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95% of Young People Not Taught About LGBT Relationships

Gay Pride Manchester
A study has found that 95% of young people are not taught about LGBT relationships.
The survey, conducted by the sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, found that most young people have no education when it comes to LGBT sex and relationships.

The research, which surveyed over a thousand 16-25-year-olds, also found that 75% of them had never been informed about the issue of sexual consent. This is in direct contradiction to public opinion – 97% of people think that education around same-sex relationships should be taught in schools.

Legislation which requires all schools to teach sex education came into force earlier this year. While the bill doesn’t require LGBT relationships to be on the curriculum, Nick Gibb, Minister for Equalities, said he would argue for it to be on the agenda. The government is set to hold comprehensive discussions on the matter in 2018.

The Conservative MP, Will Wragg, held a discussion in Parliament which included speakers from a range of charities and from young people themselves. Wragg said ‘It was fantastic to hear first-hand from young people themselves about why we need compulsory Relationships and Sex Education in all school.’

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Gay Pride is Fantastic – For Those Who Can Afford It

Pride is supposed to be an inclusive, political event. Not one that charges people for the privilege of attending an event which, at least in its inception, was a fight for equal rights and equality for the LGBT community.
An absence of friends and my sincere disdain for biblical hangovers now I’m rapidly approaching the age of thirty lead me to the decision to abstain from my local Pride event taking place in Manchester last weekend. However, come Sunday morning, I’d had my fill of brooding mornings over cafetieres filled with strong coffee and getting The Carpenters soundtrack habitually interrupted by adverts on Spotify – I’m certainly not about to pay the subscription fee. Screw the big man. You might well see a theme emerging throughout this column.

gay pride manchester

Alas, I’d made the decision I was about to write off my bank holiday Monday and don my favourite t-shirt and head for Canal Street. That is, despite my preferred top being a little too tight since I made the call to eschew my beloved rollie cigarettes and instead start consuming enough carbohydrates to eliminate a significant proportion of the East African famine.

I mentioned to a German friend of mine via a nameless application that I would be attending the festivities later that day. His perfunctory response was a little underwhelming but his declaration that all the wristbands had ‘probably sold out’ was even more alarming to me than the disappointment that his apathetic message indicated he’d already found somebody else to fuck.

Now, I feel I must disclose a disinterest here. I’ve never been to a Pride event before. To me, this isn’t necessarily a significant matter in the rich, booze-stained tapestry of my life. But it appears to many of my friends and acquaintances I might as well have declared my support for the Islamic State. I don’t hate Pride. I’m just not a fan of large crowds or waiting for 45 minutes to be served at the bar and then queuing equal amounts of time to piss it straight out the other end.

It turns out wristbands were still available and what a bargain at only £21.45 each. I wasn’t particularly angry at this as much as I was genuinely despondent that I couldn’t really afford to shell out for the ticket – which is equivalent to three hours work for somebody earning minimum wage. Irked that I was somehow being ostracized by fiscal circumstances.

Gay Pride Manchester

I understand Pride is a costly event to stage but it’s already been highly commercialised with sponsorships adorning everything from floats to flags. Maybe next year we’ll have condoms, emblazoned with the logo of a notorious high-street bank so you can be reminded how they continually fuck you while you’re fucking someone else?

It’s part of a wider trope of commercialisation. Gay bars and pubs are sadly being closed at an exuberant rate and been converted into luxury accommodation – ridding our cities of gay spaces as we’re assimilated into the masses.

Pride is supposed to be an inclusive, political event. Not one that charges people for the privilege of attending an event which, at least in its inception, was a fight for equal rights and equality for the LGBT community. This fiscal infiltration, particularly at this direct level, alienates and dilutes what it is supposed to be. If you want to charge, call it what it is – a party. What kind of message does it send to young people, perhaps 17 or 18 and just affirming their sexuality? ‘Come celebrate who are you – as long as you’re from a nice middle-class family where mum and dad can afford to shell out twenty-two quid before you’ve even left the house.’

I don’t wish to be too down on Pride, which is ostensibly a positive thing. There are enough torrid events in the world to feel dismayed about without adding Pride to the list of reasons we’re all pretty sure the end of time is nigh. Maybe I’m lamenting an era which is lost to history, but then again, not everything is better these days. Let’s campaign to make Pride free again so that it can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of gender, sexuality, race or economic status.

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The Value of Gay Travel – Beyond the Beach, Beers and Bears

Despite my younger-self prophetically denouncing the idea of a gay holiday, I now fully recognise the value of travelling with like-minded counterparts.

It’s a well-trodden trope by those on the right that if the LGBT community is able to celebrate their annual gay pride, then straight pride should exist. You know, for the suppressed, straight, white, middle-class male with their moderate inheritance pots and positions of power and privilege. For the longest time, I considered the idea of everything with the prefix of gay a little nauseating – gay pride and gay holidays included.

I can hear the pompous tones on my 21-year-old self bombastically proclaiming that I was more than my sexuality and didn’t need to be pandered to through any such cheap marketing ploy. My opinion on both has shifted dramatically.

It is true that for many decades the gay community has fought for equality and to large extent, this has been a success. So why if we want equality do we still seek to distinguish ourselves in bars, hotels, cafes, shops, choirs, apps and even care homes? The latter is not related to travel unless perhaps your next destination is going to be a very long and permanent one. While it might seem counter-intuitive at face value, the two are not mutually exclusive and people that oppose the notion, as I used to, are surely missing the point

While we seek equal representation in law, protected and governed by the same practices enjoyed by the heterosexual community – this doesn’t mean we must live under a blanket of cultural assimilation. We’ve already been turned into straight people through the way we dress, communicate and embody our personalities – even turning in on ourselves with the tangible disdain for the ‘feminine’ endemic across the gay community.
Despite my younger-self prophetically denouncing the idea of a gay holiday, I now fully recognise the value of travelling with like-minded counterparts. I used to view it as some form of quasi-substitute, invented for those who didn’t have the capacity to grab life by the balls and travel the ‘normal’ way. I now recognise that this position germinated from a place of being uncomfortable with my own sexuality and a fear of standing out amidst the throngs of back packers in tie-dye t-shirts and harem pants.

In reality, it is no different from those who club together for an adventure holiday or scores of the elderly taking to the high seas on a well-known cruise for those approaching their winter years. Even more than enjoying a collective shared interest with likeminded individuals, a gay holiday can actually be a way of maintaining a culture which is being eradicated physically through gentrification and also through our identities as the hyper-normative firmly takes hold.

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To Cruise or Not to Cruise

Gay cruising is now a hugely popular way for the gay community to travel, But, for many people, the idea of a cruise is more like a holiday from hell than a trip from heaven.

Cruising was once the exclusive domain of the blue rinse brigade and the rich and famous who could afford to cruise in style on some of the world’s most magnificent and expensive vessels. These days a variety of cruises cater to every market and gay cruising is one the largest burgeoning markets.

Atlantic and Azamara are two of the most popular gay cruises but there are many companies which furnish the gay cruising market. The idea tends to split opinion with some advocating cruising as the only way to holiday with others rendering it their worst nightmare. One of biggest concerns that many have about gay cruising is not fitting the profile of a ripped Herculean god boasting a full hairline and 5% body fat. In reality, there is a range of gay men on board from young to old with a range of different body types.

It has to be said that gay cruises can be a little overwhelming. You’ll be surrounded by the same crowd for at least a week and most of them will be looking to party for a significant amount of time on board – those looking for total relaxation and serenity might not be best suited to the cruising environment. If you’re partial to the idea of a gay cruise but don’t aren’t particularly a party animal, don’t let this put you off. There are plenty of other additional activities which don’t involve booze and late nights.

Most cruises dock daily and give you the opportunity to explore a number of different port localities. While you will be privy to a number of destinations throughout the trip, you won’t really have the time to explore any of them in great depth. If you’re the kind of traveller seeking an authentic experience and prefer to get under the skin of a place then a cruise might not be the ideal holiday option. For those who are happy to enjoy the highlights then a
cruise is a wonderful way to see the world.

Cruises can also be expensive and even the cheaper end will undoubtedly be pricier than doing an independent trip. However, with cruising comes a stress-free experience and more often than not an all-inclusive package so you won’t have any additional costs.

Gay cruising has much to offer those who enjoy the shared experience and being around other LGBT travellers – it’s often appealing to single people providing a safe, friendly environment for them to meet new people. But the party atmosphere and enclosed environment might not be for everyone and for those who prefer to stay on terra firma then there are plenty of other opportunities to explore the world with the gay community.