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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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QUEER & NOW: Helen Scott thinks there’s reason to be cheerful this Pride month!

I was four vodkas and two baby Guinnesses in when my Dad called me and asked if he could stay over. I was out with my pals in the heart of the gay village on Manchester’s Canal Street and had just finished serenading a room full of people with my karaoke secret weapon, Let it Go (trust me, it’s a crowd pleaser).

“Of course Dad,” I answered with a slight slur, “but I’m out at the minute…”. ‘That’s fine,’ he said, ‘I’ll come and join you.’… Now my Dad and I share a passion for good music, interesting convos and success, but my night thus far had been filled with Cher, a round of hate or date over potential Gaydar matches for my friend David, and I’d lost my lighter, twice. Does that sound like good music, interesting convos and success? You be the judge.

“Erm, I’m in the gay village, Dad…” I said, thinking he’d offer to collect the key and head back to the sofa bed in my spare room.

After a slight pause, he replied, ‘So? I’ll see you shortly.”

Now I’m not saying that my Dad’s gay, but if this old-school, Scottish electrician is happy to join me and the gays for a pint at G.A.Y., surely that can only be a good thing?

Now I don’t want to sound toxic, or problematic, and I’m not saying that because you associate with queers that ‘makes you gay’ by proxy, obviously. If that were the case, hell I’d be straight, because I didn’t even meet a queer person until I was seventeen. But statistically, more and more people are joining the queer ranks by the day! Around 3% of people in England and Wales aged 16 or over-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual according to the 2021 Census.

I imagine that even in a few short years we will see that number increase, particularly with the ever-growing social and media presence. I know that our communities still face some hefty issues, particularly our trans siblings who are bearing the brunt of hatred right now. But as we come into Pride month,

I want to look at what we can feel optimistic about and I do feel like LGBTQ+ representation has never been more powerful.

Eurovision, held in Liverpool this year, felt like it was embraced harder than ever by the nation, and it doesn’t get camper than that, right? Loreen herself (this year’s winner) is bisexual, and having a queer icon rule over the entirety of Europe surely makes everyone who voted for her a little bit gay, or at the least, an ally.

Kim Petras reigning glory on the cover of Sports Illustrated was a big
EFF YOU to the transphobes, as well as Dylan’s Bud Light campaign. And I know you’ll join me as we send our love and appreciation to our trans sisters for carrying the backlash that came with those incredible feats, but who are resilient and defiant in paving the way for the next generation. Our modern-day Martha Stewarts, if you will.

I know I’m flitting from gender to sexuality and back again here, so maybe the question shouldn’t be, is everyone a little bit gay in 2023? But more, is everyone a little bit LGBTQ+ in 2023?

Maybe it’s even more complicated than that. Fluidity is a word I’m hearing so much of lately regarding sexuality. No labels, just fluid. Ebbing and flowing, which is what I think the true sense of sexuality actually is. I think it’s much more complex than picking a gender you’re attracted to and that’s that, which is why the idea that sexuality is a spectrum works so well, that we can even move a few dials over the course of our lives.

Overall, things just feel a bit gayer in 2023, maybe it’s the magic and history that comes with Pride season, or maybe there really is something in the air! Whatever it is, this is your reminder to be loud and proud in June. To be safe and to celebrate, and to remember that however you identify, you’re perfect just as you are. Happy Pride month, gang!

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