by Adrian Gillan for www.bent.com
Out with the old, away with the blues: let Bent’s left-field Adrian Gillan help shape you anew!
- Campaign! Don’t take LGBT freedoms for granted! And, even where laws may have changed, all-too-many hearts and minds may have yet to follow – from workplace to sports pitch! Keep apace of gay-related news and get involved in issues that affect you and those around you. And, as for the human rights of LGBTs living overseas! More info at: stonewall.org.uk; www.petertatchellfoundation.org; www.petertatchell.net
- Volunteer! Put something back into a gay community you doubtless at least occasionally take something from! From HIV mentoring (tht.org.uk) to just listening (www.switchboard.lgbt), thumb through any LGBT community group listings (www.stonewall.org.uk/help-advice/whats-my-area) to see what interests you and get in touch.
- Cut back or quit! And not just on the nicotine front! If you’ve already stubbed out and/or switched to vapes, set your sights on lowering that booze and/or substances intake! If a problem, seek out local meetings at Alcoholics Anonymous (alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk) or Narcotics Anonymous (www.ukna.org). Several UK organisations also offer advice to those who feel they might be unhealthily addicted to, or dependent on, sex: www.help4addiction.co.uk/sex-addiction
- Join a gay sports club! From rambling to wrestling, LGBT sports groups are a great way to get fit, broaden your interests and meet other queers, well away from that prevalent all-too-booze-fuelled scene. For lists of sports clubs and events in your area: thegayguide.org.uk. Or, if you sense it’s safe, maybe even come out gradually at your local mainstream gym or sports group!
- Try something different for a holiday! If you normally go on your own, try it with gay mates. If you normally go with gay mates, try it with straight mates. If you normally take a Gran Can package in July, try a gay ski meet (europeansnowpride.com; www.europeangayskiweek.com), Jan -Apr!
- See more of the gay UK! It’s not just London, Manchester and Brighton! Check out one of Bent’s many way-out-there travel reports. One recent Bent top tip: lovely little Derry in Northern Ireland – http://mag.bent.com/2019/12/legend-derry/
- Reassess your circle of friends! How diverse are they by age, race and gender? All gay?
- Avoid the scene for a month! Detox! How about some fab non-gay culture in Stratford-upon-Avon? http://mag.bent.com/2019/08/coming-home-to-shakespeare-in-stratford/!
- Avoid the cliché! Are you really as individual as you like to think? Ever just jump through rainbow-striped hoops of other people’s – society’s and your peers’ – making? Track overly-stuck on “diva”?
- Accept yourself for who you really are (no but really)! Out self-deception; in self-awareness. Out fake or superficial; in genuine and meaningful. Out stimulants, steroids, botox, tummy-tucks and sun beds; in exercise, relaxation and healthy eating. Out neuroses; in contentment.
- Better out than in! Consider coming out, where relevant and safe, to ever more people in your life: from friendly neighbours to doting aunts – even your GP, who thereby might be able to give you even better advice! Visibility is key in the slow and winding path towards equality.
- Change someone’s heart or mind! Consider if charisma, humour and/or a non-confrontational honest chat can help change someone you know’s negative attitudes towards LGBTs! Again, where this is felt safe! OK, why should you? But, if everyone tried, homophobia could be halved in a day.
- Tackle any other personal issues! Talk more with friends who you trust; or, for a fresh take, even try a “gay affirmative” psychotherapist or counsellor: pinktherapy.com
- Find out more about gay history during LGBT History Month (lgbthistorymonth.org.uk) in February! For one of the most comprehensive gay history resources online: www.rictornorton.co.uk
- Spring clean your homo-home! Chuck out any old naff tat! How about getting some classy gay art to liven up those walls? https://adonis.gallery/
- Get spiritual! Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement (LGCM, lgcm.org.uk); Imaan LGBT Muslims (www.imaan.org.uk); Jewish LGBT+ Group (www.jglg.org.uk); Gay & Lesbian Vaishnava (Hindu) Association (www.galva108.org); Sarbat LGBT Sikhs (www.sarbat.net); London Buddhist Centre (www.lbc.org.uk); or The Pagan Federation (www.paganfed.org).
- Lose your faith! Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA, galha.org).
- Report a gay hate crime – should you be unfortunate enough to experience, or witness, one. You can even do it online: report-it.org.uk
- Complain more (or less)! Whether a homophobic high street store attendant, or a gay outlet that simply takes those hard-earned pink pennies a little too much for granted: don’t sit back and take it! That said: “some hills aren’t worth dying on”! So sometimes it’s better to vote with your feet and let your walking do the talking! Also, we all love a good b*tch: there’s nothing like bad word-of-mouth!
- Start a family! From adoption to donation, Pink Parents UK (pinkparents.org.uk) offer advice on all the main issues – legal, practical and emotional.
- Start you own gay business! Bars, clubs, saunas, restaurants, salons, bookshops, boutiques, counsellors, accountants, plumbers! From rent to roofing: the list is endless, the choice yours. But have you got what it takes to stop browsing and start running? Practical advice for setting up at: gov.uk/set-up-business. Or, if you already run a gay business: network, with the Gay Business Association (www.gba.org.uk!
- Have a check-up down your local STI clinic! Especially if you haven’t been for a few months, even things may look and feel fine that way! For the location and opening times of your nearest clinic, ask your GP or search at: nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/visiting-an-sti-clinic/
- Get hitched! Propose on Valentines; then splash out to spice up the honeymoon: bent.com
- Don’t assume “LGBT” just means lesbian and gay! Get to know some bis and TGs (transgender) too! If you think you’re bi yourself, maybe contact local groups in your area: bicommunitynews.co.uk. Or meet fellow TGs via The Beaumont Society: www.beaumontsociety.org.uk. Mermaids support TG youth: www.mermaidsuk.org.uk. But regardless – whatever your sexuality or inclination – surely everyone should try a spot of proper (male-to-female) cross-dressing at least once in their life: www.theboudoironline.com!
- Support your local Pride this summer! If you don’t normally go: do! If you normally watch: march!
Perhaps – above all – a little less time online could just help make things turn out fine!
Whatever you do, or do not, resolve to do in 2020, Bent Magazine wishes you a wonderful Xmas – may your jingles be jolly – and an immensely Happy New Year! See you under the mistletoe!
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