Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation, Bridging the Gap and Foundation Living

LGBT+ History Month February 2021: Have We Made a Difference?

Sinead Cregan wearing blue shirt, smiling against leafy background

by Sinead Cregan

So, another LGBT+ History Month comes to an end, and I find myself thinking: will it have made a difference? What was the impact of all our combined efforts?  The sharing of life experiences in blogs, vlogs and tweets – will they have changed even one person’s homophobia or transphobia?

My blog had over 1200 views on LinkedIn and I really hope it will have had an impact on those who took the time to read it.

At the weekend I read that more than 26,000 signatures have been added to a petition complaining about Cadbury’s latest Creme Egg advert. I thought maybe they had changed the recipe or made it smaller. Not at all – it features two men kissing and sharing a Creme Egg. So in 2021 this is still not an acceptable image!

I am sure people will wonder why this advert is so significant or important to people from LGBT+ communities. It is simply that we can identify with it. We can see ourselves in it. Just think of all the fictional LGBT+ roles that have been portrayed, how many actually are happy or ordinary. Sadly, very few. It’s almost like we are being told LGBT+ people cannot be happy, or lead ordinary lives with a role to play in society.

I found myself binge watching Schitt’s Creek recently, which is not like me, but there was something so strong and emotional about this series that impacted on me massively. It made me feel so emotional that love between a same sex couple could be portrayed in such a beautiful way. That we can be happy together in our relationships, and that our families will love us nonetheless.

Our sexuality is such a small part of who we are – there is much more to us than who we are in relationship with.

So my hope at the end of this month is that people who are thinking of ‘coming out’ will find what they need to be able to do so, and will be inspired by all those who have gone before them. I always smile to myself when I imagine a straight person having to build up the courage to declare ‘I am a ‘heterosexual!’

So, to those in our organisation, I hope that you think about how we support our LGBT+ clients, tenants and residents to be themselves, to thrive, and to be happy. We have an LGBT+ network. Come join it and help us make a difference. For you to understand why it is so important and at the right time to ask someone how they identify. Their sexuality is crucial, and I can assure you most individuals will rejoice that you have asked.  So be brave and be an ally.

Sinead Cregan

Sinead is Director of Development and Innovation at Inspire North.