • The way you communicate, behave and identify with others
  • The acceptance or non-acceptance of your ‘membership’ to society and attitudes and behaviours it expects of you

It is not about whether you were born with a penis or a vagina.

Gender or gender identity is generally accepted to be a social invention and hundreds if not thousands of years old, depending on whether you want to look at more recent times or go back to year dot. This means it does not exist naturally but rather is a series of ideas, rules, conventions, expectations which have evolved to enable society to work, and work better (if usually for the majority).

However, this may not reflect how you truly feel, behave, or define yourself so society’s categories or pigeon holes for what is masculine and feminine have always been acceptable for some while less so for others. If you haven’t already guessed, gay men are the ‘less so for others.’

Non binary genders and gender variants

Terms primarily used by the LGBT+ communities, male and female genders are also referred to as gender binary, binary meaning composed of or involving two things (male and female).  Non binary genders refers to any gender that does not fit within the binary of male and female, genderqueer, being an example. 

The term is also used by individuals wishing to identify as falling outside of the gender binary without being any more specific about the nature of their gender. For example, a person might say “I’m not sure if there is a term for my gender but I know it’s non-binary” or “I consider myself as gender variant.”


  Illustrating Gender | Gerard Coll-Planas and Maria Vidal.

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Your sexuality

Your sexuality or sexual orientation is who you are attracted to romantically and/ or sexually

We should also include romantic orientation because we may have strong romantic relationships which do not necessarily involve sex, and where sex in itself is not necessarily the final goal or endpoint.

  • Gay and lesbian (or homosexual) if you are attracted to people of the same sex or gender
  • Bisexual or bi if you are attracted to both men and women
  • Straight (or heterosexual) if you are attracted to people of the opposite sex or gender
  • Asexual if you are not sexually attracted to either men or women
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More about gender and sexuality

Gender and Sexuality (Animation) | Kaleido Quail | Jul 2014 | 4m 46s
Understanding the Complexities of Gender | Sam Killermann at TEDx | 5 May 2013 | 16m 29s
 Ending Gender | Scott Turner Schofield | TED Talk | Nov 2013 | 16m 24s
Human Sexuality is Complicated | vlogbrothers | 12 Oct 2012 | 3m 48s
Emma Watson: HeForShe Campaign 2014 | United Nations | 22 Sep 2014 13m 15s
Illustrating Gender | Gerard Coll-Planas and Maria Vidal.
Finding Identity: An LGBTQ Pastor’s Journey | David Norse | TEDx Talks | 9 Feb 2016
Educating kids about gender norms | Elvin Pedersen-Nielsen | TEDx Talks |  19 Jan 2015
Gender is not a straight line | Charlie Hobman | TEDx Talks | 24 Jun 2015
Gender fluidity | Gabrielle Burton | TEDx Talks | 26 Oct 2013
Beyond the Gender Binary | Yee Won Chong | TEDx Talks | 13 Dec 2012
‘I’m a non-binary 10-year-old’ | BBC | 18 Sept 2016

TransLondon
TransLondon is a discussion/support group for all members of the trans community, whatever their gender identity (or identities) and whatever stage in their transition they have reached (if at all). However, all members must be trans-identified or questioning.
Gendered Intelligence
To increase understanding of gender diversity through creative ways.
GIRES
To improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people, including those who are non-binary and non-gender.
It’s Pronounced Metrosexual
Online resource about snap judgments, identity, and oppression.

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Same sex friendships

Throughout our lives, it’s not unusual for us to feel drawn to people of our own sex. Particularly when we are growing up, we experience very close friendships or crushes which are often not sexual. We also admire athletes and sports personalities, film and pop stars.

Finding someone attractive or handsome or stunning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gay, and certainly doesn’t mean you’re odd or weird. For some of us it is an indicator that we are gay and, in time, we go on to have relationships with people of the same sex. For others, feelings change and they find that they are attracted to the opposite sex, or even both sexes.

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Coming out to yourself

I know I am different

I KNOW I AM DIFFERENT [YOU]From the day boys are born, it is assumed/ we are told/ we learn (take your pick) that we are heterosexual, will have children with a girlfriend or wife, and will follow gender orientated work and career paths.

For the first 10 years or so of our lives before we start thinking things out for ourselves, most of us are actively encouraged to be heterosexual or straight whether it’s the clothes we are given to wear, the toys we are given to play with, the TV we are allowed to watch, or the male role model our father represents.

Even though much has changed in recent decades, this is underpinned by the ideal of traditional family life, still the backbone of many societies, reinforced by heterosexual stereotyping on TV and in the media.

But, and its a big but, assuming and reinforcing a person’s sexual orientation which has at least 1 in 10 chance of being something else is confusing and stressful, especially as we hit puberty when hormones rage and emotions surge.

It can be really tough when you have this feeling that you are different in some way, without the words to put your finger on it and a fear that if you try to talk about it you will we laughed at, not taken seriously or rejected by family and friends.

The bottom line is: this is the stuff of many many many coming out stories.

While the Internet provides a space where people can share their experiences, the path you take should be yours, and always be up to you. There is a massive difference between watching a few YouTube videos and thinking that being gay or coming out is easy peasy.

Yes, there have been noticeable improvements in the way British society views homosexuality but, while we can point at same sex partnerships and gay marriage (and a hurrah for gay bishops, politicians, and sportsmen) there is a long way to go before it will accept us in the same way as it does people who are, say, left-handed.

This has more to do with society’s hang-ups around sex and sexuality than with individual gay people. More often than not, once people know someone who is gay, their prejudices and fears about homosexuality disappear altogether.

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What makes us gay?

Lots of theories have been put forward including genetic factors and brain structure, child rearing and overbearing parents, and the society and culture we grow up in. Then there’s the Exotic Becomes Erotic (EBE) theory.

Take your pick. Browse the Internet and you’ll find 10 more, some of them seemingly barking. Even today these theories are fiercely debated, new ones appear while others fall away, the nature vs. nurture argument often taking centre stage.

One thing we do know is that no one chooses their sexuality. It is innate and natural to us. And, at the risk of repeating ourselves, one thing we do know is that no one chooses their sexuality. It is innate and natural to us.

Some gay people knew they were different, if not gay, from as young as 5 or 6 while, for most of us, our sexuality is determined by our early teens. Some men have girlfriends, get married and have families before they realise who they are  – coming out later on in their life, in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s.

Male homosexuality influenced by genes, US study finds The Independent | 2 Mar 2015
Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene, research finds The Telegraph | 2 Feb 2014
Xq28 Wikipedia
Biology and sexual orientation Wikipedia
How our genes could make us gay or straight Washington Post | 4 Jun 2014

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Doubt and uncertainty

You don’t choose your sexuality, it chooses you. The journey to understanding and accepting this can be as quick as it can be slow. We may have been attracted to guys for many years before making a more meaningful connection or have only recently begun to question our sexuality as a result of a crush on a friend or a glance on the street that we can’t get out of our mind.

Doubt, uncertainty and questioning is not only usual and common, it’s also healthy. This doesn’t mean that everyone who questions their sexuality in this way is actually gay; some men explore same-sex relationships (or the idea of them) and then decide that they are in fact straight. Some people realise that they prefer people of the opposite sex, while others feel that they prefer people of the same sex. Some people realise that they’re gay later in life, and some know it from an early age.

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Growing up gay

For many young gay or bisexual people adolescence can be a particular time of anxiety and fear and later may look back on this part of their lives with sadness and regret. Gay teenagers can become painfully aware that they are not like other people and many become withdrawn and lonely, convinced that only they are feeling this way. They learn to hide their true feelings or act as others want them to, for fear of being ostracised, ridiculed or rejected by loved ones and friends. Above all, there can be a sense that we are somehow different, that we are abnormal and that we are going to disappoint people.

Some people believe that if they get married to the opposite sex their gay feelings will disappear. It is unusual for this to happen. Most store up a great deal of stress and anxiety for their later years. Breaking out of a clearly defined role, or even attempting to shift the definition of it, involves tremendous courage and strength. The conflict between the relationship with a spouse and family and the need to be true to oneself can be enormous.

Check out our links (right) for support groups in London and helplines.

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How many gay people are there in the UK

A ‘one in ten’ rule (10%) has long-held in popular culture as a ‘reliable’ guesstimate of homosexuality rates. With a UK population of just over 64 million, this means there would be around 6,400,000 people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Public Health England’s 2017 study “Producing modelled estimates of the size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population of England” systematically reviewed existing sources of data on the LGB population and synthesized this data into a new robust estimate: 2.5% to 5.9% with caveats.

Producing modelled estimates of the size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population of England | Public Health England | Jan 2017
Why do we need an estimate of the LGB population? | LGBT Foundation

However, depending on who’s crunching the data, percentages vary:

  • The Office for National Statistics claims that just 1.5% of people in Britain are gay, lesbian or bisexual
  • The Treasury estimated 6% when analysing the financial implications of the new Civil Partnerships Act
  • Stonewall say 5-7% is a reasonable estimate
 Gay Britain: what do the statistics say? The Guardian | 3 Oct 2013 
 Demographics of sexual orientation are difficult to establish for a variety of reasons… Wikipedia

Gay in Britain: People’s experiences and expectations of discrimination Stonewall | 2013
Living Together: British attitudes to lesbian, gay and bisexual people | Stonewall | 2012
Serves you right: Lesbian and gay people’s expectations of discrimination | Stonewall | 2008
Love Thy Neighbour: What people of faith really think of homosexuality Stonewall | 2008

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Why do I want to come out?

This is the most important question to ask yourself. If you answer something like…

  • “Because I’m proud of who I am”, or
  • “It is impossible to be fully happy if my sexuality remains hidden” or
  • “I want to meet other gay people like me”

… then these are good reasons. If you’re doing it principally to shock or hurt people, think again. The person who gets hurt could be you.

Benefits of coming out

  • A relief to unload the secret you have been keeping
  • You no longer have to live a lie and can live as you want to live
  • Feel better about yourself and improve your confidence and self esteem
  • Develop closer, more genuine relationships with friends and family
  • It can be easier to make gay friends, date and have relationships
  • You won’t be afraid of people finding out any more
  • All of the above will not happen at once

Considerations when coming out

  • Not everyone will be understanding or accepting
  • There may be negative reactions and/ or rejection
  • People may treat you differently
  • People may not listen, understand or take what you are saying seriously
  • People may try talk you out of it
  • Your personal safety may be at risk
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Coming out to yourself

Acknowledging that you are gay can take days, weeks, months, years or, in some cases, never. Some of us probably hoped these feelings were ‘just a phase’. In time, we realise that these feelings are not going to go away and we have to find a way of accepting them and dealing with the fact that we are sexually attracted to members of our own sex. This realisation is the first stage of coming out.

There is no hard and fast rule when this point is reached. It’s your life so take your time – do things for yourself and only when you are ready. There are several stages in the process of coming out. The fact that you are here reading these words is a starting point in itself so we encourage you to read, browse and click away.

For some, it happens in their teens, for others it may happen much later in life. Some people describe this time of accepting their sexuality as being like riding an emotional roller-coaster. One day they felt happy and confident and ready to tell everyone; the next they felt confused, scared and relieved that they hadn’t. You may want to talk to someone who understands what this is like. It’s a nerve-racking time – the fear of rejection is likely to be immense.

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Coming out stories

Coming Out – Your Stories | LGBT Foundation
When I Came Out | When I Came Out
Coming Out Stories | Coming Out Stories (USA)
Coming Out Stories | Huffington Post

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Coming out stories online

There are many heartfelt and thoughtful coming out stories. Here are a few which have caught our eye. Don’t be put off that some of them are a few years old (!) as the issues are surprisingly similar across decades and generations. Let us know if you think there’s another story we should include.

Tom, UK | 4 May 2011 | 12m53s (Minor Sound Sync Issue)
Connor Franta, US | 8 Dec 2014 | 6m27s
Troye Sivan, US | 7 Aug 2013 | 8m17s
Mark Ludford, UK | 26 Aug 2014 | 6m36s
Nathan Henderson, US | 3 Aug 2014 | 15m21s
Ian McKellen, UK | Anderson Live | 14 Dec 2012 | 2m13s
Mandeep Jangi, US | I’m From Driftwood | 13 Aug 2014 | 4m54s
Jonny Benjamin, UK | 29 Sep 2014 | 2m48s
Tom Wicker, UK | I’m From Driftwood | 30 Jul 2014 | 5m29s

And for a something a little less usual (but actually quite moving) there’s:

My Coming Out Story | Ivan Cruz | 23 Jan 2014 | 6m31s

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Books

 This Book Is Gay UK | James Dawson | Hot Key Books (2014)
On Growing Up: A Guide CAN | Ryan Kerr (2010)
 The Complete Guide to Gay Life for New Explorers US | Michael Ryan | Author House (2014)
 It’s OK to be Gay: Celebrity Coming Out Stories UK | Edited by Alison Stokes | Accent Press (2013)

While you may instinctively reach for Amazon we urge you to visit your local bookshop instead. For those of you visiting or if you live in London  Gay’s the Word bookshop is a must go to destination. Two minutes walk from Russell Square tube station, it’s is the only specifically lesbian and gay book store in the UK. And here’s your map. It recently appeared as a primary location in the film Pride which, BTW, we thought was rather good. Gay’s the Word is also on Facebook with books, events and news.

We would also like to give a nod to Terry’s Sanderson’s “How to be a Happy Homosexual: A Guide for Gay Men” (The Other Way Press; 1986 – 5th 1999 revised edition) which was the essential coming out bible for many years. Also, Patriic Gayle’s “Together: A Guide to Love, Life and Lube” (Gay Times Books, 2002), the first book of its kind to look at gay men’s health holistically. Though out of print, both books are available.

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Out and proud people

Once considered a potentially career ending show stopper, a growing number of celebrities, professionals, and sports persons have come out as gay and lesbian… and continue to do so.

It’s OK to be Gay: Celebrity Coming Out Stories UK | Edited by Alison Stokes | Accent Press (2013)
List of notable gay, lesbian or bisexual people Wikipedia
List of notable gay sports men and women Wikipedia

Rainbow List 2015 Stonewall

 Keegan Hirst… comes out as gay | The Guardian | 16 Aug 2015
What happens when a sportsman comes out as gay? | The Telegraph | 17 Aug 2015
Out Athletes Out Athletes

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Coming out films

There are a ton of sensitively well-told coming out stories, and these are the films that have caught our eye. Sometimes you have to look past the ridiculously good looks but, hey, that’s film making. Don’t be put off that some of them are a few years old (!) as the issues are surprisingly similar across decades and generations. And if you don’t like subtitles: please get over it. It’s so worth it!

  1. The Way He Looks (Trailer) POR | 2014 | Peccadillo Pictures [15]
  2. Just a Question of Love (Trailer) FRA | 2000 | Millivres Multimedia [15]
  3. Free Fall (Trailer) GER | 2013 | Peccadillo Pictures [15]
  4. Make the Yuletide Gay (Trailer) USA | 2009 | TLA Releasing [15]
  5. Balls (Trailer) GER | 2005 | Peccadillo Pictures [15]
  6. Latter Days (Trailer) USA | 2005 | TLA Releasing [15]
  7. Shelter (Trailer) USA | 2007 | here! Films [15]
  8. Dorian Blues (Trailer) USA | 2004 | TLA Releasing [15]
  9. Defying Gravity (Trailer) USA | 2010 | Millivres Multimedia [15]
  10. My Beautiful Laundrette (Trailer) GBR | 1985 | Working Titles [15]
  11. Beautiful Thing (Trailer) GBR | 1996 | Channel 4 Films [15]
  12. The Mulligans (Trailer) USA | 2008 | TLA Releasing [15]

In The Dark | Ryan Beene | 29 Jun 2017 | 30m1s

A gay college student, Austin, is hiding his sexuality from everyone in his life, until he meets Eric. Austin is instantly attracted to Eric’s comfort in who he is. When they start a relationship, Austin may have to choose between keeping Eric in his life or keeping his secret. Written by Ryan Beene, and directed by Luke Nelson and Sarah Flores, this gentle and intelligent is film is cut many other films of this genre which why we’ve embedded it. Great performances and a satisfying ending. The sound is a little uneven in places but bear with it. There is also project to produce a feature length film based on the film, more details here.

In The Dark | Ryan Beene | 29 Jun 2017 | 30m1s

Understanding | Terry Rayment | Kodak | 19 Dec 2016 | 3m 0s

“Amid the DIY digital age, it’s often difficult to remember the beauty of a 35mm film. Kodak teamed up with director Terry Rayment and cinematographer Kate Arizmendi to tell a beautiful story with a forgotten medium. The short film, “Understanding”, was shot with a KODAK VISION3 500T 5219.” Out | Glenn Garner | 23/12/16. “The film chronicles the relationship between a teenaged boy and his father as he struggles to accept his son’s homosexuality, speaks to the brand’s willingness to share socially relevant stories that have the power to spark change. Captured as a powerful and poignant slice of life, “Understanding” communicates the values of acceptance and equality.” Shoot Publicity Wire | 27/12/16

Understanding | Terry Rayment | Kodak | 19 Dec 2016 | 3m 0s

Out In The Line Up: Surf Film | 2014

You don’t have to be into surfing to appreciate this inspiring and thoughtful documentary, which is why we’re giving it its own paragraph. “Two gay surfers unite to uncover the taboo of homosexuality in surfing. Together they embark on a global journey to speak with people from all corners of the surfing community about an aspect of surf culture that has until now remained hidden. As their journey unfolds, they uncover a culture of fear, secrecy and exclusion but are inspired to affect change by connecting people, provoking discussion and looking to the sport’s grass roots values of freedom of spirit and love for the ocean.”

Out In The Line Up: Surf Film | Trailer | XTreme Video 8 Nov 2014 | 2m04s
You can stream the film from GaySurfers.net

Caught on camera: the homophobic world of surfing | The Guardian | 10 Oct 2014
Changing the Tide for Gay Surfers | Advocate.com | 2 Jun 2014

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COMING OUT SUPPORT

Telephone helplines

Coming Out London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard (LLGS)
Welcome to Switchboard, a place for calm words when you need them most. We’re here to help you with whatever you want to talk about. We understand how anxious you might feel before you pick up the phone.
0300 330 0630 | 10am-11pm every day
LLGS PO Box 7324, London N1 9QS

LGBT Foundation
We all need information and support from a friend in the know and LGBT Foundation’s Helpline Service provides thousands of hours of advice and support to thousands of people every year.
0300 330 0630 | 10am-10pm every day
LGBT Foundation, 5 Richmond Street, Manchester M1 3HF

Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLG)
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG) is a national voluntary organisation dedicated to supporting parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual daughters and sons.
0845 652 0311 | FFLAG, PO Box 495, Little Stoke, Bristol, BS34 9AP

  Albert Kennedy Trust
Supports up to the age of 25, who are (or think you might be) lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex, homeless, sofa-surfing or living in crisis and/ or living in a violent , hostile or abusive home.
London: 020 7831 6562 | 020 7405 6929 | contact@akt.org.uk
Manchester:  0161 228 3308 | contact@akt.org.uk
5 Oak Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 5JD
Newcastle: 0191 281 0099 | contact@akt.org.uk
1 Osborne Road, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 2AA

ChildLine
Private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything – no problem is too big or too small. Call them free, have a 1-2-1 chat online or send an email. Go to their website for more.
0800 1111 | Always open

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Online help and support

 Being Gay is OK Being Gay Is OK
R U Coming Out R U Coming Out

Coming Out The Lesbian and Gay Foundation
So…you think your child is gay? Guide for parents Stonewall
Coming out Stonewall
University Guide Stonewall
Homosexual or gay? Avert
PostcardOUT PostcardOUT

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Groups (London)

Groups for people questioning their sexuality, coming out, support, and gay youth groups have all but disappeared in London these days. A sign of the times, a lack of funding or maybe men don’t want or need them any more.

 Turning Point and Matrix Groups | London Friend (Central North)
86 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DN Map | 020 7833 1674

LGBT Group (Young People) | Step Forward (East)
234 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AA Map | 020 7739 3082

First Steps (14-17yrs) Step Out (18-25yrs) | East London Out Project (East)
56-60, Grove Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 9BN Map | 020 8509 3898

Metro LGBTQ Youth | The Metro Centre (South)
141 Greenwich High Road, London SE10 8JA Map | 020 8305 5000

Mosiac LGBT Youth Centre | Mosiac LGBT Youth Centre (West)
Locations: Hanwell, Uxbridge and Kilburn (address withheld) | 07931 336 668

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Coming out to others

Coming out of the closet

When we disclose or tell others that we are gay, the phrase associated with this process is ‘coming out of the closet’ or ‘coming out’ as a figure of speech. Who you tell is really up to you. You may decide to tell your best friend or a member of your family. Remember, once you have told someone about your sexuality it can become known to others within a short period. This is human nature and there is very little you can do to prevent it. Be prepared to deal with any negativity that this disclosure may bring.

The Beach | Three Flying PIglets for MEN R US | 2017 | 31s

Where did it come from?

The word ‘closet’ was first used to mean secret as early as the 1600s, but not in relation to a person’s sexuality. ‘Closeted’ also came into use around the same time and meant to keep something hidden or secret from others. ‘Closet case’, ‘closet queen’, or ‘closet homosexual’ began to be used during the middle of the 20th century to mean that someone was hiding their homosexuality from others. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first printed use of the term ‘coming out of the closet’ to describe declaring one’s sexuality, was written by Sylvia Plath in the January 16, 1963 issue of London Magazine. It is also believed to be the first time that these two terms were combined into one phrase, and a new meaning was born. By the 1970s ‘coming out the of closet’ had come into common usage and ‘come out’ or ‘coming out’ was often used as a shortened version of this longer phrase, although ‘coming out’ can also be a reference to the social custom of a débutante coming out as mentioned above. ‘Come out’, ‘coming out’, and ‘coming out of the closet’ are terms that are now mostly used in reference to a person telling family members, friends, co-workers, or others that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Our language and the meanings of words are constantly changing and evolving, just as our society changes and evolves.

Sources: Dictionary of American Slang, 3rd ed., HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1997. The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., vol. III, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989. The Queen’s Vernacular: A Gay Lexicon, by Bruce Rodgers, Straight Arrow Books, San Francisco, 1972. Word’s Out: Gay Men’s English, by William L. Leap, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1996.

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Who should I tell first

Many gay people describe how important it is to tell someone outside the family first. However, while there have been some moving coming out ‘live’ moments on YouTube we don’t recommend this is where you come out first. Make sure it’s someone you trust and whom you believe to be open minded and supportive.

Think carefully if you decide to confide in a teacher at school – they may be obliged to tell someone else what you have told them. Find out the school policy on confidentiality before you go ahead.

If you have decided to tell your family it may be easier to talk to one parent before the other. You could then ask them for help in approaching the other.

Sometimes brothers and sisters are a good starting point as they are likely to understand more about homosexuality or bisexuality. Make sure you understand why you are going to tell them. One of the best reasons to come out to your family is to become closer to them.

There are a number of typical responses that parents, particularly, are known to say:

  • “How can you be sure?”
  • “I went through a phase like this at your age.”
  • “You’ll grow out of it.”
  • “You haven’t tried hard enough with the opposite sex.”
  • “How can you know at your age?”

Perversely, at the one time you need support and acceptance you may find yourself defending who you are. It may come as a shock if whomever it is you tell may say the strangest and most hurtful things. Be prepared for this and perhaps practice answering the above responses.

It’s definitely worth thinking about how you respond to these questions before you tell anyone. You might find it helpful to discuss these questions first with a trusted friend or a lesbian and gay helpline or switchboard.

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Where, when and how

  • Choose somewhere neutral and safe
  • Make sure you have time to sit down quietly together with plenty of time to talk
  • Try not to over-script or sound to formal or give too much information at once
  • Try to be calm and be non-confrontational
  • Remember that this might be the first time they have thought of you this way
  • Their first reaction might not be how they actually feel
  • Remember that it probably took time for you to come to terms with it
  • If the person you want to tell is stressed or tired it may be a good idea to delay
  • Remember to also listen to what others have to say
  • Give people a chance to think, and process and have time to get used to it
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Things people say

When you come out to someone, or say you are questioning your sexuality, people can come out with some rubbish. It usually comes from a place of love (yawn) but responses can range from the thoughtful and supportive to thoughtless and downright insulting. In no particular order, here are our top 20:

  1. “You’re just going through a phase.”
  2. “Are you the man or woman?”
  3. “You can’t be gay – I’ve see your dick.”
  4. “What will the neighbours say?”
  5. “So what about grandchildren?!”
  6. “You’re just confused.”
  7. “You need counselling.”
  8. “Go to church and God will love you.”
  9. “When did you choose to be gay?”
  10. “Have you got AIDS yet?”
  11. “I don’t see any make-up?”
  12. “You can’t be gay; you’ve had girls.”
  13. “Do you really want to be gay?”
  14. “Have you had bum sex?”
  15. “Which do you like better, men or women?”
  16. “We can go shopping.”
  17. “I love gay people, really.”
  18. “Don’t tell anyone!”
  19. “Some of my best friends are gay!”
  20. “Did you touch that biscuit?”
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Bad coming out experience?

LOADING...There’s no getting around it but sometimes the first person you tell and confide in is not there for you, becoming hostile, argumentative unkind, even violent.

Get help and support now!

You may feel hurt, vulnerable and lonely but there are some truly great organisations who are there for you.

  • Switchboard GBT+ Helpline 0345 3 30 30 30 (10am-11pm),
  • LGBT Foundation 0300 330 0630 (10am-10pm daily)
  • Albert Kennedy Trust 020 7831 6562 (up to the age of 25)
  • Samaritans 0845 7 90 90 90 (24/7)
  • If you feel unsafe, can you stay with a friend or other family member (even if you don’t tell them why)?
  • If you are in imminent danger or in fear of your life call  999. No ifs or buts.

Daniel’s story

This is not an easy watch but straight guy Chris Thompson was reduced to tears after watching a shocking video made by 19 year old Daniel Pearce from Georgia, US who was abused by his family after he came out. Chris’s response is enlightening as it is moving.  Chris Thompson US | Daily vlog Channel | 28 Aug 2014 | 6m28s. A month later  Trent and Luke | 12 Sep 2014 | 10m04s posted this video which gives the response of some of their LGBT friends who had not seen Daniel’s video. And there is a happy-ish ending.

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Support for your family

This can be a difficult and traumatic time for some members of your family. You may feel unable to answer all their questions or to deal with all of the issues that come up for them. They, in turn, may not feel comfortable talking about homosexuality or bisexuality with you.

This can be a difficult time if your happiness is dependent to some degree on your family’s reaction. If this is the case for you, we would advise that you talk it over with someone who has been through it already.

Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLG)
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline

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Bite sized wisdoms

  • Coming out is rarely all good or all bad
  • Don’t let anyone pressure you into coming out
  • Don’t lose sight of your own self-worth
  • Be prepared for any reaction
  • Be prepared that once you start to tell people others might find out quickly
  • Give others time to process – after all, you may have given yourself time (perhaps years) to get used to the idea
  • Be clear about your own feelings about being gay
  • If you are still having doubts, or if you’re feeling depressed or guilty, it may be best to get some support first, perhaps from a counsellor or telephone support line
  • Don’t come out during an argument or use your sexuality to hurt or shock
  • Get support before coming out from a local support group or trusted friend or relative
  • Don’t come out when you’re drunk (or have taken other drugs)
  • Tell them that you’re still the same person as you were yesterday
  • Have with you sources of support; eg: leaflet or helpline number
  • If you decide to tell school friends make sure that you can trust them and that they’ll be supportive
  • If you decide to tell a teacher or counsellor at school or college check out their confidentiality policy first
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So you've told someone...

You are either balancing on the edge of an erupting volcano or dancing with joy on the moon – or both!

Even if the experience wasn’t as you expected, people describe a huge weight being lifted from their shoulders, of feeling euphoric and giggly and childlike again. Don’t feel guilty about it – go on and enjoy yourself, you deserve it.

The thrill of revealing something long kept hidden can give a tremendous sense of relief. Use this new found energy wisely and remember that close friends and family may be worried that you have changed out of all recognition.

In a Heartbeat | Beth David and Esteban Bravo | 31 Jul 2017 | 4m05s

Reassure them

Reassure them that nothing has really changed, only their perception of you. In fact after a while they may even realise that the ‘new’ you is better than the ‘old’ you. Most people will experience many positive reactions. For example, ‘We’re so pleased you could tell us’ or ‘Well, we had already guessed and were just waiting for you to say something’.

Some gay people have also met with the response, ‘So am I’. Equally, if it hasn’t gone too well – don’t lose heart.

Time is a great healer

Time is a great healer and things will get better. If you are experiencing rejection from close friends, ask yourself whether they were really so close if they couldn’t support you through this important part of your life? If your family is reacting badly, this is normal. They may be experiencing a whole range of emotions including shock, grief, guilt, blame, disappointment and lots of pain. Remember how long it took for you to come to terms with being gay.

Many parents will feel a loss in some way – perhaps of future grandchildren or weddings and other family gatherings. This can blur their happiness and their love for you. Here are a few examples of how parents and family can react negatively:

  • “My parents refused to talk about it. They dismissed it and said they didn’t want the subject brought up again. I decided that I was going to continue to live my life as a gay man. I stopped going home as often as I used to and attending family occasions. It is only now, three years later, that they have begun to broach the subject with me.”
  • “My family say that they accept that I am gay but they don’t want to see me being affectionate with another man. They say that they won’t be able to cope with it.”
  • “I was at a wedding recently and everyone was there with their partners. I was upset that I couldn’t bring mine. Everyone asked the usual embarrassing questions about girlfriends and I just had to smile and make excuses. I didn’t want to row with my family about it, but it’s just not fair.”

At the end of the day, your parents are still your parents and, in time, few reject their children because they are gay. If they go quiet on you, give them time to react and think about what you have told them. If they ask lots of questions, it’s a good sign. It may help to think of it as though it is in your interests to respond to them – they are likely to be the same ones that you have asked yourself many times along the way.

If things are so bad that you feel like giving up with the whole process of coming out, it’s important to talk to someone about your fears and concerns. It’s probably better to persevere and keep going – after all, you have come this far and in many ways it would be difficult or impossible to go back now. The next person you talk to will probably give you a huge hug and say that they were relieved that you had found the courage to tell them, and that they had suspected that something may have been on your mind for a long time.

Understanding | Terry Rayment | Washington Reader Award 2016

“It wasn’t easy telling my family that I’m gay. I made my carefully worded announcement at Thanksgiving. It was very Norman Rockwell. I said, “Mom, would you please pass the gravy to a homosexual?’ She passed it to my father. A terrible scene followed.”

Bob Smith, American comedian and author

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When shall I tell them?

As with everything in life, timing is everything. Choose the moment carefully – do it when you (and they) have lots of time – not last thing at night when you are likely to be more tired and emotional. Think about the way you are feeling, allowing for nerves, which are perfectly natural under the circumstances.

Don’t do it if you are feeling angry or emotionally sensitive – this will affect what you say and how you say it. For obvious reasons don’t do it when you are drunk (even if you think you need a drink to steady your nerves). And remember – only when you are good and ready.

A friend once said that he knew he was ready to tell his family only when he realised that, if he had to, he could live without their support. Fortunately for him (and his family) this didn’t happen.

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How should I tell them?

There is no rule that says you have to sit down and talk to others about this; there are other ways. You might like to write to people first and give them time to react in their own way. This is probably a better approach if, for example, you live a long way from your family or friends. Remember that you have probably taken a long time to get used to the idea yourself, and others might need the same amount of time.

Writing a letter allows you to take your time and to compose your thoughts carefully and clearly. It can also give the person you are writing to space to react and consider the news before discussing it with you. This could be a useful approach if you are expecting a hostile or negative reaction.

If you decide to talk face to face, remember not to rush it or to do it when one of you is in a hurry or distracted. It probably won’t help to memorise a script either – you can guarantee that some people do not respond in a predictable manner. If you are worried about their reaction, tell them of your fears and that you don’t want to hurt them but need to be honest with them.

Remember to listen to what they have to say – it should be along the lines of a chat; try not to make it a speech or a performance!

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Your doctor and dentist

A good doctor (GP) and dentist are hard to find, but a vital part of maintaining your health. Of course if we’re younger we think we’re invincible, but you never know when you might need one, and finding one urgently when you don’t have one and you’re not well is a pain!

Unfortunately, the response by GPs and dentists varies enormously and while it shouldn’t matter – indeed they should be willing to support you – there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

If you’re looking for a GP or dentist, consider phoning up the prospective practice anonymously to ask whether it’s ‘gay friendly’ and gauge the response. You’ll probably get the “all the doctors are professional” response but go with your gut feeling and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This may seem absurd but disclosing your sexuality to your GP may mean that it is recorded on your medical notes. Medical records can be accessed by a range of organisations including life insurers, which can raise the whole question of HIV and testing.

You never know when you might need your GP or dentist, and having to handle all the homophobic crap during a home visit (when he meets your boyfriend) can make matters worse.

If you don’t have one, register now!

Find a GP | NHS Choices
Find a Dentist | NHS Choices
Telling your GP and dentist you have HIV | GMFA

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Coming out at school

If you are:

  • thinking about coming out at school
  • worried about coming out at school
  • coming out at school
  • being forced or bullied to come out at school

then you should find all the help and support you need in YOU.

Don’t forget there is online help and support, there are telephone helplines if you want to talk, and we’ve helpful stuff on bad coming out experiences and bullying at school.

And three things to remember:

  • you are not alone
  • there is help and support for you
  • you’re fabulous!
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Coming out in the forces

The journey to allow LGBT people to serve in the British military has been a long one. In the late 90s Stonewall spearheaded the movement to rescind British military prohibitions against openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. It took over 10 years to achieve this but the ban was lifted in 2000 when a new general code of sexual conduct was introduced.

Scroll through armed forces multimedia media platforms today and they are keen to promote good working conditions for all existing and potential LGBT employees and ensure equal treatment. However, the reality can be very different. For example, if you have come out but are then the victim of bullying then approaching your commanding officer (CO) is unlikely to impress fellow serving soldiers. Challenging underlying cultural and attitudinal values that allow discrimination to flourish simply doesn’t change over night, so without diminishing the significant steps the armed forces have taken in recent years it will take time.

Proud 2 Serve provides support, information and networking to LGBT persons serving, ex-serving personnel and their families both at home and abroad. It is a little disappointing there is not more consistency across the Armed Forces as it would appear the Army has a website, the Royal Air Force has a Facebook page, while the Royal Navy (only) has a news article.

UK armed forces recruits to be asked if they are gay The Guardian (2015)
Gays in the military: The UK and US compared BBC News (2010)
How the forces finally learnt to take pride The Independent (2009)

 On the same side: homosexuals during the Second World War History Extra (2014)

Sexual orientation and the military of the United Kingdom Wikipedia
Sexual orientation and military service Wikipedia

Out In The Army: My Life as a Gay Soldier | James Wharton | Biteback Publishing | 2014
“A heartfelt account of a gay man’s journey from recruit to veteran, as well as a non-judgemental appraisal of an institution’s efforts to move with the times. On both counts it is a worthwhile read.” Soldier Magazine

Jeff Shenge: Striking Images of Gay Military | SuchIsLIfeVideos | 15 Nov 2010 3m24s

Free Fall | 2013 | Peccdillo 
Two fellow police officers meet whilst on a training course, one of whom lives with his pregnant girlfriend.
Burning Blue | 2014 | Lionsgate
Based on the 1992 play by DMW Greer about two US Navy pilots and a US Navy accident investigation which becomes a gay witch-hunt during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era.

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Coming out at work

Some of us prefer not to discuss our personal lives at work – it’s got nothing to do with why we’re there and it’s as straightforward as that. However, human nature being what it is, colleagues often guess or find out, particularly if you don’t talk about ‘her’ or get involved in the ‘who shagged who on Saturday night’ office gossip. For other guys, feeling able to be themselves and chat about what they did at the weekend – perhaps with a boyfriend – is an important part of who they are.

While it may be possible to gauge the kind of response you’ll get, the only way to find out for certain is to come out again – but, in this instance, to the people you work with. Furthermore, there are some circumstances where coming out can seriously affect your job security and promotion prospects. The bottom line is being careful and seeking advice first.

Unions

In a nutshell, trade unions represent people at work. They protect their members, making sure that workplaces are safe, and that pay is fair. For these reasons join one, but particularly if you experience discrimination, harassment or unfavourable treatment at work. There are many trade unions in the UK but here are a handful you may have heard of:

List of trade unions in the United Kingdom | Wikipedia

 An overview on employment protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual people Stonewall
 Top 100 Employers 2016 | 2015 | Stonewall

 Challenges for LGBT people in the workplace and how to overcome them The Guardian 28/7/14
LGBT employees who feel unable to come out at work more likely to leave their jobs – and cost business millions The Independent 3 May 2015
Experiencing hate at work LGBT Foundation

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What's next?

You’ve reached the end of our section on COMING OUT. We hope it’s been an interesting and helpful read.

There comes a time to stop talking (or reading for that matter) and get on with living your (new) life exactly how you want to.

There comes a time to start meeting other gay people and to explore your sexuality safely and confidently. A common reaction to this statement, especially if you don’t live in a city is “Fine – but where do I start?”

Remember that being gay is about expressing yourself in the way you want to. And just because you’ve come out doesn’t automatically mean you have to have sex. The important thing is you take your time until you feel the time is right for you. 

Despite the stereotypes, there is no single way of being gay. We are all as different as any other group of people. Going out with friends and meeting new ones at clubs or parties can be great. But the scene isn’t for everybody and it’s not everything there is to being gay.

As with any group of people, there will be some you get on with and some you don’t. If you feel that you have little in common with the gay people you have met so far, you could try different ways of contacting more gay men; take a look at our Activities section.

Above all, be yourself!

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Heteronormativity

Heteronormativity is the way that heterosexuality (or being ‘straight’) is seen as the norm, or in some cases the superior. It is the bias expressed by a society that can be obvious, but which is often subtle and pervasive, whereby individuals are conditioned to expect others to live and behave as if everyone were heterosexual.

Like sexism, heteronormativity is firmly entrenched in the prevailing customs, traditions and institutions of society and often leads to the neglect of issues facing gay men and lesbians. Heterosexuality also leads to the dilemma of whether to hide the fact you are gay or to make a decision to ‘come out’, with all that this entails. Homophobia feeds on heteronormativity, and both can be equally damaging. When services are heteronormative they can, at best, prevent the needs of our community being met and, at worst, cause someone to become disenfranchised or isolated. Examples could include our presumptions about family life (“You met that special woman yet?”) or prevent access to core services we all need (“What do you mean you were raped?”).

Heteronormativity and homophobia within society create an atmosphere where gay men can feel less valued and more vulnerable than their heterosexual counterparts. While landmark legislation in recent years now plays an important part in setting out what it is people can say and do, there remains a mismatch between what the law states and how people actually behave and treat gay men, and other individuals from the LGBT community.

Heteronormativity | Wikipedia

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Homophobia

Homophobia

Homophobia is the active targeting of lesbians and gay men based on ignorance, fear and prejudice. It is rooted in simplistic and stereotypical views of what people from the LGBT community are. It can take the form of verbal abuse, physical violence, or attacks in the press or media. It humiliates, degrades, intimidates, insults, excludes, silences or harms us on the basis of our actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Homo: a group (genus) of primates that includes modern humans (Homo sapiens)
Phobia: an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of a person, object or situation that poses little real danger but provokes anxiety and avoidance.

The term homophobia was coined in the late 1960s by psychologist George Weinberg. Weinberg used homophobia to label heterosexuals’ dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals as well as homosexuals’ self loathing. The word first appeared in print in 1969 and was subsequently discussed at length in Weinberg’s 1972 book, Society and the Healthy Homosexual

Homophobia | Wikipedia
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia | 17 May

What is a hate crime Stonewall | 2015
What is a hate crime Report-It.org.uk | 2016
How to report hate crime: 10 reasons why you really should Stonewall | 2014
Online reporting | Galop | 2016
Report LGB&T Hate Crime Stop Hate UK | 2016
Hate crimes and hate incidents Stonewall for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission | 2009
Homophobic Hate Crime: The Gay British Crime Survey Stonewall | 2013

Stonewall Anti Bullying | Stonewall 24 Feb 2014 | 4m39s
Football Against Homophobia | Dulwich Hamlet | 4m51s
Shh! Silence Helps Homophobia | LGBT Youth Scotland | 7m02s

Stand Up! – Don’t Stand for Homophobic Bullying | BeLonGTo, Ireland | 4m24s
Stand Up at Work! | BeLonGTo, Ireland | 7m20s 
Against Homophobia | Stand Out, Australia | 5m25s 
No to homophobia | ALSO, Australia | 1m05s

Writing about this here isn’t easy…

Writing about this here isn’t easy for us, especially if think you might be gay or are thinking about coming out. Equally, it would be wrong to sugar-coat something when the truth is that not everybody likes us. And they can be pretty mean about us!

Without losing sight of the extraordinary strides made though civil partnerships, gay marriage and the Equality Act 2010, scratch the surface and homophobia is alive and well in the UK, some might say rife, once you leave the relative ‘safety’ of larger UK cities.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come out, but just because your favourite celeb is out, and guys on YouTube say it’s OK to be gay, doesn’t necessarily make your journey easier. Most gay men understand what it is like to be discriminated against because of their sexuality. We grow up in a world where heterosexuality is the assumed norm and anything different is often considered unnatural or perverted. Even when friends and families give us love and support, we are usually aware of others who don’t or won’t.

Outside the UK the EU LGBT Survey 2013 makes for worrying reading. Further afield, Russia continues to crack down on homosexuality, Isis perpetuate murderous punishments for people who are gay, and there over 70 countries around the world where homosexuality is illegal.

78 countries where homosexuality is illegal Erasing 76 Crimes blog (Jan 2015)
Isis fighters throw another ‘gay’ man off a tower and stone him to death when he survives fall The Independent | 4 Mar 2015
Russia’s new crackdown on human rights Amnesty International UK (Jan 2014)
EU LGBT survey: Poll on homophobia sparks concern BBC News (2013)
Holding hands with another man in public has made me realise how naïve I’ve been about homophobia in the UK The Independent, Iain Lee (2015)
Gay in Britain: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people’s experiences and expectations of discrimination Stonewall (2013)
The Hate Crime Report: Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in London GALOP (2013)
Homophobic Hate Crime Stonewall (2013)
How to report hate crime: 10 reasons why you really should Stonewall (2014)
History of violence against LGBT people in the United Kingdom Wikipedia

Drag queen and gay rights activist Panti Bliss (aka Rory O’Neill) gave a barnstorming performance at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin at an event to protest at the treatment of debate around homophobia on Radio and Television of Ireland (RTE). Panti Bliss, Ireland [Abbey Theatre] 2 Feb 2014 | 10m47s

Support

Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline | 0300 330 0630 | 10am – 11pmHomophobia Support
The LGBT Foundation | 0345 3 30 30 30
Young Stonewall
ChildLine | 0800 1111 (up to 19yrs)

TheSite
R U Coming Out

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Hate crime

17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign

17-24-3017-24-30 represents the combined dates of the London nail bomb attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho which took place on the 17th, 24th and 30th April 1999. Its primary aim is to organise and facilitate the April Acts of Remembrance #AAR to mark the anniversaries of the attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho, and National Hate Crime Awareness Week #NHCAW in October.

17-24-30’s secondary aim is to spread a message of H.O.P.E. across the UK and beyond to encourage local authorities (including councils and police services), key partners and communities affected by hate crime to work together.

 17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign

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Hate incidents and hate crime

HATE CRIME 2012-16 v2Hate incidents and hate crime are acts of hostility or violence directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are.

The police and Crown Prosecution Service have agreed a common definition of hate incidents. They say something is a hate incident if the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on:

  • disability
  • race
  • religion
  • transgender identity
  • sexual orientation

This means that if you believe something is a hate incident it should be recorded as such by the person to whom you are reporting it. All police forces record hate incidents based on these five personal characteristics.

Examples of hate incidents:

  • verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
  • harassment
  • bullying or intimidation by children, adults, neighbours or strangers
  • physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing, spitting
  • threats of violence
  • hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, hate mail
  • online abuse; eg: Gaydar, Grindr, Facebook, Twitter
  • displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
  • harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, vehicle
  • graffiti
  • arson
  • malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise.
Examples of hate incidents

Experiences of hate crime

  • 4 in 5 LGBT people had experienced hate crime
  • A quarter had experienced violent hate crime
  • A third experienced online hate crime
  • A tenth experienced sexual violence as part of a hate crime

The Hate Crime Report 2016 | GALOP

Hate crime statistics

According to Home Office statistics homophobic hate crime has seen a risen by 12.9 per cent in the last year (2016).

Hate crime, England and Wales, 2015-2016 | Home Office | 13 Oct 2016
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2015-2016 [PDF] | Home Office | 13 Oct 2016

Man ‘glassed for holding hands with boyfriend’ in unprovoked homophobic attack at Peckham Wetherspoon pub | Evening Standard | 10 Mar 2016
Met out in support of National Hate Crime Awareness week | Metropolitan Police | 8 Oct 2016
National Hate Crime Awareness Week: ‘I still get called p**f on the street in London’ | Evening Standard | 15 Oct 2016
Gay man subjected to vile tirade of homophobic abuse: ‘It’s happening more and more often’ | Evening Standard Wed 16 Nov 2016
Gay couple subjected to vile homophobic attacks on consecutive nights say ‘it just doesn’t make sense’ | Evening Standard | 17 Dec 2016
Gay couple ‘beaten up on London-bound train in horrific homophobic attack on Valentine’s Day’ | Evening Standard | 17 Feb 2017

National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership | National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership
The National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership brings together 35 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) organisations from across England, Wales and Scotland. Delivered for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the partnership led by the LGBT Consortium aims to increase the reporting of Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Hate Crimes and incidents and improve the support available to those targeted.

When is a hate incident also a hate crime?

When hate incidents become criminal offences they are known as hate crimes – a criminal who breaks the law. Any criminal offence can be a hate crime if it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. When something is classed as a hate crime, the judge can impose a tougher sentence on the offender under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Incidents which are based on other personal characteristics, such as age and belonging to an alternative subculture, are not considered to be hate crimes under the law. You can still report these, but they will not be prosecuted specifically as hate crimes by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Examples of hate crimes

  • assaults
  • verbal abuse or threats
  • criminal damage
  • harassment
  • murder
  • sexual assault
  • theft
  • fraud
  • burglary
  • hate mail (Malicious Communications Act 1988)
  • causing harassment, alarm or distress (Public Order Act 1988).
Examples of hate crimes

 

What can you do about a hate incident or crime?

If you’ve experienced a hate incident or crime you can report it to the police. You can also report a hate incident or crime even if it wasn’t directed at you. For example, you could be a friend, neighbour, family member, support worker or simply a passer-by.

When reporting the incident or crime you should say whether you think it was because of disability, race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or a combination of these things. This is important because it makes sure the police record it as a hate incident or crime.

You may be unsure whether the incident is a criminal offence, or you may think it’s not serious enough to be reported. However, if you are distressed and want something done about what happened, it’s always best to report it. Although the police can only charge and prosecute someone when the law has been broken, there are other things the police can do to help you deal with incident.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some hate crimes start as smaller incidents which may escalate into more serious and frequent attacks – so it’s always best to act early.

If you’re being repeatedly harassed, should you report all the incidents?

If you’ve experienced hate crime, it may have been just one isolated incident. But sometimes, you may be repeatedly harassed by the same person or group of people. It’s best to report all the hate incidents you experience to help the police get the full picture. If you’re in this situation, it may be a good idea to keep a record of the incidents to help you when you contact the police.

Hate Crime Report 2016 | GALOP
Homophobic Hate Crime: Gay British Crime Survey 2013 | Stonewall
 Hate Crime | Citizen’s Advice

Support

Homophobia Support GALOP  | 0207 704 2040
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline | 0300 330 0630 | 10am – 11pm
The LGBT Foundation | 0345 3 30 30 30
Young Stonewall
ChildLine | 0800 1111 (up to 19yrs)

TheSite
R U Coming Out

 

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Bullying

Bullying in school

While this section focuses on people in school or college, bullying still occurs in the workplace and other settings.

Bullying can cause long-lasting damage to young people and badly affects the schools and colleges that take no measures to tackle it. Homophobia can affect any pupil or student, whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight, and this form of bullying can be especially confusing, vicious, isolating, and life-changing.

All schools have a duty of care to ensure the safety of, and to protect the emotional well being of, every person in their care. Schools need to be aware of the homophobia endemic in British schools, and its effects on learning, health, and self-esteem. Anti-bullying activities can improve pupils’ behaviour, social relationships, and level of academic achievement.

If you are experiencing bullying

If you are experiencing homophobic bullying at school, you may be:

  • Questioning or unsure of your sexuality
  • Struggling with your studies
  • Playing truant or avoiding classes
  • Feeling bad about yourself and your future
  • Feeling frightened or alone

Examples of bullying are when people

  • Write vicious and hurtful comments on social networking sites and/ or post offensive pictures
  • Verbally abuse or threaten you and/ or name call; eg: gay, faggot, fairy, poofter, bum boy, batty boi, fag
  • Exclude you from conversations, social groups, parties, and invitations
  • Throw things at you, unintentionally bump into you, hit you, and/ or graffiti your possessions
  • Out you by telling other people or spreading rumours that you are gay
  • Deliberately misuse pronouns when addressing you; eg: referring to you as she if you are male

What to do

  • The most important and brave thing to do is to talk to someone. There are people and organisations who can listen to you, understand you, and respect your confidentiality
  • Do not make contact or engage with the bully
  • Do not delete anything you receive. For help to take screen shots: Windows | iPhone, iPad | Mac | Android
  • If you think you are in physical danger or fear for your life call 999

Support

Homophobia Support Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline | 0300 330 0630 | 10am – 11pm
The LGBT Foundation | 0345 3 30 30 30
Young Stonewall
ChildLine | 0800 1111 (up to 19yrs)

TheSite
R U Coming Out

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Mental health matters

Mental health matters

We have a large and rather wonderful section on head stuff and your mental health, click away below:

MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS | MEN R US

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SIGMA RESEARCH

Sigma Research

Picture1Sigma Research is a social research group specialising in the behavioural and policy aspects of HIV and sexual health. It also undertakes research and development work on aspects of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health and well-being. While this section concentrates on the Gay Men’s Sex Survey (1993-to date), Sigma’s research covers a wide range of issues affecting gay men and you are encouraged to explore their website.

Gay Men’s Sex Survey

In 1993, Sigma Research carried out an on-the-spot survey of men attending the London Lesbian and Gay Pride festival, instigating an annual survey that has grown to be the largest in the world and an institution on the UK summer gay scene. The National Gay Men’s Sex Survey (GMSS), also known as Vital Statistics, has occurred 17 times in the 24 years since and now recruits exclusively online.

The content of the survey is developed in collaboration with health promoters, within the framework of Making it Count The questions cover a range of demographics, health indicators, sexual behaviours, HIV prevention needs, use of settings in which health promotion can occur and recognition of national interventions. The weight given to each area varies each year, and the data collected is treated as cumulative, building a detailed picture of gay men and bisexual men and HIV over time.

Sigma Research | Sigma Research
State of play: findings from the England Gay Men’s Sex Survey 2014 | Sigma Research
Final Reports: Gay Men’s Sex Survey | Sigma Research

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LGBT RIGHTS

LGBT rights

LGBT RIGHTSThough there has been progress in the past 50 years or so for LGBT people around the world, it remains a divisive, religious, and political issue. While some countries have decriminalised homosexuality, outlawed homophobic hate crimes and over 20 countries recognise same-sex marriage; others are becoming increasingly oppressive, and brutal, like Chechnya. Having sex with someone of the same sex remains illegal in over 70 countries, and punishable by death in 10. We’ve pulled together a number of organisations working to promote equality, though it’s worth remembering that LGBT human rights campaigners risk violence, discrimination, and arrest.

LGBT rights by country or territory | Wikipedia
LGBT rights | The Guardian
LGBT News | BBC

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Amnesty International UK

AMNESTYAmnesty International UK works to protect men, women and children wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. As a global movement of over seven million people, Amnesty International is the world’s largest grassroots human rights organisation. It investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilises the public, and helps transform societies to create a safer, more just world. It has received the Nobel Peace Prize for its life-saving work.

We all have the right to be treated as equals, regardless of our gender identity or sexuality. But being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex is a crime in many countries around the world.

LGBTI rights | Amnesty International

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Human Rights Watch

Human Rights WatchHuman Rights Watch (HRW) is a non-profit, non-governmental human rights organisation made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 1978, HRW is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups. Each year, HRW publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media.

Human Rights Watch | Human Rights Watch

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International lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex association (ILGA)

ILGAILGA is a worldwide federation of more than 1,200 member organisations from 132 countries campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights. Established in 1978, ILGA enjoys consultative status at the UN ECOSOC Council. It publishes an annual world report and a map on legislation criminalising or protecting people on the basis of their sexual orientation or recognising their relationships.

ILGA | ILGA

Maps and sexual orientation laws

Overview | ILGA
Criminalisation | ILGA
Protection | ILGA
Recognition | ILGA

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Peter Tatchell Foundation (PTF)

Publication1Seeks to promote and protect the human rights of individuals, communities and nations, in the UK and internationally, in accordance with established national and international human rights law.

The PTF seeks to raise awareness, understanding, protection and implementation of human rights, in the UK and worldwide. This involves research, education, advice, casework, publicity and advocacy for the enforcement and furtherance of human rights law. They have charitable objectives and provide public benefit.

Peter Tatchell Foundation | Peter Tatchell Foundation

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Equaldex

EqualdexCollaborative knowledge base for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement. The site aims to crowdsource every law related to LGBT rights to provide a comprehensive and global view of the LGBT rights movement.

Equaldex | Equaldex

 

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Global Voices

Global VoicesBorder-less, largely volunteer community of more than 1,400 writers, analysts, on-line media experts, and translators. It curates, verifies and translates trending news and stories that you might be missing on the Internet, from blogs, independent press and social media in 167 countries. Many of the world’s most interesting and important stories aren’t in just one place. Sometimes they’re scattered in bits and pieces across the Internet, in blog posts and tweets, and in multiple languages. These are the stories on which Global Voices accurately report, and translate into more than 40 languages.

Global Voices | Global Voices

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Age of consent

FAITH & RELIGION

Faith and religion

Homosexuality and religion | Wikipedia
Ranking religions on acceptance of homosexuality… | Religion News Service | Jun 2015
Homosexuality and Religion | SexInfo Online (US)
The Global Divide on Homosexuality | Pew Research Center (US) | Jun 2014
Religion and being gay | Being Gay Is OK

“The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World” Debate | Intelligence Squared | 21 Oct 2009
For the motion: Ann Widdecombe | Clip starts at 14m40s
Against the motion: Stephen Fry | Clip starts at 21m01s

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LGBT+ News

LGBT news sources

Attitude | Attitude
The Advocate | The Advocate
BBC LGBT | BBC News
Buzz Feed LGBT | Buzz Feed
Gay Star News | Gay Star
Gay Times | Gay Times
Queerty | Queerty
The Gay UK | The Gay UK
Huff Post UK LGBT | Huff Post
Huff Post Worldwide | LGBT Huff Post Worldwide
Huff Post Queer Voices | Huff Post
Pink News UK | Pink News
Pink Sixty News | Pink Sixty News
Vice LGBT | Vice

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News aggregates

Google | Google
News Now | News Now

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Fluffier stuff

Cocktails and cock talk | Cocktails and cock talk
The Daily Grind | The Daily Grind
LGBT Feed | LGBT Feed

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VLOGS

Vlogs

Building this website and researching content we’ve trawled and stumbled across some great vlogs. While some are a tad saccharin, self indulgent and/ or shouty others are a great watch, and a testament to how far we have come in recent years. So, here are a handful of vlogs that have caught our eye, and our selection.

Calum McSwiggan | Calum McSwiggan | UK
Doug Armstrong | Doug Armstrong | UK
Dan and Jon | Dan and Jon | UK
Trent and Luke | Trent and Luke | UK

AsapSCIENCE | Mitchell and Gregory | CAN

Mark E Miller | Mark and Ethan | USA
Ethan Hethcote | Ethan and Mark | USA
wickydkewl | Davey Wavey | USA
Two Beeps | John and Jeremy | USA
V-Squared | Luke and Vinny | USA
Lush | Matthew Lush | USA
Travis and Jack | Travis and Jack | USA
Matt and Blue | Matt and Blue | USA

Lorenzo and Pedro | Lorenzo and Pedro | PT

And a nod to Caleb Anthony and Kordale Lewis, from Atlanta USA, who sadly broke up shortly after we first drafted this section in 2015:

Kordale and Kaleb | Kordale and Kaleb | 13 Jan 2015 | 9m06s
Instagram’s hot gay dads Kordale and Kaleb break up | news.co.au | 31 Jul 2015
Kordale And Kaleb, Gay Black Fathers, Respond To Twitter Outrage Over Instagram Photos | Huffington Post | 17 Jan 2014

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Definitions and vocabulary

Definitions and vocabulary

LGBT Definitions (Glossary of Terms) | Stonewall (UK)
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Definitions | Human Rights Campaign (USA)
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Glossary of Terms | We Are Family (USA)
LGBTTIQQ2SAA+ Definitions | Revel & Riot (Canada)

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LGBT or LGBTQIAABAACG

LGBT or LGBTQIAABAACG

LGBTQIAThe initials LGBT stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender or transsexual. and are intended to emphasise inclusion and a diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures. Or, to put it another way, anyone who is not straight (heterosexual).

The term LGBT is also an update of LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) and usually the preferred term when referring to our community (though there is also disagreement by LGBT people about this). Before we were called gay, the term homosexual was, and to some extent still is, used. Before that we called pansies, queers, and deviants, for example.

More recently, the letter ‘Q’ is sometimes added for those who identify as queer or those who are questioning their sexuality. People also define themselves as intersex or asexual so we need at add an ‘I’ and an ‘A’.

This is perfectly understandable though we are running the risk of becoming LGBTQIA, or is it LGBTIQA? And what about our gay rights allies, should it then be LGBTQIAA? And how do we include those who define themselves as bigender, androgyne, agender, cisgender. and genderqueer. We’re not making light, but nor are we going to use LGBTQIAABAACG at MEN R US. Instead we are going to use LGBT+ unless someone has a better (and practical) idea. And, yes, we love everybody!

The LGBTQAlphabet |  Equinox/ LGBT Community Center, NYC | 5 Jun 2017
LGBT Myths Debunked | BuzzFeedYellow | 14 Jun 2015 | 2m10s
16 LGBT Coming Out Secrets | Buzz Feed Yellow | 7 Jul 2014 | 1m59s
History of LGBT Characters at DC | DC Entertainment | 5 Jun 2015 | 7m16s
Moment Obama Heckled at LGBT Reception | BBC News | 25 Jun 2015 | 2m26s

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LGBT HISTORY MONTH

LGBT History Month

With a different theme each year, LGBT History Month is celebrated in February in the UK and around the world including the USA, Berlin, Greenland, Brazil, Australia, and Hungary. The overall aim of LGBT History Month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. This is done by:

  • Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) people, their history, lives and their experiences in the curriculum and culture of educational and other institutions, and the wider community
  • Raising awareness and advancing education on matters affecting the LGBT community
  • Working to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBT communities
  • Promoting the welfare of LGBT people, by ensuring that the education system recognises and enables LGBT people to achieve their full potential, so they contribute fully to society and lead fulfilled lives, thus benefiting society as a whole.
LGBT History Month | LGBT History Month (UK)
LGBT History Month | Wikipedia
Timeline of LGBT history in the United Kingdom | Wikipedia
The Story Behind the First LGBT History Month | Advocate | 2 Sep 2015
Gay History and Literature (Essays) | Rictor Norton
The UK LGBT Archive | The UK LGBT Archive

Gay’s the Word (Facebook) | Gay’s the Word

Camden and Islington LGBT History Month

Camden and Islington LGBT History Month coordinated by Camden LGBT Forum is believed to be largest single contribution to this event in the UK.

 Camden and Islington LGBT History Month 2017 Events Booklet PDF Download | Camden LGBT Forum

As a precursor to Camden and Islington LGBT History Month to promote the event, Three Flying Piglets has made a several short films over recent years with local volunteers both in front of and behind the camera.

Flash Mob Feast | Three Flying Piglets | 2017
Together – We Make LGBT History | Three Flying Piglets | 2015
I’m Going | Three Flying Piglets | 2014
Jimmy Somerville Message for I’m Going  | 2014
I’m Going – Extended Version | Three Flying Piglets | 2014

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Labels

Labels

LabelsWe often use labels because they fit and better connect us with others like us. For example, “I’m a gay man”, “I’m a bear” or “I’m part of the LGBT community” Others find them rigid and fixed, preferring instead to self-identify as queer, or pansexual, for example, or refuse to be labelled at all. We’ve also more about labels and types in MEN.

Society is often quick to lump everyone who is not heterosexual under a ‘homosexual’, ‘gay’ or ‘LGBT’ banner. By adhering to society’s labels one tends to think of these terms of having to be this or that, one thing or the other, leaving other people out in the cold.

Cut out the labels

The thing about labels is that you cut them out and replace them with your own. What you call yourself is up to you. The important thing is that you choose what feels comfortable for you. There is a growing movement of people who refuse to be labelled and are striking out to define themselves on their own terms. Having said that, society feels safer by putting people in boxes (for all sorts of things) so while you may not want a label it can be a struggle defining yourself to others.

Reduced to one thing

There’s also something to be said about being reduced to one thing, and few if any of us like this. Gay men, particularly, are often reduced to sexually transmitted infections, sexual acts, or hedonism when, in fact, we are (of course) so much more. It’s one of the reasons why we built this website; being gay is an important part of who we are but it’s not all that we are.

People, the media especially, will define us in whatever ways are convenient and easy, often at the expense of accuracy and recognising our individuality. While some of us may be gay, lesbian, bi or trans (or whatever we choose to call ourselves) we are also parents, workers, learners and explorers. At times we feel indignant, other times we shrug and realise that’s just the way it is, but there are other times when we’re actually quite pissed off!

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Symbols & signs

Symbols and signs

Over many years, lesbian and gay communities around the world have used symbols to identify who we are. Often worn as badges and displayed as flags, some of the better known symbols include the rainbow flag, the pink triangle, the lambda and gender symbols. Probably the most recognisable symbol today is the rainbow flag, but other symbols have been an integral part of our history in the fight for recognition and equality. While the red ribbon is not a symbol of being gay, many gay men wear it, which is why it is interpreted by some as an indication that the wearer is gay; this is not necessarily so. This section is by no means exhaustive, in fact it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

LGBT Symbols | Wikipedia

Rainbow flag

Use of the rainbow flag by the gay community began in 1978 when San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in response to the need for a symbol that could be used year after year. The flags had eight stripes, each colour representing a component of the community: hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit. Due to production difficulties (hot pink was not commercially available), pink and turquoise were removed from the design, and royal blue replaced indigo. This six-colour version spread from San Francisco to other cities, and soon became the widely known symbol of gay pride and diversity that it is today. If you’re looking for a gay venue, a flag above the door is a welcome signpost.

Rainbow flag | Wikipedia
History of the Rainbow Flag | Time | 29 Jun 2015 | 1m32s
Gilbert Baker: The Gay Betsy Ross | In The Life Media | 16 Jun 2010 | 7m39s
2014 Rainbow Flag | Gilbert Baker | 28 May 2014 | 6m08s

Pink triangle

The history of the pink triangle begins before WWII, during Hitler’s rise to power. Paragraph 175, a clause in German law, prohibited homosexual relationships. Convicted offenders were sent to prison, and then later to concentration camps. Their punishment was to be sterilized, and this was most often accomplished by castration. In 1942, punishment for homosexuality was extended to death. Concentration camp prisoners each wore a coloured inverted triangle to designate the reason for their incarceration. Criminals wore a green triangle, political prisoners a red triangle, Jewish prisoners two overlapping yellow triangles (to form a Star of David) and the pink triangle was for homosexuals. Stories of the camps reveal that homosexual prisoners were given the worst tasks and were the focus of attacks by the guards and other inmates. Although homosexuals were only one of the many groups targeted for extermination by the Nazi regime, it is, unfortunately, our group that history often excludes.

Estimates of the number of gay men killed during the Nazi regime range from 50,000 to twice that figure. In the 1970s, gay liberation groups resurrected the pink triangle as a symbol for the gay rights movement. Not only is the symbol easily recognized, but it also draws attention to oppression and persecution – then and now. In the 1980s, ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) began using the pink triangle for their cause. They inverted the symbol, making it point up, to signify an active fight-back rather than a passive resignation to fate. Today, for many, the pink triangle represents pride, solidarity, and a promise to never allow another Holocaust to happen again.

Pink triangle | Wikipedia

The Pink Triangle | Richard Plant/ Holt Books
The Men with the Pink Triangle | Heinz Heger/ Alyson Books

Bent (1998) Trailer | Film 4 A 9 Jan 2014 | 2m27s
A Love To Hide (2008) Trailer | Peccadillo Pictures | 29 May 2009 | 1m29s

The Holocaust | Imperial War Museums
Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals | United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The lambda

The lambda symbol seems to be one of the most controversial of symbols, as regards its meaning. However, most sources agree on a few things: the lambda was first chosen as a gay symbol when it was adopted in 1970 by the New York Gay Activists Alliance. It became the symbol of their growing movement for gay liberation. In 1974, the lambda was adopted by the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland.

As their symbol for lesbian and gay rights, the lambda became internationally popular. However, no one seems to have a definitive answer as to why the lambda was originally chosen as a gay symbol. Some suggest that it is the Greek lower-case letter for ‘liberation’, others cite its use in physics to denote energy, eg: the energy we have when we work harmoniously. It’s also thought to mean a ‘wavelength’, eg: gays and lesbians on a different wavelength. Lambda may also denote the synergy of the gay movement, the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The lambda may also represent scales and balance, and the constant force that keeps opposing sides from overcoming each other. The ancient Greek Spartans regarded the lambda as meaning unity, while the Romans considered it “the light of knowledge shed into the darkness of ignorance”. Reportedly, Ancient Greeks placed the lambda on the shields of Spartan warriors, who were often paired off with younger men in battle. (There was a theory that warriors would fight more fiercely knowing that their lovers were both watching and fighting alongside them).

Lambda | Wikipedia

Gender symbols

Gender symbols are common astrological signs handed down from ancient Roman times. Gay men have used double interlocking male symbols since the 1970s.

Double interlocking female symbols have often been used to denote lesbianism, but some feminists have instead used the double female symbols to represent the sisterhood of women. In the 1970s, gay liberation movements used the male and female symbols superimposed to represent the common goals of lesbians and gay men.

 Gender Symbol | Wikipedia

The red ribbon

The red ribbon is a symbol of solidarity and of the commitment to the fight against HIV and AIDS. The Ribbon Project was conceived in 1991 by Visual AIDS, a New York-based charity group of art professionals that aims to recognize and honour friends and colleagues who have died or are dying of AIDS. The ribbon made its public debut at the 1991 Tony Awards, but since then – in some circles – has become a popular and politically correct fashion statement for celebrities at other awards ceremonies. Because of this popularity, some activists have rightly worried that the ribbon is simply paying lip service to AIDS causes. Nevertheless, it is a powerful symbol for all of us around the world, and a unifying symbol on World AIDS Day (1 December). Today, the red ribbon is an international symbol and, for many, stands for care, concern, hope and support.

Red ribbon | Wikipedia
World AIDS Day | National AIDS Trust
The Red Ribbon Project | Visual AIDS
World AIDS Day | UNAIDS
Commemorative HIV/ AIDS Red Ribbon | The White House | 1 Dec 2012 | 0m43s

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LGBT FORUMS & NETWORKS

LGBT Forums, groups and networks

LGBT Forums (Gtr. London)Many towns, cities and authorities have some kind of group supporting LGBT people. Few are staffed and volunteers are their life blood, working tirelessly to raise LGBT issues and create a positive presence locally. If you can’t find a local presence, Meet Up may surprise you.

In Greater London, for instance, boroughs are supposed to have an LGBT Forum, a recommendation in the Lawrence Inquiry. The original idea of a Forum was to act as community liaison with the police to ensure adequate service provision and a breakdown of barriers on the reporting of hate crime.

Regularly updated, please contact us if you know of any groups or organisations not listed here.

Barking and Dagenham
LGBT Network Barking and Dagenham

Barnet
Barnet LGBT
Barnet Friends LGBTI

Bexley
No presence. Do you know of anything?

Brent
No presence. Do you know of anything?

Bromley
Bromley LGBT

Camden
Camden LGBT Forum

City of London
No information. Do you know of anything?

Croydon
LGBT Croydon

Ealing
No information. Do you know of anything?

Enfield
LGBT-QA of Enfield CT

Greenwich
No information. Do you know of anything?

Hackney
Rainbow Hackney LGBT Forum

Hammersmith and Fulham
No information. Do you know of anything?

Haringey
Haringey LGBT Network

Harrow
No information. Do you know of anything?

Havering
No information. Do you know of anything?

Hillingdon
Hillingdon LGBT Forum

Hounslow
No information. Do you know of anything?

Islington
See Camden

Kensington and Chelsea
No presence. Do you know of anything?

Kingston upon Thames
Kingston LGBT Forum

Lambeth
Lambeth LGBT Forum

Lewisham
Lewisham LGBT+ Group

Merton
Merton LGBT Forum

Newham
No information. Do you know of anything?

Redbridge
Redbridge Rainbow Community

Richmond upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames LGBT Forum

Southwark
Southwark LGBT Network

Sutton
No information. Do you know of anything?

Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets LGBT Community Forum
Rainbow Hamlets

Waltham Forest
No information. Do you know of anything?

Wandsworth
Wandsworth LGBT Forum

Westminster
  Westminster LGBT+ Forum

North West London LGBT
North West London LGBT

 

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LGBT+ arts

Theatre

The theatre has always attracted those who have a flair for the fabulous and in recent years we’ve seen a real surge in ‘gay plays’ on both The West End and the fringe. If you’re looking to see more LGBT-themed shows then a good place to start is always with the established companies and theatres. Main theatres like to programme at least one gay-interest play a season (the pink pound is very lucrative after all) so a quick web-search for ‘LGBT shows in London’ will usually throw something up. Check out what The National Theatre has on or have a browse through the listings on What’s On Stage. There’s usually a tour of Pricilla or Cabaret showing somewhere nearby and through websites like lastminute.com you can often pick up a good deal on tickets to a lot of the main shows.

However, if you’re feeling brave and fancy venturing off the beaten track then there are some amazing fringe venues that programme gay work. Check out Above the Stag Theatre who are the only venue in London to programme purely LGBT-themed work. Also check out Duckie who do a weekly cabaret in Vauxhall showcasing all things queer and quirky as well as creating big, interactive shows like the recent Border Force which looked at queer perceptions around the world. These companies are a little harder to find but once you track them down you begin to notice others like them popping up all around you.

The beauty of fringe compared to some of the more mainstream shows is that fringe is often smaller scale and less-worried about profit margins thus is often more avant guarde and ‘out there’. Although, by the same token, there are some truly terrible plays out there which you will probably want to avoid with a barge-pole. It all depends on how much of a risk you want to take with something you haven’t heard of before. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with sticking to an old classic like Rocky Horror where you know what to expect and you know it will be fabulous!

National Theatre | National Theatre
DV8 | DV8
Donmare Warehouse | Donmare Warehouse
Southwark Playhouse | Southwark Playhouse
Soho Theatre | Soho Theatre
Above the Stag | Above the Stag
Duckie | Duckie
West Five Bar | West Five Bar
Royal Vauxhall Tavern | Royal Vauxhall Tavern
What’s On Stage | What’s On Stage

Theatre Tickets | lastminute.com

Simon Callow: In Praise of Gay Sweatshop | The Guardian 13 Feb 2015
Gay theatre: coming out or going back? | The Guardian | 24 Oct 2013
Q is for queer theatre | The Guardian | 3 Apr 2012
A gay theatrical power list | The Stage: Mark Shenton | 2 Jul 2013
Gay Theatre | Drama Online
LGTC | London Gay Theatre Club
Gay Sweatshop Theatre Company | Unfinished Histories
Gay and Lesbian Theatre | Unfinished Histories
Lesbian and Gay Plays | doollee.com

Theatre and Sexuality | Jill Dolan | Palgrave Macmillan | 2010

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Film

In the first 50 years of world cinema only a small number of films took homosexuality as a primary theme. The landmark is Richard Oswald’s Different from the Others, made in Germany in 1919, and a huge box office success during a very liberated period of sexual liberation made possible by the pioneering work of the sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld. With the rise of Nazi Germany, the film was banned and only fragments of the film survive.

It was during the 1920s/early 30s that world cinema films in general could be open about gay sexuality, and it is worth checking out the opening of Wonder Bar (1934, dir. Lloyd Bacon) with two men dancing together (choreographer. Busby Berkeley). The Motion Picture Production Code known as the Hays Code was introduced in 1934 and gay sexuality became invisible on screen unless suggested by coded reference. Experimental films including Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks (1947), Jean Genet’s Un Chant D’armour (1950) and the Athletic Model Guild physique films of Richard Loncraine (early 1950s) became the only real sources of gay imagery. The code as applied in the UK ended in 1961 and Basil Dearden’s Victim, with Dirk Bogarde, became the first film to dare speak of the love-with-no-name in a ground-breaking study of a married man blackmailed over his sexual relationship with a younger man.

With flood gates partially opened, the work of Andy Warhol, eg: Blow Job (1964) and films including Sebastiane (1976, dir. Derek Jarman), Cruising (1980, dir. William Friedkin), Maurice (1987, dir. James Ivory), Beautiful Thing (1996, dir. Hettie Macdonald), Brokeback Mountain (2005, dir. Ang Lee) and Stranger by the Lake (2013, dir. by Alain Guiraudie) broadened the way gay film became accepted into mainstream UK Cinema release. Gay films often première at the annual BFI London Film Festival, or in the LGBT Flare Festival at the BFI on the South Bank in London.

The rise of explicit hardcore gay film also started in the early 70s with erotica by Wakefield Poole, Jean-Daniel Cadinot, Curt McDowell, Peter de Rome and Bruce la Bruce. Fred Halsted’s L.A. Plays Itself (1972) is credited as the first gay film to show fist fucking while A Night at Halsteds (1982) records the first jerk-off cum shot to be screened in a public cinema.

These films from the masters of erotica were released on VHS, paving the way for new generations of LGBT+ film makers and the digital revolution, which by 2000 included gay pornography on DVD and online streaming from the likes of Peccadillo Pictures, TLA Releasing, Amazon Netflix; and YouTube where you can watch many short films from gifted independent film makers and directors.

Peccadillo Pictures
TLA Releasing
Prowler
Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (British Film Institute)
British Film Institute

Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender-related films | Wikipedia
Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender-related films by year | Wikipedia
LGBT characters in animation and graphic art | Wikipedia

Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America 2005, H M Benshoff | Rowman and Littlefield
From Thomas Edison’s first cinematic experiments to contemporary Hollywood blockbusters, Queer Images chronicles the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer sexualities over one hundred years of American film. The most up-to-date and comprehensive book of its kind, it explores not only the ever-changing images of queer characters onscreen, but also the work of queer filmmakers and the cultural histories of queer audiences.
The Queer Encyclopedia of Film and Television 2005, C J Summers | Cleis Press
From Hollywood films to TV soap operas, from Vegas extravaganzas to Broadway theater to haute couture, this comprehensive encyclopedia contains over 200 entries and 200 photos that document the irrepressible impact of queer creative artists on popular culture.
Ultimate Guide to Lesbian & Gay Film and Video 1996, J Olson | Sepent’s Tail
More than 2,000 entries, complemented with extensive film stills, short essays and reflections on the most important gay and lesbian films ever made highlight this encyclopedic reference. Includes a distributor and subject index, a directory of international gay and lesbian film festivals, and much more.
Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video 1994, R Murray | TLA Publications
This unique guide is a revealing, comprehensive and entertaining reference source that uncovers vast and previously unknown contributions by lesbians and gay men to the entertainment industry. With more than 3,000 reviews and 200 biographies, this encyclopedia is fully indexed and cross-referenced.
Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies 1972, P Tyler, A Sarris | Holt Rinehart and Winston
Parker Tyler (1904-1974) was a noted American film critic, and this text is regarded as his most significant work. Devoted to homosexuality in films, it aims to look beyond the obvious and to observe the psychology of sex roles, at the same time recognising film as the realm of contemporary mythology. Tyler was once described as one of the most consistently interesting and provocative writers on film that America has produced, “well-informed and free of cant”.

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Poetry

The London LGBT poetry scene is as prolific and diverse as the LGBT community and, in recent years, poetry has steadily crept into its collective consciousness as accessible, entertaining, and social.

It has a myriad of styles, but is essentially creative writing that expresses the experience and lifestyle of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons in our society. Consequently it can be topical, inspiring, funny, heart/ gut wrenching, therapeutic… it can express anything and everything we ever wanted to say.

The formats of LGBT+ poetry events vary from open mike evenings, where anyone can have a go, to venues where some of the finest LGBT+ poets on the circuit strut their stuff. Events are performed at gay venues or gay-friendly straight venues with specific LGBT+ evenings.

INCITE@The Phoenix hosted by Trudy Howson
Every 2nd Wednesday of the month. The Phoenix Artists Club, 1 Phoenix Street,WC2H 8BU

Polari Literary Salon hosted by Paul Burston
Checkout the Southbank Centre for dates

Poetry LGBT (no website). Monthly Open Mike, hosted by Andreena Bogle
First Sunday of every month, Tipsy Bar. 20 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, N16 7XN

Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Weekly queer cabaret that includes poetry

The Poetry Café
Hosts regular LGBT poetry events. 22 Betterton St, London WC2H 9BX

Queer’Say hosted by Rosie Wilby
Held regularly at different venues in association with Apple & Snakes and Out in South London Radio

Poetry | GScene

LGBT Poets | Wikipedia

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Camden Local

Beta testing

BETA TESTING CAMDEN LOCAL

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Contact Camden Council

CAMDEN COUNCIL v2Website: Camden Council
Address: Contact Camden Reception, 5 Pancras Square, London N1C 4AG
Telephone: 020 7974 4444
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm (excluding bank/ public holidays)

Town Hall Address: Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE

Chief Executive: Mike Cooke
Leader of the Council: Councillor Sarah Hayward
Mayor: Councillor Larraine Revah
Local Election Results 2014: 40 Labour, 12 Conservative, 1 Green, 1 Liberal Democrat

London Borough of Camden | Wikipedia
Camden (Local) Neighbourhood Statistics | Office for National Statistics

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Health and Social Care Act 2012

In recent years our health system has undergone profound change, with the 2012 Health and Social Care Act introducing the most wide-ranging reforms since the NHS was founded in 1948. In a nutshell: GP practices and other professionals have formed clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) with budgets to buy care on behalf of their local communities (that’s us BTW). Public health has moved from the Department of Health and local NHS to local authorities; ie: Camden and Islington Councils local authority health and well-being boards now decide the health priorities of their local communities (that’s us again BTW).

In a time of austerity (apparently we’re all in it together) many working in health and the voluntary sectors are being asked to do more with less. At GMHC we remain deeply concerned that gay and LGBT health issues slip down health agendas, or never make it there in the first place. It also doesn’t help that local authority public health departments have to distribute ever decreasing funds between competing health interests.

An alternative guide to the new NHS in England | The Kings Fund
The NHS after the Health and Social Care Act | The Kings fund

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) | Wikipedia

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Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Camden CCG | Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
4th floor, Stephenson House, 75 Hampstead Road, London NW1 2PL
020 3688 1700
Chair: Dr Caz Sayer

Camden CCG Annual Report and Accounts 2014-2015 | Camden CCG

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) | Wikipedia

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Doctors (GPs) and dentists in Camden

Find a Doctor (GP) | NHS Choices

Find a Dentist | Camden Council
Find a Dentist | NHS Choices

A good doctor (GP) and dentist are hard to find, but a vital part of maintaining your health. Of course if we’re younger we think we’re invincible, but you never know when you might need one, and finding one urgently when you don’t have one and you’re not well is a pain!

Unfortunately, the response by GPs and dentists varies enormously and while it shouldn’t matter – indeed they should be willing to support you – there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

If you’re looking for a GP or dentist, consider phoning up the prospective practice anonymously to ask whether it’s ‘gay friendly’ and gauge the response. You’ll probably get the “all the doctors are professional” response but go with your gut feeling and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This may seem absurd but disclosing your sexuality to your GP may mean that it is recorded on your medical notes. Medical records can be accessed by a range of organisations including life insurers, which can raise the whole question of HIV and testing.

MEN R US

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Camden mental health services

Mental health services | Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
Mental health services | Camden

Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives: Camden and Islington Annual Public Health Report

“Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are at higher risk of mental health conditions, suicidal ideation, alcohol and substance misuse, and deliberate self-harm than heterosexual people, with rates between 1.5 and 2 times general population rates. These risks are particularly high in adolescence and early adulthood. Camden and Islington are estimated to have among the largest lesbian, gay and bisexual populations in the country, with 6,176 and 5,857 residents aged over 16 years, in 2014.” page 55

“Historically, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; refugees and asylum seekers and people with disabilities have been under-represented in mental health services. Further data collection and analysis of characteristics in the future would provide a better understanding of the current local picture.” pages 106, 107

  Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives | Camden and Islington Annual Public Health Report 2015

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Camden public health

Camden Public Health | Camden Council
Camden health and well-being board | Camden Council
Camden joint strategic needs assessment | Camden Council

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Sexual health services in Camden

Mortimer Market Centre | Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Capper Street, off Tottenham Court Road, London, WC1E 6JB
020 3317 5252

Marlborough Clinic | Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Pond Street, London, NW3 2QG
020 7830 2047

Margaret Pyke Centre, King’s Cross | Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
44 Wicklow Street, London WC1X 9HL
020 3317 5252

Crowndale Health Centre: Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic | Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
57-59 Crowndale Road, London NW1 1TU
020 3317 2402

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HIV-specific services in Camden

Bloomsbury Clinic, Mortimer Market Centre | Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Capper Street, off Tottenham Court Road, London, WC1E 6JB
020 3317 5100

Ian Charleson Day Centre | Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Pond Street, London NW3 2QG
020 7830 2051

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Camden alcohol and drugs services

As is common these days, local authorities often contract services to charities or organisations in the voluntary sector. For example, Camden Council subcontracts drugs services to SHP (Single Homeless Project) and CGL (Change, Grow, Live) previously CRI – though you have to wonder who thought up their recent re-branding concept.

Single Homeless Project (SHP) | Wikipedia
Change, Grow, Live (CGL) previously CRI | Wikipedia

Camden Alcohol Service | Camden Council
Camden Specialist Alcohol Treatment Service | Camden Council
Families and Partners Support Service | Camden Council
Integrated Camden Alcohol Service | Camden Council
Specialist Drug Treatment Service | Camden and Islington Foundation Trust
Community Drug Treatment | CRI for Camden Council
Recovery Service | SHP for Camden Council

Drugs | MEN R US
Reducing harms | MEN R US
Chemsex | MEN R US
A&E London | MEN R US

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Camden physical activity and sport

Camden’s Active Health Team
Camden’s Active Health Team can advise you on how to fit physical activity into your daily routine and help you find free and low cost activities at venues near you.
Camden’s Active Health Team | Camden Council
020 7974 3181

Lose weight with Rebalance
A new weight management and exercise referral service is available for Camden and Islington residents from 1 April 2016
020 7974 3019
Email Rebalance

Sport and physical activity | Camden Council
Get active and healthy | Camden Council
Lose weight | Camden Council
Camden sports map (PDF) | Camden Council

LGBT+ getting active | MEN R US

Get active London | Get Active London

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Homophobia

Homophobic crime | Camden Council
Homophobia | MEN R US

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Camden LGBT Forum

Camden LGBT Forum | Camden LGBT Forum
020 7388 5720
Promotes equality and diversity by the elimination of discrimination in relation to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people living in or working in Camden and, where appropriate, neighbouring boroughs and London, for the benefit of the public. Casework/ advocacy, schools/ youth work, policy/ advisory work, mapping/ crime analysis, training, raising LGBT+ awareness, events and outreach.

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Islington Local

Beta testing

BETA TESTING ISLINGTON LOCAL

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Contact Islington Council

ISLINGTON COUNCIL v1Website: Islington Council
Address: Islington Customer Centre, 222 Upper Street, London, N1 1XR
Telephone: 020 7527 2000
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm (excluding bank/ public holidays)

Town Hall Address: Upper Street, N1 2UD

Chief Executive: Lesley Seary
Leader of the Council: Councillor Richard Watts
Mayor: Councillor Richard Greening
Local Election Results 2014: 47 Labour, 1 Green

London Borough of Islington | Wikipedia
Islington (Local) Neighbourhood Statistics | Office for National Statistics

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Health and Social Care Act 2012

In recent years our health system has undergone profound change, with the 2012 Health and Social Care Act introducing the most wide-ranging reforms since the NHS was founded in 1948. In a nutshell: GP practices and other professionals have formed clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) with budgets to buy care on behalf of their local communities (that’s us BTW). Public health has moved from the Department of Health and local NHS to local authorities; ie: Camden and Islington Councils local authority health and well-being boards now decide the health priorities of their local communities (that’s us again BTW).

In a time of austerity (apparently we’re all in it together) many working in health and the voluntary sectors are being asked to do more with less. At GMHC we remain deeply concerned that gay and LGBT health issues slip down health agendas, or never make it there in the first place. It also doesn’t help that local authority public health departments have to distribute ever decreasing funds between competing health interests.

An alternative guide to the new NHS in England | The Kings Fund
The NHS after the Health and Social Care Act | The Kings fund

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) | Wikipedia

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Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Islington CCG | Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
338-346 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7LQ
020 3688 2900
Chair: Dr Josephine Sauvage

  Islington CCG Yearly review 2014/ 2015 | Islington CCG

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) | Wikipedia

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Doctors and dentists in Islington

Find a Doctor (GP) | NHS Choices
Find a Dentist | NHS Choices

A good doctor (GP) and dentist are hard to find, but a vital part of maintaining your health. Of course if we’re younger we think we’re invincible, but you never know when you might need one, and finding one urgently when you don’t have one and you’re not well is a pain!

Unfortunately, the response by GPs and dentists varies enormously and while it shouldn’t matter – indeed they should be willing to support you – there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

If you’re looking for a GP or dentist, consider phoning up the prospective practice anonymously to ask whether it’s ‘gay friendly’ and gauge the response. You’ll probably get the “all the doctors are professional” response, but go with your gut feeling and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This may seem absurd but disclosing your sexuality to your GP may mean that it is recorded on your medical notes. Medical records can be accessed by a range of organisations including life insurers, which can raise the whole question of HIV and testing.

MEN R US

Back to top

Islington mental health services

Mental health services | Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
Mental health services I Islington

Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives: Camden and Islington Annual Public Health Report

“Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are at higher risk of mental health conditions, suicidal ideation, alcohol and substance misuse, and deliberate self-harm than heterosexual people, with rates between 1.5 and 2 times general population rates. These risks are particularly high in adolescence and early adulthood. Camden and Islington are estimated to have among the largest lesbian, gay and bisexual populations in the country, with 6,176 and 5,857 residents aged over 16 years, in 2014.” page 55

“Historically, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; refugees and asylum seekers and people with disabilities have been under-represented in mental health services. Further data collection and analysis of characteristics in the future would provide a better understanding of the current local picture.” pages 106, 107

  Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives | Camden and Islington Annual Public Health Report 2015

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Sexual health services in Islington

Archway Centre for Sexual Health and Contraceptive Care | Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
681-689 Holloway Road, Archway, London, N19 5SE
020 3317 5252

Margaret Pyke Centre, King’s Cross | Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
44 Wicklow Street, London WC1X 9HL
020 3317 5252

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HIV-specific services in Islington

There are no specialist HIV services in the London Borough of Islington.

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Islington alcohol and drugs services

Islington Alcohol and Drugs Services | Islington Council
If you are worried about your drug or alcohol use you can phone Contact Islington’s 24 hour helpline free* on 0808 800 0019 or email directly for advice or information to islingtonisis@cri.org.uk
*Free to call from landlines & most mobile networks: 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin and Vodaphone

Islington Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service | Islington Council
Islington Young People’s Drug & Alcohol Service (IYPDAS) works with young people up to the age of 21 who live or have a GP in Islington and are looking for support with substance misuse issues.

Drugs | MEN R US
Reducing harms | MEN R US
Chemsex | MEN R US
A&E London | MEN R US

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Islington public health

Islington public health | Islington Council
Islington health and well-being board | Islington Council
Islington joint strategic needs assessment | Islington Council

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Islington physical activity and sport

Get active | Islington Council
Your health and well-being | Islington Council

LGBT+ getting active | MEN R US

Get Active London | Get Active London

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Resources

About

Primarily for professionals, this relatively new section includes a range of documents and organisations should find helpful when developing services for gay and bi men, men who have sex with men, and the wider LGBT community.

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Sigma Research

Sigma Research is a social research group specialising in the behavioural and policy aspects of HIV and sexual health. It also undertakes research and development work on aspects of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health and well-being. While this section concentrates on the Gay Men’s Sex Survey (1993-to date), Sigma’s research covers a wide range of issues affecting gay men and you are encouraged to explore their website.

Gay Men’s Sex Survey

In 1993, Sigma Research carried out an on-the-spot survey of men attending the London Lesbian and Gay Pride festival, instigating an annual survey that has grown to be the largest in the world and an institution on the UK summer gay scene. The National Gay Men’s Sex Survey (GMSS), also known as Vital Statistics, has occurred 17 times in the 24 years since and now recruits exclusively online.

The content of the survey is developed in collaboration with health promoters, within the framework of Making it Count The questions cover a range of demographics, health indicators, sexual behaviours, HIV prevention needs, use of settings in which health promotion can occur and recognition of national interventions. The weight given to each area varies each year, and the data collected is treated as cumulative, building a detailed picture of gay men and bisexual men and HIV over time.

Sigma Research | Sigma Research
State of play: findings from the England Gay Men’s Sex Survey 2014 | Sigma Research
Final Reports: Gay Men’s Sex Survey | Sigma Research

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National LGB&T Partnership

The National LGB&T (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) Partnership, a member of the Department of Health, NHS England, and Public Health England’s Health and Care Voluntary Sector Strategic Partner Programme, is an England-wide group of LGB&T voluntary and community service delivery organisations that are committed to reducing health inequalities and challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia within public services.

The National LGB&T Partnership members positively influence the policy, practice and actions of Government and statutory bodies and ensure that health inequalities experienced by LGB&T people are kept high on the Government’s agenda and that best use is made of the experience and expertise found within the LGB&T voluntary and community sector.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans health priorities | National LGB&T Partnership
Building an LGB&T voice into planning systems

Out Loud: LGBT voices in health and social care  National LGB&T Partnership
Insights into designing and providing care and support the meets the needs of LGBT people

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Public Health England

Public Health England’s evidence and action plan to address the health and well-being inequalities affecting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men:

  • Promoting the health and well-being of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: action plan (2015-16)
  • Black and minority ethnic men who have sex with men: project evaluation and systematic review (May 2016)
  • Promoting the health and well-being of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: initial findings
  • Promoting the health and well-being of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: summary document
 Promoting the health and well-being of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men | Public Health England | 27 Jun 2014/ 16

Substance misuse services for men who have sex with men involved in chemsex

PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLANDBriefing for commissioners and providers of drug and alcohol services highlights issues relating to men who have sexual contact with other men (MSM)a involved in chemsex. It contains background information, recent data, prompts for local areas and services, and case studies.

Substance misuse services for men who have sex with men involved in chemsex | Public Health England | Nov 2015

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Part of the Picture

The Part of the Picture (POTP) research project was a five-year partnership between The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s research programme between 2009-2014. POTP had three main aims:

  • The establishment of an England-wide database of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people’s drug and alcohol use
  • The use of the database to directly inform local and national policy and practice in addressing the drug and alcohol use of LGB people
  • An improved knowledge and understanding of the needs of LGB drug and alcohol users amongst drug and alcohol agencies, through dissemination of the research findings

The study found evidence of significant problematic substance use among the LGB community:

  • Across all age groups LGB people are much more likely to use drugs than the general population
  • Problematic patterns of drinking are much more common among LGB people
  • LGB people demonstrate a higher likelihood of being substance dependent and show high levels of substance dependency
  • Those scoring as substance dependent are more likely to seek help, although from informal sources rather than specialist services
  • A third of respondents who scored as substance dependent would not seek information, advice or treatment, even if they were worried about their drug or alcohol use
  • LGB people may be more vulnerable to developing dependent and problematic relationships with drugs and alcohol
  • Significant barriers exist to seeking information, advice or help among LGB people

A suite of reports present the study’s findings and detail the methodology and sample. Briefing sheet (downloads) set out recommendations for commissioners and policy makers, GPs, drug and alcohol service providers, researchers, and the LGBT voluntary and community sector to tackle this significant public health issue.

Part of the Picture: LGB people’s drug and alcohol use in England | LGF/ UCLan

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NEPTUNE

NEPTUNENEPTUNE has been developed to improve clinical practice in the management of harms resulting from the use of club drugs and novel psychoactive substances. It is aimed at clinicians working in a range of frontline settings, including drug treatment and recovery services, emergency departments, sexual health services, primary care and mental health services.

Neptune | Novel Psychoactive Treatment UK Network

 Guidance on the clinical management of acute and chronic harms of club drugs and novel psychoactive substances | Neptune | 2015
Club drug use among lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people |  Neptune | 2016

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Out of your mind

‘Out of your mind’ is a report by London Friend examining how drug and alcohol treatment services can be improved for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people. The report aims to encourage commissioners and providers of drug and alcohol treatment services to be more mindful of the support needs of LGBT people when planning and delivering services.

Higher levels of both drug and alcohol use have been reported within LGBT populations, although these groups report being less likely to engage in traditional substance misuse services, citing lack of understanding of the substance use and cultural needs amongst the barriers. ‘Out of your mind’ investigates ways in which this imbalance might be addressed, ensuring that LGBT people have access to high quality, responsive, and inclusive treatment and support services.

Out of your mind: full report | London Friend | May 2014
Out of your mind: executive summary | London Friend | May 2014

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GALOP hate crime report 2016

This report presents evidence about the needs and priorities of LGBT communities in relation to hate crime. It includes analysis of an on-line community survey of 467 LGBT people, which asked about experiences of hate crime and interactions with services. It also analyses interviews and written submissions from 18 individuals who have either experienced hate crime, or are professionals working on this issue. Despite progress on this issue, the results presented here suggest that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia remain a significant part of LGBT peoples’ lives. Additionally, it found that individuals face considerable barriers to accessing assistance in terms of policy, practice and legislation.

Experiences of hate crime

  • 4 in 5 LGBT people had experienced hate crime
  • A quarter had experienced violent hate crime
  • A third experienced on-line hate crime
  • A tenth experienced sexual violence as part of a hate crime

The Hate Crime Report 2016 | GALOP

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Hate crime: England and Wales, 2015-2016

Information on the number of hate crimes from police recorded data in England and Wales from April 2015 to March 2016. The bulletin covers the extent and trends in hate crime for all forces, with additional analysis based upon more detailed data supplied by 24 police forces on the types of offences associated with hate crime. Hate crime is defined as ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.’

There are five centrally monitored strands of hate crime: race or ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, and transgender identity.

The publication includes information on racist incidents in England and Wales recorded by the police from April 2015 to March 2016. A ‘racist incident’ is any incident, including any crime, which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race. This release includes an Annex on racially and religiously aggravated offences around the European Union (EU) referendum.

  • Hate crime, England and Wales, 2015 to 2016
  • Hate crime, England and Wales, 2015 to 2016: data tables
  • Hate crime, England and Wales, 2015 to 2016: appendix tables
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2015-2016 | Home Office | 13 Oct 2016

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Drug misuse 2013/14

Publication1Examines  the  extent  and  trends  in  illicit drug  use  among  a  nationally  representative sample  of  16  to  59  year  olds  resident  in  households  in  England  and  Wales,  and  is  based  on  results from the 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

Covers the following topics: extent  and  trends  in  illicit  drug  use  among  adults,  including  separate  analysis of young adults (16 to 24 year olds); frequency of illicit drug use in the last year; illicit drug use by personal, household and area characteristics and lifestyle factors; and estimates of illicit drug use by ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Prepared by staff in Home Office Statistics under the National Statistics Code of Practice and can be downloaded from both the UK Statistics Authority website and the Home Office pages of the GOV.UK website:

Drug misuse: findings from the 2013 to 2014 CSEW | GOV.,UK website

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2017 Drug Strategy

HOME OFFICE HATE CRIME FIGURESIt’s disappointing there’s no mention of gay men and men who have sex with men, or a wider LGBT focus, at all. This was included in the 2010 Strategy (with a note that treatment services should consider the needs of LGBT groups). The importance of services speaking directly to specific communities is widely recognised, particularly when addressing problematic chemsex drug use, discussing sexual behaviour openly and addressing the multiple stigmas that accompany drug use, HIV, gay sex and sexual identity. Bottom line: the strategy is a missed opportunity, though the mention of chemsex (4 times in 1 paragraph) does provide some opportunity to refer back to the strategy when pushing for better services for chemsex users.

2017 Drug Strategy | Home Office | July 2017

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The Future of HIV Services in England (2017)

Future of HIV servicesUndertaken by the King’s Fund, this research aimed to make recommendations to those responsible at local and national levels for planning and delivering HIV services on how best to develop those services over the next 5–10 years. It included a review of existing literature and data, and interviews with national stakeholders. We then looked in detail at four geographical areas as case studies of how HIV services currently operate and the issues they face. This included finding out about patients’ experiences, through focus groups and interviews with people living with HIV. We held five focus groups and interviewed around 100 individuals, including direct input from 38 people living with HIV. Through the project’s advisory group and membership of our research team, we involved people living with HIV in all aspects of the study. We selected case study areas to give a diverse range of settings, including urban and rural areas, areas with high and low HIV prevalence, and a wide geographical spread (north and south of the country, and London).

The Future of HIV Services in England | The King’s Fund | 2017

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