You must have picked up by now that Unapologaytic is really about feeling good about ourselves and moving away from that toxic self-loathing, slut-shaming, bottom-shaming and all the rest of it.
The No Shame T-Shirt
While I appreciate most of us are genuinely happy and I certainly have a few chips left on my shoulder, it’s undeniable we are living in a time of extremes. In his book Straight Jacket, Matthew Todd ponders on the paradoxical situation when bi and gay men have never been freer, yet mental health issues are so clearly linked to depression, risky behaviours and even suicides.
A customer told me just before last Brighton Pride that he was walking on the beach in Devon wearing one of the HOMO T-shirts, minding his own business, when a couple walking past shouted ‘disgusting’ to him. I just could not believe this happened in 2018 Great-Britain, literally a few hours away from a city where Police cars are decorated with rainbow stickers for the Pride.
The Police support of Brighton's LGBT+ community
This just reminds us why we still need Gay Prides and there’s still a lot to fight for. Not just for gay men but also for transgenders and everyone else on the spectrum. It took me a while to come to terms with being gay. I came out to myself a summer when I was about 16 (roughly 10 years ago 🤪). I remember that summer, I’d never go out without sunglasses and a cap on because I was afraid of being ‘found out’... For some time, I overplayed gayness, forcing myself to be camp and flamboyant and bringing up the topic as often as I could. I felt so unworthy, every time some man chatted me up, I wouldn’t allow myself to walk away or simply say I wasn’t interested because I kept thinking I should be grateful someone, anyone gave me some attention. Luckily though, nothing bad ever happened. I used to think I didn’t deserve to be happy, fulfilled and that meeting and loving a guy I liked was just not available to me. To be perfectly honest, I’m still doing a lot of work on myself but at least I’m slowly starting to like myself.
With hindsight, what I’m really grateful for is having found a great therapist as soon as I started uni to help sort myself out. I stayed in therapy for years even after finishing uni. There are many more organisations today and resources available for LGBT+ people. From the Quest to Loving Men and many more. These days, I strive to stay positive and feel no shame. It’s not always easy but not having a TV and avoiding mainstream news really helps me…