Saturday 8 July 2017

Pride in 2017


Today is a weird day, not for any particular reason, and not even really because its Pride in London. But it is. I made the decision to have a pity party and not go to the parade because I felt a bunch of mixed up feeling about the day, but in reality was shooting myself in the foot because this state of mind is self imposed. One of the many feelings and challenges that I feel a lot of us if not all of us face on a daily basis. I'm not looking for sympathy in any way shape or form, but as I'm blogging more I feel that I want to share more and this is a big part of it and this was how I felt as I started writing this post. 

I have met some of the most amazing people over the last two years. People that I hope I will be long friends with, and that I hope I can learn and lean on. This is a picture from Pride last year with some of the best people that I now know. It was my first pride and came with an immense feeling of joy, pride, inclusivity and collectivity. 

Sexuality in 2017 is a completely different spectrum to what is was even five or ten years ago, and Pride in 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality with the Sexual Offences Act 1967. Now more than ever there is a bigger and growing representation of LGBTQ figures in all walks of life. This is a good thing!

We've come a long way but as with every walk in life there is still a long way to go. The hashtag for this years pride is #LoveHappensHere and whilst we can look at it in a number of ways, this HERE is going to be personal and individual for everyone and that is important, because there is a vast range of thoughts and feelings  and actions (both positive and negative) that exist within the community. We all need to have Pride though. There was some controversy this year over the themes and sentiments that Pride took this year in advertising and communicating its message of inclusivity and equality. I get where it was coming from and labels exist because we put them on each other and whilst today is a day for embracing them ( to a certain degree)this is a day that should be about celebrating us and our community as the forefront of the message not judged by others standards! My HERE, has to be taken a few steps back to a personal level where it starts and lives with me. There's such a message, in life, of loving oneself, something i think all of us at times have struggled with, and it's a struggle that at time we all still deal with and so my love happens here has to start here within me. 

Sexuality is, has been and probably will still be a difficult subject for me. I have changed a lot of the last five years, through high school i built up many many walls..The great wall of china has nothing on me, and whilst I have broken a lot of these walls down there is still some way to go. I am a much more open person, I'm willing to talk about thoughts, feeling, relationships, encounters, quite openly, as I'm sure people know, I'm am quite fond of talking and am willing to be very open. But there are some times and some subjects when I skirt around an issue, or will use very specific words to say what I say. This is very person specific, I'm sure I over share with a lot of people #SorryBoutIt, but there are some people or situations I hit a wall with. Then instead of talking about about these issues I would always bottle my emotions ( a very prevalent theme in my life) and sometimes still do, but over the years I have felt better and more open to talking and I fell this is an important step for not only me but anyone who has ever felt is any way like or similarly to how i felt, feel and emotions still to come. 

I remember the first time I told my friend..the fear that gripped me, the fear Id been holding onto for years and the release, like the massive flooding release when it didn't matter, like AT ALL. She was just pissed that I hadn't said anything sooner. I have since then has this same fear grip me again and again in some many different ways, once about three years ago sooo strong that i was shaking in floods of tears at midnight in a dark street walking home (it was all very dramatic) whilst i typed...and then for it to be all OK. You'll notice i talk about it without using specific words( see i told ya) because those barriers are there still just on the office chance the wrong person reads it and the same fear will rise up...just hovering under the water waiting. but over the years I care less and this is a good thing. this is a sign that I am finally developing into myself and that it doesn't mater what anyone thinks..I am me and if you don't like it you can jog on! There are more struggles and more walls to break down but it's a gradual process..and I've got a support network around me that I don't fully utilise and I'm sorry. Push me if I don't push you. 

But enough about me..i went on too long. When I started writing this I wanted it to be about the inspirations that have come to me in may different forms that I find pleasure in, namely books, music, theatre and TV. When I was in secondary school there was a sever lack of representation of LGBTQ characters. I can't think of any (this could possibly just be down to bad memory) but I don;t remember seeing them the way i do now, because thankfully and finally they're there. And not even just in fiction, but with books like Juno Dawson's This Book is Gay are strong bold progressive steps to give people a light to say 'you feel a bit different..well there;s a reason for that and its amazing because it makes you you. ALWAYS BE YOU' 

So I wanted to share some of the influences that I draw from Today:

Note to Self by Connor Franta

I'm actually only about 3/4 of the way through this book, so watch this space for the full review. But what I will say ( and in doing so will repeat myself) THIS BOOK. A couple of the books I'll talk about I will say I can see myself in or feel a reaction to. This book feels like someone has pulled out parts of my life and put them down on a page. Yes the experiences are different but DAMN there are so many times i'm like this is me. The book is dedicated to himself and as you read through i feel this is a really important point going back to what i said above about love happening from within. I initially had almost written this book off, im not ashamed to say that now because I'm so glad that its out there and that I've read it.

Release by Patrick Ness and History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera 


Both these books are books I have read this year (reviews will one day surface now i'm getting my blog life back on track!) authors I have met, and even in Adam's case had the pleasure of interviewing. They are both people I look up to, not least because they but their hearts into their works. When I was reading both these books there are just so many moments of feeling ( a description I will inevitably continue to use). They create characters, whether intentionally or not that people can in some way relate to and this make a reading experience so much more real, so much more vibrant that you end up talking to the book, wiping away the tears and then looking at the person across from you on the train and being like 'you don't even know..Read this book'. Like with Connor, I'm glad these books are here and that we're now able to see people of all age race gender and sexuality go through things. We are and never will be alone.  

What I won't Do by Leon Else

I've liked Leon for a few years now, I was hooked from the first listen of River Full of Liquor and so I've been eager for new music over the last few years and we've been teased with drips and drabs and each time a different feeling and vibe that just shows the range in his artistry. It didn't help he was a good looker too and as a person is very open with what he's thinking and feeling. Then this came. What I won't Do isn't just a song, or even a song with a story, it has - to borrow a title from an aforementioned book -  a release with. It has a history and an openly personal message that made me happy and sad and proud at the same time to read. This story makes the song so much more than just a great pop song, and I feel even more connected to Leon's music now.  

F***ing Men and 5 Guys Chilling

Theatre is a strong part of my life and as such it was inevitable that I was going to come across plays that interested me because they related to parts of my life. Putting these plays together is interesting, because i many ways they are polar opposites but actually when you look at them come down to the core ideas of relationships and the way we live and view ourselves in today's society. F***ing men looks at the hookup app ideologies and 5 Guys looks at the chem sex craze, both issues that are of growing interest and importance and issues that are very prevalent and relevant to people of all ages in our community and as such need to be talked about and explored. I hope that theatre continues to open these conversations and I look forward to what is to come...

This also has nothing to do with the above plays, but it came to me as I was typing and though it is almost done in jest with the style of the musical, it also has a lot of heart to it, and forms part of the important messages that litter this musical. I think I even cried the first time I saw it live because it hit that nerve of how I was feeling at the time.. I give you Avenue Q..The Internet is really really Great! 

Will and Grace

First of all let me say how happy I am that THIS SHOW IS FINALLY BACK. I watched this growing up on Living along with America's Next Top Model and Charmed and I would like, like side splitting laughing because the comedy was so on point. We all loved the characters and journeyed with their stories but now that I can look back on it as an older man with more experience and perspective the jokes, the situations what they're saying means so much more and packs more of a tighter punch that I'm still laughing! I think Karen is one of the most iconic characters and we all wish we could be her....They also did this so I got two loves with one stone:

RuPaul's Drag Race 
Both this show and drag itself are something that's come into my life in a more intense way in the last year and a half. And with it comes an understanding and appreciation. The art and the passion, the choices, the negativity that Drag Queens face I can only bow down to. This show for me is a guilty pleasure. It was something that I'd not wanted to watch or think I could like...then I saw one season...then another and then i binged nearly all and i'm now addicted ( I believe Alyssa Edwards is my tongue click sister). The show gets a lot of flack for not being and accurate representation and setting a bar that isn't an equal bar, nor should there be a bar because its an open interpretation art form. But i like it for what it is and the fun and joy that I get from the show. It's given me a greater understanding an appreciation of drag and opens my up to the diversity that exists within the drag world here in London. So I'll keep sissying that walk to and from work every day and if you don;t like that then I'll get Bianca to read you for filth and you can crawl back to wherever you came from. 


The more I write this the more I think...yes i am Proud and there is Pride not just with my but out there. Yes there's more to do, but that's life. It's not like without some work right. But when I look around me at the people I know and have let in my life and that I still continue to me and day by day the walls are tumbling down. to reiterate something I said earlier ALWAYS BE YOU and LOVE THAT YOU! 


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