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  • Hello lovely family and welcome to my new home,

  • This is my first proper video in the new house so my background is a work in progress, were

  • still setting things up, emptying boxes, and so onmy plan is to have a beautiful shelf

  • behind me where I can put the lovely things you send to my P.O. Box and my collection

  • of pretty things.

  • It’s probably going to change quite a lot in the next month as I try different things

  • so please bear with!

  • In today’s video were going to be discussing the sticky topics: ‘should straight people

  • go to Pride’? Andwhy do we need Gay Pride anyway’?

  • Well let’s find out!

  • I was inspired to make this video after Penguin Books sent me their Pride Book Club collection-

  • and thus we come to the advert part of the video!

  • The Pride Book Club from Penguin Platform runs for eight weeks until the end of August

  • with one book a week- that’s eight books in total!

  • - don’t worry if youre watching this later, you can still catch up

  • The dates of release are in the description of this video.

  • You can join the club by watching and commenting on the videos on Platform’s YouTube channel

  • or sharing your thoughts using #PrideBookClub on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

  • It’s gay.

  • And rainbow!

  • And now back to your scheduled programming.

  • [laugh] Filming that was the best part of my weekend!

  • One of the books they sent me was On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual

  • by Merle Miller and since it’s such a little thing I thought, oh I’ll just have a little

  • look, a tiny peruse as I stir my dinnerthen it sucked me in and what do you know

  • but I’d reached the end and my dinner was burnt!

  • What It Means to Be a Homosexualwas written in response to a homophobic article

  • published in Harper’s just two years after the Stonewall Riots that are considered to

  • be the catalyst for the Gay Rights Movement and the root of the Gay Pride Parades we see

  • today. This raw, very personal and inculpating essay, that went on to become the bookOn

  • Being Different’, made him one of the first prominent Americans to come out publicly.

  • What were the Stonewall Riots, Jessica, and how did they start Gay Pride?

  • Well

  • There were "Annual Reminder" marches as early as 1965, which were intended to remind the

  • public that the LGBT community didn't enjoy the same basic civil rights as other people.

  • But, on June 28th, 1969 the landmark event was the riot that started outside of a popular

  • gay bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn when police came in once again to harass

  • the customers but they decided, rather than rushing away, to take a stand this time.

  • As word spread throughout the city about the demonstration, the customers of the inn were

  • soon joined by other gay men and women who shoutedgay powerand threw things at

  • the police. Although Police reinforcements arrived and beat the crowd away, the next

  • night the crowd returned, even larger than the night before, with numbers reaching over

  • 1,000. Again the police sent a riot-control squad but the protesters demonstrated for

  • hours.

  • In the following days, demonstrations continued and spread throughout the city. Exactly one

  • year later, in commemoration of the riots, came the first Christopher Street Liberation

  • Day in New York and Los Angeles.

  • - (The Stonewall Inn was on Christopher Street)

  • These were the first Gay Pride Parades: a mixture of demonstration and celebration.

  • In the following years, these celebrations spread across the world and the first pride

  • parades were born.

  • The world Miller describes in this book is not mine, it’s not my experience: he grew

  • up closeted, married a woman, faced open ridicule and fear...

  • Whilst, despite childish name calling, I grew up never feeling the slightest shred of shame

  • for who I love and what I am.

  • - that probably has a lot to do with being disabledgayness is so not the drama in

  • my life considering the number of things that try to kill me.

  • Actually, that’s really not fair on myself. Being gay definitely HAS affected me and left

  • me heartbroken for many years because in some ways it isolated me.

  • LGBT events are remarkably inaccessible for many disabled people. Due to the culture of

  • shame they grew up in (and still contend with) the venues are up dark back ally-ways and

  • stairs, theyre late at night and based around drinking culture OR lesbians go hiking.

  • I’m not a hiker.

  • Not only that but to my mind, the pool of potential dates was:

  • - women - women who like women

  • - those who can cope with a disabled partner - those who fancy this

  • I found her.

  • But it took me until my mid twenties and I was very much the last of my friends to loose

  • my virginity.

  • And the fact I’m complaining about having been a 23 year old virgin rather than being

  • punched in the face in the street is AMAZING.

  • I live in Brighton, it’s a town on the south coast of England, about an hour directly south

  • of London. It’s commonly known asthe gay capital of the UKand it thrives on

  • that, believe me. Claudia and I walk down the street holding hands, being cute, we only

  • have a split second thought ofis this safebefore we kiss rather than knowing

  • we need to keep apart for our own safety.

  • We moved into the new house and introduced each other aswifeto our neighbours.

  • We shared with them that were looking forward to bringing up children in the house, safe

  • in the knowledge that when they go to school they won’t be only ones in their classroom

  • with same-sex parents.

  • We live in a beautiful, rainbow coloured bubble.

  • But please, do not get the impression that we never have concerns for our safety or feel

  • otheredor that the rest of the UK is like this.

  • I met Claudia in 2014, the year that gay marriage became legal here. That’s just five years

  • ago.

  • That’s really not a long time.

  • This year, in 2019, in the UK:

  • Parents protested LGBT education Lesbians are beaten up on buses

  • Conversion therapy is still legal The Gender Reform Act has not been adapted

  • The Children’s Charity NSPCC cut loose its only LGBT campaigner

  • Equal marriage is illegal in Northern Ireland (yes, that’s part of the UK, if that seems

  • confusing to you)

  • And were an incredibly progressive country, I’m not even mentioning the 72 countries

  • in the world where gay relationships are criminalised!

  • The most beautifully done thing about this book is the foreword by Dan Savage, who started

  • the It Gets Better project with his husband, Terry Miller. Written in 2012, the foreword

  • contrasts the lives gay people were living in Merle Miller’s 1971 with the lives we

  • lead today. Things seem so much better now, don’t they?- especially if, like me, you

  • live in a pretty rainbow bubble of the LGBT internet.

  • I want to read you a section from that foreword:

  • - “Weve gone from the world Merle Miller described on Being Different to a world were

  • 13 year old boys are coming out to their families. It has gotten better. But you can't know how

  • far you've come if you don't know where you started. Gay men and lesbians don't bring

  • up the next generation of gays and lesbians, history isn't passed from parent to child

  • that's why it's critically important for gay men and lesbians for bisexual and transgender

  • people to read this book. Straight people who know they have LGBT family members, friends,

  • and co-workers should also read this book, also should straight people who their LGBT

  • family members have yet to come out to them. Which I mean to say, all straight people should

  • read On Being Different. Straight people should read it because the movement for LGBT equality

  • is also the story of straight liberation. It's a story about straight people being liberated

  • from their prejudices and their fears of straight people finally seeing through the goddamned

  • degrading bull... of straight people regaining the lesbian, gay , bisexual and transgender

  • family members and friends that their prejudices cost them.”

  • Pride isn’t just a protest, it isn’t just about celebrating our lives, it’s about

  • our history too. We should be caring for and respecting our forbearers.

  • So, is it still necessary to carve out a space where we both honour the civil rights campaigners

  • who struggled before us, celebrate the beautifully open lives some of us can now lead and give

  • hope to our youth that their path will be smoother?

  • You tell me.

  • And if some idiot on twitter says:

  • Why do we get a whole month celebrating Gayness but only D-Day to celebrate World

  • War Two.”

  • Feel free to sayWell, I learnt about World War Two for two terms in primary school, two

  • term in secondary school and then TWO WHOLE YEARS for my darn GCSEs so where is my GAY

  • HISTORY EDUCATION?!”

  • Prepare for some suicide statistics:

  • LGBT kids are four times likelier to commit suicide.

  • And LGBT kids who are being bullied by their own parents are eight times likelier to commit

  • suicide.

  • What do those kids need? Hope. What do we all need? Hope.

  • People need to know that there is a chance life will get better.

  • There is no Straight Pride Month because straight people are already shown every option for

  • what their future may become. Thanks almost every movie ever (!) Straight people don’t

  • need allies- allies for what?! They don’t need to fight for their right to get married

  • or to have children. No one hates a person BECAUSE THEY ARE STRAIGHT.

  • Celebrating a minority does not mean youre trashing the majority. Get over yourself.

  • Which is where we come to our second question of the day: Should straight people go to Pride?

  • Some people say no. That Gay Pride is not for straight people- especially those who

  • aren’t a parent, child, sibling or significant other of those who fall under the LGBT umbrella.

  • That straight people make it all about themselves having a good time, that theyre co-opting

  • a message to appear cool but aren’t actually doing anything helpful to further the community.

  • Britney played at Brighton Pride last year- I made a video about it- and it broke my heart

  • that there were more people in Britney t-shirts than there were in rainbow ones. The percentage

  • ofstraightcouples holding hands togaycouples holding handswas about

  • what I would see on the streets of Brighton anyway.

  • And I’m not even going to get into corporate allyship becausewow, that’s a whole

  • thing!

  • BUT.

  • For all minorities, allyship is VITAL. It’s deathly important.

  • As a disabled person I’m a member of another marginalised group and I can tell you that

  • allyship can save lives.

  • If I am in danger from a person who will not listen to me or my concerns but they will

  • to someone who is not like meyoure darn right I want that person to swoop in

  • and white knight me! Doctors don’t always listen to me but youre darned right theyll

  • pay attention to my able-bodied, hearing, medical-degree holding wife!

  • There is only so much inspirationaldrag yourself from the mudrallying you can

  • do before you realise that the only way out is for you to reach down and give them a hand.

  • However!

  • Including straight people at Pride means they need to be the minority. Sorry, but they do.

  • LGBT people don’t go to gay spaces to dogay stuff’: we don’t drinkgay juice

  • and talk about our gayness. We go to forget that we are gay. We go to feel normal.

  • Because we ARE normaluntil were the minority.

  • If you are gay and you are