5 Things To Do During The Summer

If you live in England you’ll have noticed that it has started to get noticeably warmer and sunnier, something us Brits are not used to. It’s this pleasant yet sweat-inducing weather that indicates the beginning of British summer time. With the warm weather, we can now bask in the sunlight and enjoy copious amounts of strawberries and cream. Here are some of the best activities you can do while you enjoy the sunshine.

 

  1. Have a BBQ – For Britain, we can celebrate this rare moment in time when it isn’t raining; finally, we can go outside and embrace the free air without looking like drowned rats. This is the perfect opportunity to get outside and grill all the foods you’d eat inside – but this time cooked on a half decent BBQ. Grab your family and friends, throw a load of burgers and sausages on the BBQ, and enjoy a refreshing cider in the sun.

 

  1. Have a water fight – With the sun and the heat comes the uncomfortable sweat and inability to cool down. Now is the best time to grab your friends and hurl water at each other. Buy a couple of water guns and go mental. When all else fails you can turn on the hose and dominate the battle.

 

  1. Visit your local park – Britain is full to the brim with beautiful parks to explore during the sunny weather. Yes, they will very quickly be full of screaming children and potentially drunk teenagers, but it is all part of the atmosphere.

 

  1. Sit out in the garden – If you don’t feel like going out and being around people you can simply lay out in the garden. Grab yourself a good book or turn on some chill-out tunes and watch the day go by.

 

  1. Moan about the weather – Let’s face it, no matter what the weather is like we’re going to moan eventually. It won’t be long before the warm weather will soon become too hot and the sun will become our worst enemy. Just embrace the sun while you can before the rain comes back.

Never-Ending Pride

As June comes to an end as does pride month, but this doesn’t mean the end of celebrating pride. Every day is another opportunity for you to take pride in yourself, to sit back and appreciate where you currently are in life and how far you have come.

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one month to help further equality for yourself and other members of the LGBTQ+ community. There are a number of ways you can get involved throughout the year and here are just a few examples of things you can do.

 

  1. Give to charity – There are a number of charities around the world that help to keep LGBTQ+ people safe; whether its providing them with a home when their families don’t accept them, or simply giving them a person to talk to when they want to come out.
  • Here are just a few charities:
    • LGBT Foundation
    • Stonewall
    • Albert Kennedy Trust
    • The Kaleidoscope Trust

 

  1. Help establish a GSA – Sometimes school can be a tough place, especially for LGBTQ+ people. Setting up a GSA will help to establish a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to be themselves and make new friends without fear of discrimination.

 

  1. Go to a Pride event – June may be the time when most pride events take place, but there are still pride events that go through July and August. So grab a rainbow flag and get ready to celebrate life.

 

  1. Talk it out – No matter if you’re out or not it can always be difficult to talk about sexuality, even at the best of times. But there are always people around who are more than happy to listen to your thoughts, and at the end of the day, you will feel much better afterwards.

 

  1. Love Yourself – No matter where you land on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, we can all forget to sit back and appreciate ourselves from time to time. So take some time for yourself. Understand that pride month might be over, but you can always embrace your own pride any day.

5 Shows with LGBTQ+ Characters

In today’s society it is starting to become common place for TV shows to include LGBTQ+ characters that steer away from the typical “coming out” narrative. Writers have started to realise that these characters can be more three-dimensional and interesting just like their heterosexual counterparts. Here are some shows that I have come across recently.

 

  1. “Orange is the new Black” – Netflix

Netflix is becoming known for creating interesting and exciting shows that aren’t afraid to include a diverse and relatable cast. “Orange is the new Black” is just one of these pioneering shows. This show is based around a women’s prison, showcasing the stories of the inmate’s imprisonment.

The show isn’t shy of showcasing its LGBTQ representation – with the inclusion of multiple lesbian characters (Alex, Nicky, Poussey, Boo to name a few), all of whom have their own personalities without simply becoming another “femme” or “butch” lesbian. It also includes bisexual characters (Piper) whilst highlighting the prejudice they face. It also includes trans characters (Sophia) who get the same representation and character development as other characters in the show.

 

  1. “Sense8” – Netflix

Another of Netflix’s original shows, Sense8 has provided us with a diverse and interesting cast, not only exploring different ethnicities but sexualities and identities without making the characters bland and 2D.

In terms of LGBT representation, the show isn’t afraid to show us sides of these characters that might not have previously been seen. The main cast includes Lito (gay-Latino) and Nomi (trans-hactivist), both integrate equally within the other main cast. They are given plots that move their relationships forward in a positive light and are used for their own skills within their cluster.

 

  1. “Glee” – Fox

Despite this show’s flaws throughout the six seasons, I found Glee to showcase interesting LGBT characters that have helped shape how society approaches LGBT people today.

From the very beginning, we were introduced to Kurt Hummel, an “in-the-closet” gay teenager, who was bullied for his sexuality and struggled with coming out to his dad. As the season progressed, Kurt and the audience were led down a plot of “coming out” (with a positive understanding from his dad) and continuing confidence in his sexuality. Other characters were soon introduced (Santana, Brittany, Unique, Blaine, Dave and Spencer) all of whom fall within the LGBT spectrum, all who are given interesting storylines that make them more than just their sexuality.

 

  1. “Modern Family” – ABC

The comedy mockumentary show follows the lives of the Pritchett family as they struggle with children, jobs, and other family issues. One section of the family that the show focuses on is Mitchell Pritchett and his husband, Cameron Tucker.

Together Mitch and Cam begin to expand their family by adopting Lily, a young girl from Vietnam. The show follows their struggles with raising their new daughter and dealing with the same job issues that the other members of the family experience. Over the series, the Tucker-Pritchett family have highlighted a positive representation for LGBT families, while reflecting the moods of society throughout the years.

 

  1. “Skins” – BBC

Known more for its depiction of drugs, sex and teenage angst, the British TV show has never shied away from putting its characters into gritty situations. Despite these main storylines, Skins has also portrayed British LGBT characters that experience the same issues as the other characters around them.

As each series progresses and new characters are introduced, the show consistently introduced characters within the LGBT spectrum. Maxxie, Cassie, Emily, Naomi and Alex are part of the different main cast whose storylines include dealing with their sexuality and the discrimination that comes with it.

 

These are only a few of the TV shows around that represent LGBT characters in a positive light; exposing them to similar plots as their straight counterparts. It is this representation that shows society is moving in the right direction, even if it feels like baby steps every now and then.

The British History of LGBT Rights in the 21st Century

With Pride month in full swing, it is time to look back at how the United Kingdom’s perception of LGBT people has changed throughout the 21st Century.

Despite a rocky past like, section 28 (ensuring it was illegal to promote homosexuality) and preventing those under 21 from engaging in homosexuality, the country has begun to make swift progress, in the past 17 years, to ensure LGBT people share the same life as those who class themselves as heterosexual.

 

2000

  • Not only a mark of the new millennia; but also the year that the UK age of consent (Sexual Offences Act) for gay men was successfully lowered to 16, equalling that of heterosexual relations.
  • This year also saw those serving in the armed forces to openly come out as gay, lesbian, and bisexual without fear of persecution or discrimination.

 

2003

  • Section 28 (allowing schools to teach about homosexuality) is finally lifting, and Employment Equality Regulations are brought into place making it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people.

 

2004

  • The Civil Partnership Act was introduced and granted partnership to same-sex couples; providing them with the same rights as married straight couples in the United Kingdom.
  • The year also saw the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act, allowing trans-people full legal recognition of their appropriate gender, and the ability to get a new passport.

 

2012

  • The Protections of Freedoms Act was passed and allowed those who had previously convictions for consensual homosexual sex would have their criminal records removed.

 

2013

  • Gay and Lesbian couples were finally given the opportunity to marry legally with the introduction of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act was passed. This saw the first same-sex marriage take place a year later.
  • This was also the year Alan Turing was given a posthumous pardon for convictions regarding ‘gross indecency’.

 

There is still much more to do before everyone on the LGBT spectrum is treated equally under the eyes of the law. However, with some of these historic moments as an example of how far the Unite Kingdom has come, it is safe to say that we are taking great steps in the right direction.

Why Do We Still Need Pride Month?

June marks a month-long celebrate of LGBTQ+ pride. Throughout the 30 days, there are celebrations around the world; where people of all orientation, gender and ethnicity comes together to celebrate diversity and being who they were born to be.

Despite the years of Pride celebrations, there are still people who feel the need to question why we still need an entire month dedicated to LGBTQ+ people. Surely there is no more prejudice against gay people? Or why can’t there be a straight pride then? Are questions I have faced far too often in my life. For those who mean well by these questions, I take the time to educate and help them understand why this month is still so important for LGBTQ+ people.

 

June was chosen as the month in which to celebrate Pride as it fell within the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. It was started with the help of a bisexual activist named Brenda Howard, who created a week-long series of events that celebrated LGBTQ+ people.

For decades Pride month has helped influence a more positive representation of LGBTQ+ people; inspiring changes in the laws that provides equal rights to those previously marginalised. In the present day, where “gay” marriage is steadily becoming legal in most western countries and laws are being put in place to help reduce the amount of homosexual and transgender prejudice, it is easy to assume that “pride” has done its job. But with the recent attacks on gay people in Orlando and Chechnya, it is clear that there is still very much a place for Pride to help provide confidence in LGBTQ+ people and to remind others that these prejudices should no longer be a part of today’s society.

 

In 2017 it is still just as important to keep celebrating pride. It gives LGBTQ+ people the chance to celebrate who they are and remember the past; where activists and everyday people helped to shape the world that we now live in.

It is during this time that I start to hear ‘why don’t we have a straight pride then?’ This question can be answered with a simple – there doesn’t need to be one. Every day is straight pride. Pride for LGBTQ+ is one of the only times that some can be themselves without fear of being persecuted. It is a time when the marginalised are able to have their voice heard and to feel represented.

 

At the end of the day, whether you’re on the LGBTQ+ spectrum or are simply an ally, Pride month is important for bringing everyone together and remind the world that things need to continue changing for the better.

Finding Your Voice

This year has already seen some of the most basic human rights restricted by a man who would rather rule through fear and hatred rather than love and compassion; in doing so people are started to feel like they are being silenced and should remain so. However silence is not the answer. It is always vital to make sure that your voice is heard, and as difficult as that sounds there are a number of ways in which you can get your opinions out in the open; whether its through a blog, art, protesting or video blogs.

 

One effective way to get your voice heard is by exercising your right to protests. Throughout time protests have lead to progressive laws being created and ensured that ruling governments understand the feelings of the public. These marches or gatherings are perfect for venting your feelings through hilarious yet powerful signs that mark the feeling of the protest.

Whether you are young or old, male or female, or any factor that makes us all different, a protest is normally created to ensure the rights of everyone remain untouched or progressed to make life better. An example would be the most recent women’s march; a powerful and worldwide protest that ensured the collective voice of feminists around the world were heard, at a time when women’s rights were brought into question.

 

Joining a protest can be a scary matter for some people, some would prefer to voice their opinion in a less public and obvious manner. In this case it is best to use the power of words. The written word can be an excellent way of expressing yourself, it’s a medium that everyone witnesses in everything they do. Whether its electronic or on paper someone will see what you have got to say.

You could start by created an online blog. Probably one of the popular choices for people who want their opinions heard, blogs are a modern day journal that you can broadcast to the world. Write about what you want, when you want and see who else agrees with you.

If a blog is not your scene, there is always art, or videos, or even music; there is an array of different mediums that you can use to show off who you are and keep your voice heard.

Time to Quit Procrastinating

We are now three weeks into the New Year and everyone is started to get settled into 2017. This week also marks the time that people will slowly give up on their New Year’s resolutions. Having got back into a steady schedule, you won’t feel the need to go to the gym anymore, or you actually don’t have the time to finish that novel. It’s this kind of thinking that we want to avoid.

It is easier to start giving up, maybe you’ve been putting off some of your resolutions in favour of something more achievable however you haven’t realised that you can motivate yourself to complete these resolutions, seeing them to the end of the year.

 

One of the most popular resolutions that people make in the New Year is getting fit, more gym memberships are paid for and soon enough gyms find themselves inundated with people wanting to sweat away the food and alcohol from the past month. However after three weeks running on a treadmill doesn’t feel like a good idea, wouldn’t it be easier to lie in bed with a good book? The answer would be yes, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice.

To avoid wasting money on an unused gym membership, it is best to motivate yourself a little longer. Start by setting personal targets, maybe you want to run a certain distance on the treadmill, or bench-press a certain weight. These goals will give you the motivation to continue at the gym for a while longer.

If you really don’t want to spend money on the gym, you could simply work out at home. Buy a set of weights and Google an exercise regime that would best suit you. Now you can continue to keep fit in the comfort of your own home. No longer will you have to dress to impress the life-long gym goers, or worry about the sweat rolling down your back.

 

Other resolutions are harder to keep going, with life getting in the way and forcing you to believe that there is no point trying something new. For some its wanting to read more, others want to be the next J K Rowling, or maybe you just want to see more of the world.

With three weeks gone it is easy to start giving up on these endeavours, with work and other priorities getting in the way. It may feel like you haven’t got enough time to fit in more activities, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to change your routine. Most activities like reading or writing could be done in a half hour to an hour slot; to avoid it getting in the way of your evening you can start by doing these activities before bed, then slowly working it into your everyday routine.

For the intrepid explorer who wishes to venture out into the world, it can be harder to accomplish, with money and time causing issues. With only a number of days holiday to take its best to plan your time accordingly; maybe work it around a free weekend and visit somewhere for the weekend. Make sure that you Google what is available in your ideal destination so that you can make the most of your time in that place. It may feel like the time passes quicker whilst you’re there but it will still be worth it for those precious memories.

 

It may seem like a good idea to give up on your resolutions, but with a little perseverance and proper time management, you could possibly see this year’s goals through to the end, or at least till the summer.