The COVID 19 pandemic has fostered a greater community spirit across the UK with people stepping up to support those in isolation and boost the spirits of their neighbours. Yet, despite these acts of togetherness, many people especially those within the LGBT+ community still feel isolated due to Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Recently, I saw an incident involving two gay men in my hometown, which highlighted to me that although attitudes have changed dramatically during my lifetime, there is so much more we need to do to help support LGBT+ people and promote greater equality.
I would be the first person to admit, that I need to do more to improve my knowledge about the LGBT+ community and the challenges they face. Growing up in the 1970s/80s my friends and family never talked about people who identified as LGBT+ and I do not know how I would have reacted if one of my childhood friends or rugby teammates had come out to me as gay. Over the years, my attitudes have changed but, to be honest, I still find it hard to have a frank discussion with my LGBT+ friends and colleagues for fear of saying the wrong thing.
My teenage niece has no such issue and has many friends who define their identity in different ways. Her generation has grown up in an era where people tend to feel more able to discuss LGBT+ issues and celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Sam Smith and Cara Delevingne have helped to pave the way with their openness about their own sexuality and gender identity.