Page 1

ISSUE 3 AUGUST 2021


FOR THE QOMMUNITY BY THE QOMMUNITY

2

LGBTQYMRU


I’D LIKE TO WELCOME YOU TO THE THIRD EDITION OF LGBTQYMRU: THE MAGAZINE. Since the launch of our last edition, it is both safe and particularly painful to acknowledge that for many of us in the LGBTQommunity, the world is beginning to feel a little less safe. With a rise in sometimes fatal queerphobic attacks across the world, and flagrant acts of transphobia given permission to fester here in the UK, it is incumbent on us to remember that our greatest strength has always been one another. Community – or Qommunity as you will often see here at LGBTQYMRU – is a powerful reminder that we are not alone, even when we might be feeling lonely in this world that appears to favour ignorant conventionalism. Our presence today is testament to those whose collective efforts have marched through and over the words, beliefs, and legislation that have been positioned as a barrier to our very existence, and we owe it to those who came before us, those whom we have lost, and those who are with us and need us today to continue to march and resist in whatever way we can. This magazine in its entirety is dedicated to the fight for representation and visibility of the Qommunities here in Wales that are often overlooked and whose stories go unheard. This magazine is for the Qommunity, by the Qommunity, in our own words and on our own terms. In this edition, you will come to hear the story of Anglesey’s Dancing Marquees, how Wales’ first Ballroom Community is breathing fresh, queer life to the Wales Millennium Centre, and a scientific exploration of sex, amongst so much more. I am proud to say that I feel every article in this edition not only highlights many of the issues we continue to face, but provides support by way of advice or an understanding that things will get better. We also welcome Bedwas’ own Jack Emory as our first Cover Queen. Jack’s cover image is an ode to the freedom and permission makeup and drag has given him in his exploration of himself as a queer man, as well as being a metaphor for the fears we occasionally put upon ourselves as a result of growing up queer and wanting to conform, leaving us bound and exposed. As always, I would like to thank the amazing Qommunity Editors, Qommunity Reporters, Special Guests, and contributors without whom we couldn’t continue to do this. I hope you enjoy! Bleddyn

LGBTQYMRU

3


Editor-in-chief Bleddyn Harris Qommunity Editors Craig Stephenson OBE

Andrew White

Karen Harvey-Cooke

Owen Hurcum

Qommunity Reporters

Associates

Jordan Howell

Thania Acarón

Fen Shields

Hannah Isted

Matthew Tordoff

Sue Vincent-Jones

Evie Barker Lilium James Special Guests Talk with Andy Sandy Bridges Heather Roberts Numair Masud Translations

Social Media & Engagement Imogen Coombs Joel Degaetano-Turner Branding & Design Tom Collins Cover Jack Emory

Ffion Emyr Bourton

The mention or appearance or likeness of any person in articles or advertising in LGBTQYMRU: The Magazine, or on any of our social platforms, is not to be taken as any indication of sexual, social or political orientation of such persons or organisations.

4

LGBTQYMRU


CO N T E N T S 6

What is so special about sex?

7

Pay it some mind

8

The Importance of Allies

12

Can you have your cake and eat it?

16

Gay Outdoors Club

18

Music to my Queers

21

Call to Action!

22

Need legal support?

24

Qommunity Champion

28

When will conversion therapy be illegal?

32

Talk with Andy

38 44 46 48 50

Up Close and Personal Carol - Movie Review Anglesey's Dancing Marquees What's in your closet? 10s Across the Board

LGBTQYMRU

5


WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT SEX? Dr Numair Masud, our friend from Glitter Cymru and scientist at Cardiff University entices us by exploring the nature of sex and presents some fascinating revelations! See his short video for some exciting discoveries!

LGBTQYMRU 66 LGBTQYMRU


Many of us have experienced isolation, especially since the pandemic. Sadly, isolation has always been one of the main factors that impacts our community’s mental health. A lack of familial acceptance, for example, can cause LGBTQIA+ individuals to feel alone even in company. If you’re struggling to connect, Mind’s Peer support could be for you. It’s a chance to meet likeminded individuals and improve your mental health. You can find out more at mind.org.uk. Q. How have you stayed connected to your Queer community during the pandemic? Social media has been invaluable, not only in staying connected, but also supporting queer artists. It seemed as though people took to Twitter, Instagram and Reddit for refuge and support even more.

Finding a label that feels right can be liberating, but the pressure to ‘come out’ can lead people to feel anxious. For some, coming out means losing loved ones and the security of home. Depression and low self-esteem are some of the very real consequences of negative reactions to your sexual orientation and/or gender identity. If you want support with coming out, check out the LGBT Foundation’s helpline and website at lgbt.foundation. Q. Did you feel pressure/stress around the concept of ‘coming out’?

I’m from a small village in the South Wales Valleys, and though being gay was accepted I felt anxiety around my bisexuality being accepted. I was very supported by my family and friends. It should be noted that it’s often the case that we NEVER stop coming out – every new job, new friend, new neighbour warrants a coming out.

Hate crimes, discrimination in the workplace, even conversion therapy are still part of many people’s LGBTQIA+ experience. These traumas can manifest in later mental health issues. For many, the first step is talking. Switchboard is a helpline for queer individuals that provides a safe space. Seeking specialist help can be daunting; Mind offers advice specifically tailored for LGBTQIA+ individuals at mind.org to make the process a little easier.

Q. Do you feel that coming to resolutions about past struggles has/could help with your current wellbeing? Working towards confronting past negative experiences can be very beneficial. This is why at Mind Cymru we are urging policymakers to ensure treatment like talking therapies and peer support are more accessible.

The Equality Act should prevent unfair treatment in areas such as employment and healthcare. Organisations are beginning to introduce dedicated members of staff for issues of equality and representation but sadly, many cases fall through the cracks. It can be hard to know where to turn; mind.org offers a helpful breakdown of the complaints process for health and social care discrimination. Consider volunteering at your place of work or study as a voice for your community.

How does feeling supported by your colleagues change your experience at work? I have previously worked at places where my sexuality was a punchline. Now, I have an incredibly supportive workplace. Being able to be that comfortable at work is a privilege, but it shouldn’t be.

A recent study by Stonewall found that half of LGBTQIA+ identifying people had experienced depression. Monitoring your mood is important so that you recognise potential triggers and times when you may need extra support. Active Monitoring can be found through mind.org. The service connects you with practitioners and resources that help you work through your struggles with weekly direct contact.

Q. How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling low? Being outside helps me a lot, especially in the sun. Another thing I do is put on my comfort programmes; This Country and Schitt’s Creek have been particular favourites as of late. The most important thing for me is telling someone how I’m feeling.

Whether you are a member of the community or an ally, being a compassionate and open listener is the most important thing you can do to support LGBTQIA+ people. Be cautious about jumping into advice too soon; sometimes all it takes is being there. Groups like FFLAG South Wales can be useful for families of LGBTQIA+ individuals looking for support and a place to celebrate the identity of their loved one. Q. What’s the most memorable thing that someone in your life has done to make you feel accepted? When I got engaged, the deluge of supportive and congratulatory messages from friends, family and even strangers, was absolutely jaw dropping. It really solidified how much people cared about us and our happiness.

LGBTQYMRU

7


THE

IMPORTANCE OF ALLIES “Scared”, “Fearful for her future”, “Not knowing which way to turn". People have asked me how I felt when Em shared with me that she was transgender just over a year ago. By Sandy Bridges 8

LGBTQYMRU


“If I look back, some of those questions weren’t the best to ask, but what I did recognise is that I needed to educate myself on what being transgender meant and quickly. At that point, I’d never met a transgender man, woman or young person.”

We sat in our living room and, unable to look at me, she said that she needed to tell me something. As her Mum I knew that things hadn’t been right for a few years, but just put it down to being a teenager in 2020. I’d helped and supported her as much as I was able through a couple of episodes of poor mental health and recognised that for Em, cycling seemed to be the thing that helped her through each time. “I’m transgender, Mum”. Just 3 simple words. I recognise now how much courage that took to reveal her true self . How I responded would have an equally massive impact. I recalled a conversation we’d had when she was 14 after noticing her following several LGBT+ posts on social media. I’d mentioned that if I was able to see what her interests were then others could too. Em said she was questioning her sexuality and my reaction was in many ways very straightforward but important. I hugged her and said “I love you, no matter what. You know

that you can talk to me when you need to”. That message was consistent from her immediate close contact family. My attempts to appear supportive those next few years were probably embarrassing for her. I’d often question whether she fancied or liked a particular girl or boy as a way of trying to encourage her to open up and reinforce the message that to me, it didn’t matter and that her sexuality was really none of my business, and I did, “Love you, no matter what”. Back to those 3 words. I remember us both crying, hugging and then talking. Mainly me talking as I had so many questions. If I look back, some of those questions weren’t the best to ask, but what I did recognise is that I needed to educate myself on what being transgender meant and quickly. At that point, I’d never met a transgender man, women or young person. I recall my early knowledge of the LGBTQIA+ community being linked to the Government’s Public health announcement featuring tombstones, the “messaging” around the AIDS virus. Later, I was fortunate that work provided connections with the Terrence Higgins Trust. I felt

LGBTQYMRU

9


Her response? “Mum, I know and understand what and why you’re saying what you do, but I feel that with the position I’m in I have a responsibility to help change things. I know that isn’t going to be easy and know what that entails. But I think, if I don’t, then it’ll be something I’ll look back on in 10/15 years’ time and regret. I’ve already discovered there is research into transgender athletes and how athletic performance is impacted through transition, so I want to be involved in that too because that is going to be really important”.

that I was up to speed on LGBT+ despite having no direct connections with the community at that time. Em recommended that I watch the documentary “Disclosure”, which I did. That made me realise how my own perceptions, opinions and unconscious bias had been influenced in the previous years . Over the coming weeks with Em preparing to return to Manchester (that’s where the GB cycling squad are based) we’d had a conversation about her future and what she wanted to do. As a Mum my instinct was that she should disappear, remove herself from the cycling world and concentrate on her transition without the pressure or judgement that I knew elite sport would bring. Simply, I wanted her to be protected, to be safe and not become a target for some of the hate and rhetoric I’d seen in the media.

10

LGBTQYMRU

How could I do anything other than support her? To have that insight, show that maturity and to carry that decision at just 19 years of age? I recognised that in making that decision, this WAS far bigger than us. So, I made the commitment to do what I could as her Mum to help her journey be as easy as it could be. Em had already discovered that there was no Transgender Policy in place at British Cycling (they did launch a policy just a few days before Em came out to them) but there were policies in place in other sports and from Cycling’s World Governing body the UCI. As part of her own support network, she’d already been in touch with the charity Mermaids so the first thing I did was facilitate a meeting with their Head of Legal to clarify Em’s legal position as a transgender woman. I then contacted the British Athletes commission (support network for funded GB athletes) and UK Sport, reaching out to ensure that the necessary support would be in place for Em’s future discussions about her being transgender with British Cycling.


“I’m not afraid to reach out and push for change where it’s needed, after all this is my child, my daughter that we’re talking about. And that’s what I’d urge other parents to do. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others.”

At the same time, I sought out support & guidance from LGBT+ sports networks with our first point of contact being Lou Englefied of Pride Sports UK. Lou then facilitated links with LGBT Sport Cymru and LGBT Sport Media network as we recognised that once the word got out that Em was trans there’d be a media frenzy. This was based on our own initial perceptions, but was reinforced once we’d met (virtually) with two high profile trans women who’d shared their stories of how they’d been outed and hounded by the press. Controlling the narrative became very important and it was members of the LGBT+ community themselves - Jon Holmes (Sport Media LGBT), Beth Fisher (ITV Wales) and Michelle Daltry (LGBT Sport Cymru) - who held our hands in those early days and continue to be our go to allies and part of our support network. In fact, I’d say we’ve been embraced by the LGBT+ community. It’s been such a welcoming and supportive experience which has been much needed as Em has become the target of antitrans activists. But that’s a story for another day.

I’m in a different place now. Em’s resolve inspires me to keep pushing and keep supporting. I know that I have become something of an activist and have already had meetings with politicians as I look to ensure that her path becomes less bumpy. I’m not afraid to reach out and push for change where it’s needed, after all this is my child, my daughter that we’re talking about. And that’s what I’d urge other parents to do. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Despite what you think or what the response might be, there IS amazing and welcoming support available. By telephone, online, one to one within communities. You just need to work out which works best for you. For further support the follow organisations and individuals are available: Mermaids, Pride Sports UK, LGBT Sport Cymru, Sports Media, Beth Fisher, Other LGBT+ Sports Networks - PrideOUT UK – Cycling network, UK Athletics Pride network, UK Swimming Pride in Water

LGBTQYMRU

11


Photo: Carlaane Photography

Can you have your cake and eat it? One of the great things about Stonewall’s Diversity Champions and workplace equality index is that it benchmarks organisations across a range of diversity issues encouraging them to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive. This includes assessing the diversity in an organisation’s supply chain. By Craig Stephenson 12

LGBTQYMRU


That’s great to see for our large corporates but what about small suppliers or sole traders? Do they cater for the LGBTQ+ community or do they concentrate on the mass market? We decided to take a closer look at the wedding and events industry. Clearly, as LGBTQ+ consumers, we have an interest in ensuring that we’re represented – after all, we’re buying the goods and our money is as good as anyone else’s. We spoke to Jo Towers of Pontyclun-based Miss Havisham’s cakes, who, if you look at her social media platforms, is clearly bucking the trend with LGBTQ+ imagery mainstreamed as part of her business. Jo told us: “My clients regularly tell me that the UK, and certainly the Welsh wedding industry, trails behind when it comes to LGBTQ inclusion. I notice it too, I hear suppliers saying ‘my brides love these flowers’, forms still ask for bride and groom names and websites and social media images show mostly heterosexual couples.

“It might not seem like a big deal, but when you're planning and spending money on a really important day, you want to know your suppliers are going to be understanding and value you just as much as if you were a heterosexual couple." “Thankfully I’m by no means alone, other small Welsh businesses like mine advocate inclusivity. They stand out to me and are the businesses that I recommend to all of my clients. “I want couples to know I’m an inclusive business from the get-go so that they feel totally comfortable in their dealings with me. It’s really important that they can be themselves and completely relaxed when talking about something so important – a wedding, their love and their relationship. I want my business to be representative of our wonderfully diverse Wales.” At LGBTQYMRU, we’re very happy to talk about cake all day, but we took the conversation wider to find out what others in the industry had to say. We asked Oliver of Oliver J Photography for his perspective. As an openly gay man in the wedding industry he told us:

LGBTQYMRU

13


"One of the great things about Stonewall’s Diversity Champions and workplace equality index is that it benchmarks organisations across a range of diversity issues encouraging them to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive."

“Being primarily based in South Wales but fortunate enough to shoot at a variety of destinations across the world, I get to see a large perspective on attitudes towards our community within the wedding industry. “Even though there are still hurdles to vault over, I find there is a humbling amount of progression. Especially as a queer figure, within the South Wales wedding industry, inclusivity is always something I strive to promote and encourage, personally and professionally to couples and colleagues alike.” So if some Welsh businesses are taking the issue of representation and diversity seriously, what do LGBTQ consumers think? We were really pleased to hear from Harry Petty and Oliver Townsend, a gay couple who got married in December 2019. They found there were very few gay couples represented in wedding venue marketing, and this made them nervous about whether suppliers would be LGBT-friendly.

Cakes: Miss Havisham's Cakes

14

LGBTQYMRU

"We found that everything, from flowers to suits, was shown with heterosexual couples, apart from in a few adverts for (very expensive!) venues and jewellery in magazines aimed at gay men.


Photo: Oliver J Photography

“It might not seem like a big deal, but when you're planning and spending money on a really important day, you want to know your suppliers are going to be understanding and value you just as much as if you were a heterosexual couple. “In the end, we sidestepped the issue by sourcing most of our suppliers from word of mouth. "Our venues were amazing - our reception venue went out of its way to accommodate us and our guests, and we had a beautiful ceremony in an LGBT friendly church”. Clearly, at LGBTQymru, we don’t want anyone to feel they have to sidestep such an important issue. We can see that change is happening and that suppliers like Miss Havisham’s cakes and OliverJ photography have taken action to embrace our diverse community. Let’s hope that many more businesses do the same.

LGBTQYMRU

15


Gay Outdoors Club If you’re looking to shake off the cobwebs and be more active now lockdown is coming to an end, you could try joining the Gay Outdoor Club. By Matthew Tordoff 16

LGBTQYMRU


“If you’re looking for a way to get involved with other queer people that isn’t centred around gay nightlife, the Gay Outdoor Club may be the perfect opportunity for you” A queer, inclusive organisation with groups all across England and Wales which, despite the name, offers a variety of both indoor and outdoor exercises. There’s everything from walking, cycling, swimming, skiing, badminton to more adventurous activities like mountaineering, caving and even weekends away. Allyson Evans, the West Wales group’s coordinator and Women’s Representative says, “The Gay Outdoor Club is an outdoor activity club, fully inclusive to all LGBTQ+ people and their friends. We have 30 local groups throughout Great Britain plus specialist groups like cycling, swimming and skiing. New members can have a free 4 month trial period to attend events to see if the club is for them, before paying a membership fee. It's a great way of meeting new people from the LGBTQ+ community whilst socialising and enjoying the benefits of healthy exercise.” It’s important, especially after a global pandemic, to re-affirm our connections to others in the LGBTQ+ community. COVID-19 left us isolated, so if you’re looking for a way to get involved with other queer people that isn’t centred around gay nightlife, the Gay Outdoor Club may be the perfect opportunity for you.

“A great way of meeting new people from the LGBTQ+ community whilst socialising and enjoying the benefits of healthy exercise.” LGBTQYMRU

17


Music to my Queers Rose Parade Recording Company is an independent record label, who feel strongly that an exciting music scene should tell the story of a wide variety of people, reflecting the beauty and diversity of society. By Heather Roberts

Rose Parade released a string of singles from three fantastic, Welsh artists during the first half of 2021, all of whom are from the LGBTQ+ community. Telgate, Rona Mac and Dead Method graced the south Wales music scene with their unique styles, influences and messages.

TELGATE “LOVE ZONE” Fronted by transgender activist, Casper James, Telgate are an unapologetically queer, loud and honest band. Their major influences span 60s & 70s psych, glam rock and more, blended to inspire the eccentric and glamourous. Released by on 30th April, Love Zone is a rollercoaster ride of a track, full of camp, cheese and sass, moving from down-and-dirty blues to inyour-face punk – one of the band’s most beloved live songs that shows off their theatrical side.

18

LGBTQYMRU

Casper James says: “The song talks about sexuality in a humorous and sometimes vulgar manner – LGBTQ people’s sex life is so often frowned upon, seen as taboo and something that is expected to be unspoken of for the comfort of heterosexual people. Love Zone shows that we couldn’t care less about that.”

RONA MAC “WEAPON” Hailing from a picturesque corner of west Wales, singer-songwriter Rona Mac takes inspiration from a whole host of artists, citing classics such as Jeff Buckley and Red Hot Chilli Peppers through to more current acts such as Marika Hackman, Phoebe Bridgers, Sylvan Esso and Big Thief. Released on 12th May, “Weapon” is a guitardriven track providing the perfect backdrop for Rona’s distinctive vocals and sophisticated lyricism. Reflective of a tempestuous relationship and one that eventually came to end, the single


Rona explains: “The songs message is simple – love can be a weapon, and there comes a point when messy love loses its allure and all you want is something organic, simple and good... I produced this with a dear and heroic friend, Owain, at Studiowz, and we're very excited to play it to your ears.”

DEAD METHOD “DANCE WITH THE DEVIL” Dead Method (aka Lloyd Best) is one of Wales’ finest pop talents and a true DIY popstar. He is passionate about championing LGBTQ+ voices in the music industry. Working with his long-term producer, Minas, he conjures up dark alternative pop that explores sexuality, homophobia, love and loss, with sobering honesty and poetic flair.

“Choosing to dance with the ‘Devil’, is choosing freedom and liberation over chains and turmoil. It comes with a realisation that the world won’t end if you choose to be happy and disregard the fears/prejudices other people place over you.” Rose Parade hopes to continue supporting aspiring LGBTQ+ musicians via a specific community engagement arm. The label plans to offer workshops and other learning opportunities for those at the start of their musical journeys, with a mind to address the barriers to progression that are often experienced by those from less represented communities. By fostering an encouraging and information-rich environment, Rose Parade Recording Company intends to set a precedent for a more inclusive, diverse and exciting music scene.

‘Dance with the Devil’ was release on 21st May. Speaking about it, Lloyd says:

LGBTQYMRU

19


Anti-Wrinkle I Skin Boosters I Vitamin Shots

We’re a facial aesthetics clinic focused on clinical excellence. LGBTQ+ clinician based in a safe and discreet environment. We welcome all genders.

Clinically trained Dedicated specialists Safest treatments

B12 SHOT

vit.C SHOT vit.D SHOT HAY FEVER RELIEF

Kenalog SHOT

Customised for you Free phone: 0800 099 6610 Email: hello@face-clinic.co.uk

Sophia House, 28 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9LJ By appointment only.

www.face-clinic.co.uk

20

LGBTQYMRU

theface_clinic_


Welsh Government's LGBTQ+ Action Plan If you’re reading this magazine, you probably identify as LGBTQ+ or you’re an ally. We are therefore encouraging you to participate in Welsh Government’s consultation on its draft LGBTQ+ Action Plan.

The consultation is open until 22 October and it has been informed by an expert group. It is a thorough and well-balanced piece of work and contains a number of progressive actions across sectors to improve LGBTQ+ inclusion. It very much replicates LGBTQymru’s mantra – ‘for the Qommunity by the Qommunity’ and we cannot underestimate the importance of your voice in this consultation. This is a call to action and it’s vital that our readers’ opinions are input to the process. If you don’t believe that your view is important, take a look at the social media comments received when the consultation was announced by Welsh Government on 29 July. People are assembling to voice their opposition and attempting to deny our human rights to live lives free from prejudice, hatred and harm. Please take action and click on the link below to ensure your voice is heard and to make a positive contribution to a more inclusive Wales. https://gov.wales/lgbtq-action-plan

LGBTQYMRU

21


Need Legal Support? A legal service for LGBTQ+ individuals has been set up by the Speakeasy Law Centre which is based in Cardiff and offers free legal advice to people not just in the city, but across the Vale of Glamorgan. They specialise in social welfare issues like welfare benefits, debt, housing, and employment law. By Fen Shields

The Speakeasy Advice Centre opened twentyfive years ago although the LGBTQ+ side of the service was introduced in February of this year in partnership with the Justice First Fellowship and Law Works Cymru. The service places specific emphasis on providing support for transgender people. People can refer themselves to the service through the Speakeasy website and will receive a free consultation before being connected with a specialist lawyer who is themselves LGBTQ. Although the clinic has only been up and running for a short period of time they have already received positive feedback including a testimonial from someone who had accessed the service after a really tough time in work with a lot of transphobia. The individual said ‘the service was amazing, quick and professional. Everyone involved was friendly and supportive. I was not even fully aware that I had been discriminated against in the first place, but everything was made clear to me. There is such little awareness

22

LGBTQYMRU

and understanding of LGBTQ+ law, so I think the clinic is such an excellent idea and just at the right time with how difficult things are, especially for trans people’. As a result of the support from the LGBTQ+ law clinic the individual was able to secure a settlement agreement. To find out more or to make an appointment you can email cardifflgbtqclinic@protonmail.com, visit the website at https://www.speakeasy. cymru/hello or call 029 20453111

“People can refer themselves to the service through the Speakeasy website and will receive a free consultation before being connected with a specialist lawyer who is themselves LGBTQ.”


LGBTQYMRU

23


UP CLOSE & PERSONAL J A C K E M O RY

24

LGBTQYMRU


In our series of up close and personal interviews, we asked our Qommunity Reporter, Matthew Tordoff, to find out more about hugely successful makeup artist and newly emerging drag queen, Jack Emory. Here’s what they found out.

Jack Emory is an established make-up artist and a prominent figure on social media, but unfortunately, like many queer kids, he didn’t have an idyllic childhood. “I think a lot of queer people can relate to the struggles most of us face growing up. I had a great relationship with my family but I always felt disconnected and distanced because I was hiding my true self.” Jack experienced a pattern of homophobic bullying at school and felt isolated because of a lack of queer representation in the media: “There weren't many people in mainstream media that I could see myself in, no one I could look up who was having the same feelings as me, so there definitely wasn’t anyone in my personal life or home life that I had for that either.”

“I had a great relationship with my family but I always felt disconnected and distanced because I was hiding my true self” LGBTQYMRU

25


“It was a freedom of expression that I’d never experienced” Jack hadn’t ever really considered experimenting with make-up during his early teenage years. It wasn’t until he was older, around 18 or 19, when he stumbled across a drag make-up tutorial during a YouTube binge and the rest is history. “I was suddenly obsessed with everything drag and makeup related,” says Jack, “it consumed me. It was a freedom of expression that I’d never experienced. I was suddenly happier about this thing than anything else in my life before.”

His artistry has only evolved and opened the door to some amazing career opportunities, like a curated make-up box with Roccabox. Jack’s self-described ‘face doodles’ aren’t just a career to him - there’s a sense of liberation and freedom, whenever he picks up a make-up brush. “I can’t quite explain it but my feelings towards makeup have drastically changed over the years since I started. It feels so familiar now, like I can do whatever I want if I just sit down and try.” Jack’s creativity doesn’t stop with make-up artistry. When he puts down the make-up brush, he quickly picks up a paint-brush instead.

26

LGBTQYMRU


“I’ve recently been teaching myself to make clothes and style hair, because of drag, which I’m loving!”

“I actually love to draw and paint, like I said I’ve always been very artistic and creative. Makeup takes up a lot of my time and is my full time job, so I don’t really get to be creative in that way very much, but when I have the time to draw I definitely take advantage of it.” Jack’s also been developing his drag-related skills: “I’ve recently been teaching myself to make clothes and style hair, because of drag, which I’m loving!” You can keep up with every stunning look on Jack’s Instagram (@jaackemory) or watch his countless make-up tutorials and videos on YouTube (JaackEmory).

LGBTQYMRU

27


WHEN WILL THE TIDE IS TURNING

CONVERSION THERAPY ON THIS OUTDATED

INSULTING

BE ILLEGAL? & EXTREMELY DAMAGING PRACTICE

By Craig Stephenson

28

LGBTQYMRU


“We are impatient for change on this issue so we urge the UK Government to move with more pace and priority to make this practice illegal.”

Images: House of Commons

There has been a lot of talk about conversion therapy recently. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s sometimes called "reparative therapy" or "gay cure therapy" and tries to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity. It is widely condemned for being unethical and for the harm it can do to individuals’ mental well-being.

There has been a longstanding commitment by the UK Government to ban it, but there seems to have been very little progress. The story so far is that following the Queen’s Speech to Parliament in May 2021 which set out the UK Government’s legislative programme, Liz Truss MP, the UK’s Minister for Women and Equalities, announced the intention to ban conversion therapy and to set up a support fund offering help to those affected by conversion therapy. She said: LGBTQYMRU

29


“We want to make sure that people in this country are protected, and these proposals mean nobody will be subjected to coercive and abhorrent conversion therapy” That sounds great doesn’t it? So why is there controversy about the issue? We believe that there are just too many caveats. The UK Government website which publishes the Minister’s statement says that a Bill would come forward “as soon as parliamentary time allows”. This suggests that there isn’t sufficient priority being given to legislating on the issue. Back in 2018, while Theresa May was Prime Minister, the UK Government promised that it would be banned in its equality action plan. In March, three advisers left the LGBT Advisory Panel alleging that the UK Government was being too slow while Stonewall said that it should “stop dragging its feet”. Another delay to the introduction to the promised legislation will be the proposed consultation. Worryingly vague, the UK Government website states that the consultation will seek further views from the public and key stakeholders to ensure that they ban conversion therapy while protecting

30

LGBTQYMRU

“Some readers may recall that in 2018, there was a UK-wide LGBT government survey. It is reported that about 5% of the 108,000 people who responded said they had been offered conversion therapy while 2% said they had undergone it.”


the medical profession, defending freedom of speech, and upholding religious freedom. We’re not sure exactly what that means, but if there are exemptions to the ban, there will undoubtedly be uproar from the LGBTQ community and our allies. Some readers may recall that in 2018, there was a UK-wide LGBT government survey. It is reported that about 5% of the 108,000 people who responded said they had been offered conversion therapy while 2% said they had undergone it. Reports on the survey state that about 10% of Christian respondents and 20% of Muslims said they had undergone or been offered conversion therapy, compared to 6% with no religion. More than half said it was conducted by a faith group, while one in five received it from healthcare professionals. In July, Dame Angela Eagle DBE MP, longtime LGBTQ+ campaigner tweeted that the UK Government “must get on with introducing an absolute ban on conversion therapy with no religious exemptions” following her contribution to the House of Commons Pride month debate. Take a minute to view her contribution courtesy of the House of Commons.

We were delighted to read on 24 June that the Llandaff Diocese tweeted “There’s no excuse. Ban Gay Conversion Therapy says @ ChurchinWales Bench of Bishops”. We are taking this opportunity to publish their short statement alongside this article. At LGBTQymru, we feel that the tide is turning on this outdated, insulting and extremely damaging practice and that public opinion is with us thanks to the tireless work of campaigners. We are impatient for change on this issue so we urge the UK Government to move with more pace and priority to make this practice illegal.

LGBTQYMRU

31


Our resident psychotherapist, Andy Garland, founder and clinical director at Andy Garland Therapies, the mental health clinic, joins the LGBTQymru team to answer your questions.

32

LGBTQYMRU


“Relationships can be complicated and need to be worked on, regardless of a pandemic. Accept that this past year has been difficult, and that Coronavirus has put people under an extraordinary level of stress.”

QUESTION I'm worried about my relationship. During Covid and the long winter lockdown in particular, I've become short tempered with my partner. We've spent too much time together I think. I'm hyper critical of them and they're hyper critical of me - we're always finding the mistakes or something to have a go at. It feels like the relationship is going to implode! Do you have any advice? from Jazz

ANSWER COVID has been such a testing time for many people, and has affected us in so many different ways. Cooped up together in homes all over the world, many of us have felt the strain on our relationships. Juggling chores, work and worrying about health, finances and the state of the world. This global crisis has left many of us also navigating a domestic crisis of our own behind closed doors.

The condensed amount of time spent together and shared environment has challenged even the most stable of relationships. I can see that you’ve been experiencing a challenge or two yourself Jazz. A survey by the UK charity Relate in April found that nearly a quarter of people felt lockdown had placed additional pressure on their relationship. A further survey by the charity in July, found 8% of people said lockdown had made them realise they needed to end their relationship. Though 43% said lockdown had brought them closer – good news! Many of the smaller niggles in a relationship have been magnified tenfold during this time, so those ‘hyper-critical’ moments you describe, can have a greater impact. Relationships can be complicated and need to be worked on, regardless of a pandemic. Accept that this past year has been difficult, and that Coronavirus has put people under an extraordinary level of stress.

LGBTQYMRU

33


“I want you to remember that the abuse has nothing to do with your choice of dress code, sexuality or gender. It’s the prejudices and personal experiences of the abuser that inform the abusive attacks on you - it’s their stuff that they project onto you.”

34

LGBTQYMRU


QUESTION Advice for people especially the younger generation on how to deal with abuse from strangers when out the house, and how to stop being scared of leaving the house especially when wearing what you want - Olivia

ANSWER

Ultimately, as human beings, we want to know we’re being listened to. Think about setting aside some time each week to air your frustrations with each other. This will give each of you the opportunity to talk openly about your concerns and allow you to check-in on your feelings and emotions. This should help reroute misunderstandings and minimise any short temperedness. If you accept that your own definition of normality has been turned upside down over this period, it can help you lower the expectations, not only on yourself but also on your relationship. As lockdown restrictions are nearing an end, and our freedom to live life in a relatively normal way restarts, find interests and activities that you can enjoy separate from your partner. Give yourself the opportunity to rediscover your life independently, and then share your individual experiences with each other in conversation at a later date. Think about setting new priorities - since our idea of normalcy has already being flipped upside down, this could be the perfect time for you both to chat about what works well in your relationship and what could be improved. Finding a way to be open and honest with each other can steer you in a healthy direction, and you may even find that your relationship begins to thrive.

Verbal and emotional abuse is never justified Olivia, so if you have regular concerns about specific situations, I would advise you to speak to the Police and report any abuse you may be experiencing. The ultimate advice here is to keep yourself safe and away from harm. The ideal world is one where difference is accepted and celebrated, though unfortunately some people view being different as a threat. You don’t mention if the abuse is physical, so I’m assuming it’s a verbal attack. Verbal abuse is a way of attacking or negatively defining another person using words or silence as a weapon. It can take a variety of forms ranging from loud rants to passive-aggressive remarks. I want you to remember that the abuse has nothing to do with your choice of dress code, sexuality or gender. It’s the prejudices and personal experiences of the abuser that inform the abusive attacks on you - it’s their stuff that they project onto you. Knowing this can help you understand that difference is yours to own, and should never be muted to conform to perceived societal norms. If you don’t know them, the most instinctive way to respond to a verbal abuser is to attempt to reason with them, however this is rarely effective, and this can put you in a place of harm. I’d suggest that you refuse to engage with a verbal abuser and refrain from trying to reason and argue with them. This will show the abuser

LGBTQYMRU

35


“I find writing down 3 positive things about yourself each day can help you refocus on your qualities, and what makes you special, ultimately what makes you unique.”

that they are not acting rationally, and that you are not going to put up with the behaviour by interacting with the abuse. Abuse is often about power, and the person who abuses you, uses that power to create fear and to intimidate – they are often looking for a reaction. I mentioned earlier that the main outcome is to keep yourself safe and away from harm. So, don’t feel that you have to stand up to an abusive stranger, as this can be a dangerous situation to put yourself in. Maybe notice what they are wearing, and any other identifying features like height, hair colour, along with the location, date and time of day. Make a note of these, as this information will help you to report any abuse, should you contact the Police.

36

LGBTQYMRU

I appreciate that even a strangers comments can have a negative impact on how we feel. Though I’d like you to remember that you choose how important you make this stranger. Don’t let them play a leading role in your life – let them be a part of the crowd – forgettable! Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are okay. I find writing down 3 positive things about yourself each day can help you refocus on your qualities, and what makes you special, ultimately what makes you unique. Just continue being you Olivia.


Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? Sometimes saying nothing can be the kindest response.

LGBTQYMRU

37


QOMMUNITY CHAMPION Dani St. James

38

LGBTQYMRU


DANI ST. JAMES IS AN ACTIVIST, ENTREPRENEUR, SELF-PROCLAIMED ‘GOBBY GAL FROM BARRY’ AND THIS EDITION’S QOMMUNITY CHAMPION.

Get to know a little bit more about this powerhouse activist, their visions for the future of their charity, and what one of their biggest turn offs is... In the spirit of the late, great Cilla Black, ‘what’s your name, and where d’ya come from’? Hahaha, I'm Dani St James and I'm from Barryyyyyyyyyy! From your pageant days, to First Dates, to the success of your modelling career and Not A Phase, the media seems to have followed you through your journey. What has that been like? It's so bizarre that the pageant days still come up now! It makes it sound so much more than it actually was, which was one pageant that I lost at the age of 21! But you’re right, the media have covered a fair bit of what I’ve gotten up to over the years, which is quite fun to look back on, I guess - a few questionable fashion choices are to be found for sure. It's a blessing and a curse I’d say: it's nice to be cheered on, but it's also a case of once it's out there, it’s out there forever! LGBTQYMRU

39


nowhere near the size of a platform that some of my peers have, it's still something that I’m very aware of. Becoming self aware really changed the type of content that I decided to put out: it comes from a very premeditated place now for the most part. Why do you think the media has facilitated such openly opposing views on trans rights in recent years? I don't think that this is just a current problem, I think it's a forever problem that has been enabled by the ridiculous caricatures of trans folk in the media over the last few decades. We are vilified, marginalised and used as the butt of the joke, and the media is responsible for that! They have failed by enabling hatred. We have to talk about Not A Phase. Tell us everything. How did it start and what does the future look like? Has there ever been a time when you wish you didn’t have the relationship you have with the media? Yeah there has. There have been times where I have wished that I had been way more selective with things that I have lent my name to at least. But I can't sit here and complain about it, it’s given me a crazy ride. When did you realise you had the ability to influence the information people were receiving about queer people, and did that change your approach to your online presence? That's a great question! It's only over the past 2 years that I have understood the responsibility that comes with having a following of any size. Right now across all platforms, around 50,000 people have made the decision to follow what I'm up to, and that’s bonkers! Although it's 40

LGBTQYMRU

Gosh, massive question! It started about 18 months ago, and was originally a tshirt design that my friend did to raise money for Mermaids after the news was reported on the leaked documents coming out of the Government Equalities Office regarding the retraction of healthcare for trans youth. We were so enraged that we partnered up and began to build; eventually she left to pursue other projects but I kept going and now we are viewed as a really respectable charity supporting the lives of trans adults throughout the whole of the UK. Thankfully, now that we seem to be looking towards the end of the COVID-19 restrictions, we are finally able to start rolling out our safe spaces, wellness programmes and community resource distribution services. On top of this I’m working with some massive companies on their HR diversity strategies and on educating their internal teams on trans issues and how they can best support gender nonconforming individuals in the workplace.


“I don't think that this is just a current problem, I think it's a forever problem that has been enabled by the ridiculous caricatures of trans folk in the media over the last few decades.”

There's tonnes on the horizon and we have so much in the works, I can't tell you how elated I am to be at the helm of this. What can we expect from Dani St. James in the future? As an individual and outside of Not A Phase, I have actually just signed with a really slick, progressive agency this week; so, alongside all of the activism and charity work, I'm really excited to be getting more involved with brands for content and campaigns. I have a few campaigns that have already been shot coming out soon too. I'm also revisiting a project that I had to put down a couple of years ago to launch an underwear line specifically tailored for the needs of the community. I'm ideally going to have that out within the next 2 months. Not too bad for that lil gobby gal from Barry, eh?

LGBTQYMRU

41


Describe yourself in three words. Competitive, fun, kind. What’s your favourite word? Ubiquitous What’s your least favourite word?

If you could be doing anything in the world right now, what would it be? Walking my mum's dogs along Barry Island beach with my boyfriend Alix. If you could change one thing, what would it be?

Progress. Personally and for my community.

The government's funding to the NHS, specifically relating to the funding of the Gender Clinics up and down the country, trans people waiting 5+ years for a first appointment is an epidemic and needs to be resolved.

What turns you off creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Who would you like to see on the next bank note?

TAX What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Coriander

Amy Winehouse.

If you could be doing anything in the world right now, what would it be?

Best advice you were ever given? Joy is your birthright, always allow yourself joy.

Walking my mum's dogs along Barry Island beach with my boyfriend Alix.

"Joy is your birthright, always allow yourself joy."

42

LGBTQYMRU


LGBTQYMRU

43


MOVIE REVIEW

Carol (2015) STARRING CATE BLANCHETT & ROONEY MARA / DIRECTED BY TODD HAYNES

The 1950s saw a boom in the genre of Lesbian Pulp Fiction, affordable and often lurid novels penned by men, and certainly not intended for female readership. By Evie Barker

These short novels presented lesbianism as a certain tragedy and often ended with their protagonist's demise or salvation through ‘the love of a good man’. When Patricia Highsmith published The Price of Salt in 1952, lesbian fiction was revolutionised. The queer author told a self-inspired tale that did not result in a nervous breakdown, suicide, or heterosexual marriage. The novel was adapted into the movie Carol in 2015. The large gap in time between publication and premiere shows the prevailing reluctancy to present queer love that is not ill fated (google the ‘bury your gays’ TV trope for more). But make no mistake, Carol’s central romance is not without its trials and tribulations. Some may take issue with the couple’s age gap or the inclusion of past infidelity, preferring to see LGBT representation that is unproblematic and embraceable. However, the 1950s setting means that an ‘easy’ lesbian love story would simply be innacurrate owing to the illegality and subsequent danger of same sex relationships in this era.

44

LGBTQYMRU


When Patricia Highsmith published The Price of Salt in 1952, lesbian fiction was revolutionised. The queer author told a self-inspired tale that did not result in a nervous breakdown, suicide, or heterosexual marriage Carol’s tumultuous love story carries all the tension of a thriller balanced with the emotional intensity of a romance. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara perfectly show their characters’ connection through subtle gazes that befit the difficult environment they have found love in. Though queer actors for queer parts is an essential component in diversifying the movie industry, Blanchett holds gay icon status and is the embodiment of Carol Aird. Sandy Powell’s

historically accurate and nuanced costuming convincingly moulds her into the repressed mother and black sheep of her elite social circle. Visually, Carol is faultless, its players are dolls posed gracefully amongst set pieces that transport viewers to 1950s New York. Its sophisticatedly muted colour palette and delicate script, penned by queer writer Phyllis Nagy, create a quietly powerful movie. This subtlety may lead viewers to find Carol slow going; the story relies heavily on what is left unsaid and is certainly not action packed. Worth the watch though for the simple pleasure of seeing lesbian royalty Sarah Paulson in the role of Carol’s best friend and former lover. Carol makes regular appearances in LGBT movie charts alongside favourites like Moonlight. Unlike its rival, however, Carol lacks somewhat in diversity of casting. However, by starring an established actor like Cate Blanchett, the movie undeniably gained traction outside of the queer community, helping to normalise queer love stories. It is clear that Carol has been handled with care by the members and allies of the LGBT community involved in the movie’s production. This intimate retelling of a game changing piece

LGBTQYMRU

45


ANGLES EY

DANCING QUEEN By Lilium James

"He bought a car that converted the exhaust fumes into rose-scented perfume, he had a fleet of poodles. He made a ping-pong jacket and wanted it to be green - so he made it out of real emeralds,... He didn't understand the concept of costume jewellery - he thought it all had to be real…" — SEIRIOL DAVIES

Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey, ‘Toppy’ to his friends, was an eccentric, regarded as the "black sheep" of the family, he was dubbed "the dancing marquess”. He was known for his Butterfly Dancing where he wore a voluminous robe of transparent white silk to be waved like wings. While we don’t know what label he might have used to describe himself had he been around today, and indeed it would be a shame to reduce this unparalleled figure to one modern label, there is no doubt of his place as important gender non-confroming representation in history, especially in Wales. Upon inheriting his father’s fortune, Paget swiftly acquired a reputation for a lavish and spendthrift manner of living. He used his money to buy jewellery and furs, and to throw extravagant parties and flamboyant theatrical performances. He renamed the family's country seat Plas Newydd as "Anglesey Castle" and converted the chapel there into a 150-seat theatre, named the

46

LGBTQYMRU


Gaiety Theatre. For its opening show, Aladdin, he lit a three-mile path of flaming torches all the way to the main square in the nearest village, Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­ tysilio­gogo­goch. The lavish Christmas pantomime ran until June. The jewels on the costumes alone were worth (at today’s value) around £46 million. He had no plans to recoup the cost through sales: tickets were free to anyone who wanted them. Emboldened by Aladdin’s modest success, Paget mounted a tour of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, a bold move since Wilde had been recently jailed for ‘obscenity’. With a company of 50 (orchestra included), they set out on the road in cars whose exteriors were redecorated to look like the carriages of the Orient Express. From then on Paget took the lead role in every show, always opulently costumed. One journalist wrote, "I am driven to the conclusion from much that I have seen that there are men who ought to have been born women, and women who ought to have been born men … Bearing the form of a man, he yet had all the tastes, something even of the appearance, of not only a woman, but, if the phrase be permissible, a very effeminate woman". Norena Shopland wrote that "there is little doubt that Henry must be included in the history of gender identity.” While his outlandish behaviour had shut him out of high society, in Anglesey he had become a treasured eccentric. His biographer Professor Viv Gardner, a performance historian at Manchester University said “He developed a relationship with the local community though his shows… In 21stcentury eyes, it’s very strange. But he created a sort of utopia. At the same time as all this was going on, there was Lord Penrhyn, over the straits, only five miles away, behaving abominably, like the arch-capitalist out of a melodrama, locking out the starving slate workers. Yet on this island utopia you’ve got an eccentric aristocrat being invited to kick off local football matches.” After Paget’s death in Monte Carlo in 1905 following a long illness, the title passed to his cousin Charles Henry Alexander Paget, who destroyed all the papers and diaries of the Marquess and converted the Gaiety Theatre back into a chapel. In its obituary, The Welsh Coast Pioneer praised him for his many anonymous acts of charity, but papers beyond Wales either

“While we don’t know what label he might have used to describe himself had he been around today… there is no doubt of his place as important gender non-confroming representation in history, especially in Wales.”

mocked or pitied him. There is a questionable story that his butler once asked him what to do with a few spare fire extinguishers. The Marquess replied, “Put them in my coffin. I shall need them.” Charles’ attempt to erase Paget from history completely have delightfully failed. In 2017 the actor and composer Seiriol Davies wrote and performed in How To Win Against History, a musical based on Paget's life, and by doing so has become a passionate defender of the Marquess. "It's not just a story about a whacky man who splashed money up the wall - it's also about a man who was erased from history," said musical stage biographer Seiriol Davies. "Queer history is erased.” When asked about the meaning of the show he explained “I wanted to ask what can we glean from the fragments of history, how we might even change the world about us,” says Davies. “Also, I wanted to get onstage in a dress.” Davies and Paget truly are kindred spirits. LGBTQYMRU

47


WHAT'S IN YOUR CLOSET? If you’ve been anywhere near Welsh TikTok or the gates of hell, you know who Ellis Lloyd Jones is! By Bleddyn Harris

Hailing from the Rhondda Valleys, Ellis is a rising star who has amassed nearly 200,000 followers on TikTok, has starred on BBC Three’s Young, Welsh, and Bossin’ It, and has even worked with the Welsh Government to encourage and remind people to be safe (but sassy) during the Covid-19 lockdowns. To many, Ellis is a role model. In not shying away or concealing his authentic self from his platform, Ellis continues to be a visible (and fabulous) example that who you are is more than enough. So we caught up with Ellis to get to know more about the person behind the camera, to get to know what’s in their closet!

48

LGBTQYMRU


“To many, Ellis is a role model. In not shying away or concealing his authentic self from his platform, Ellis continues to be a visible (and fabulous) example that who you are is more than enough.”

LGBTQYMRU

49


10s Across the Board The category is love and the Welsh Ballroom Community has snatched the grand prize! By Bleddyn Harris By Alistair James 50

LGBTQYMRU


“It will be a celebration of the ballroom scene in Wales, offering a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to experience what an authentic ball looks and feels like. It’s also going to be a celebration of our Welsh heritage.”

Following a long tradition of creating spaces where queer people could flourish and feel a sense of community, the Welsh Ballroom Community draws its inspiration from and models itself after the ballroom, ball, or house culture that originated and flourished in Harlem, New York between the 70s and the turn of the millenium. Tired of increasing racial bias that often favoured white queens in a drag ball culture that preceded the ballroom culture we are most familiar with today, the balls became a place where Black and Latino queer communities could find their chosen family, be celebrated, and, according to Dorian Corey, the Mother of the House of Corey in Livingston’s Paris is Burning, ‘be anything you want’. Categories were an integral element of the balls that gave Houses - a surrogate family for Black and Latino queer people who were often LGBTQYMRU

51


estranged from their biological families and the societal constructs around heteronormativity the opportunity to compete against one another for trophies and reputation. Categories such as runway, vogue, sex siren and face gave those who attended the balls the opportunity to ‘walk’ and embody a societal model that they were often denied access to as a result of racism, classism, and queerphobia. At the end of each round, a group of judges would then give their scores, often basing them on the person’s realness - their ability to ‘pass’ as straight or cisgendered in the outside world. It’s a shameful truth that the world hasn’t changed much: there are still many queer people of colour across the world who are marginalised and denied the same access as their white and cisgendered queer siblings due to their race, ethnicity, and/or gender identity. The need for a community where we all have a space to be celebrated, supported, and championed for who we are is more prevalent than ever.

52

LGBTQYMRU

“The need for a community where we all have a space to be celebrated, supported, and championed for who we are is more prevalent than ever.”


Enter the Welsh Ballroom Community. Founder and dancer, Leighton, told us that he decided to start the Community because he wanted ‘to offer a safe space for LGBTQ+ people in Wales, which would allow them to express themselves freely and be who they want to be without being judged by society.’ And from the moment I entered the dance studio, I couldn’t help but feel that with the arrival of each member of the Community there was a static energy beginning to fill the air: I was in the eye of a fierce and mighty storm that was about to bring it to their runway in the iconic Wales Millenium Centre. And did they bring the house down boots! Not only was I swept up in the sheer passion and commitment each member had when practising the categories that they will one day undoubtedly snatch trophies in, I was blown away by their commitment to one another. Both on and off the ballroom runway they were a living,

breathing, voguing example of what it means to be a community.history, and love, family, and community will always be in vogue. Members Muz, Tayo, and Ceeme captured it beautifully when they serenaded me with their rendition of Dreamgirls ‘we’re a family, like a giant tree''. What’s more, they’re moving from the dance floor to the main stage and putting Welsh ballroom on the map by hosting the first-ever ball tomorrow at the Wales Millenium Centre! When I asked Leighton what the audience can expect, they said ‘it will be a celebration of the ballroom scene in Wales, offering a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to experience what an authentic ball looks and feels like. It’s also going to be a celebration of our Welsh heritage, this is why all of our categories have a Welsh theme.’ There are two things I know for certain, the Welsh Ballroom Community will be a bright and lasting jewel in the crown of Wales-based LGBTQ+

LGBTQYMRU

53


Wales-wide Support Service for LGBTQ+ people LGBT Cymru Helpline LGBT+ Helpline and counselling service line@lgbtcymru.org.uk Umbrella Cymru Gender and Sexual Diveristy Support Specialists info@umbrellacymru.co.uk 0300 3023670 Kaleidoscope Drug and alcohol support services 0633 811950 Fflag Support services for parents and their LGBTQ+ Children 0845 652 0311 New Pathways Rape crisis and sexual abuse support enquiries@newpathways.org.uk LGBT+ Switchboard Switchboard.lgbt 0300 330 0630 Glitter Cymru BAME LGBT+ Social Group - Based in Cardiff glittercymru@gmail.com Mind Cymru Mental health information and support services info@mind.org.uk 0300 123 3393

54

LGBTQYMRU

Samaritans Support for anyone samaritans.org/wales 116 123 LGBT Asylum Seeker Support and guidance for LGBT+ Asylum seekers - Based in Swansea 01792 520111 Stonewall Cymru LGBT+ Information and guidance 0800 0502020 Victim Support Hate Crime and support and reporting 0300 3031 982 Wipeout Transphobia Information and support for Gender Diverse People 0844 245 2317 Bi Cymru Network for bi people and people attracted to more than one gender bicymru@yahoo.co.uk Galop LGBT+ Domestic abuse helpline and support service help@galop.org.uk Galop.org.uk 0800 999 5428


Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru HIV and sexual health information and support 0808 802 1221 Head Above the Waves Information and guidance of depression and self-harm in young people Hatw.co.uk UNIQUE A voluntary group supporting Trans* (transgender) people in North Wales & West Cheshire. Elen Heart - 01745 337144 Welsh Women’s Aid If you or a friend are experiencing domestic violence/abuse and would like further information. 02920 541 551 Dyn Project Provides advice and support to heterosexual, gay, bisexual and transgender men who are experiencing domestic violence/abuse. www.dynwales.org/ Trans*form Cymru A project funded by the Welsh Government supporting trans* young people to understand their rights and to support youth-facing operations to address discrimination. youthcymru.org.uk/cy/transform-cymru-2/ Rustic Rainbow An informal group for LGB&T people who love the natural beauty of North Wales. www.facebook.com/groups/443148552374541/

Carmarthenshire LGBTQ+ Project a project set up to promote the LGBTQ+ community in Carmarthenshire. carmslgbtqplus.org.uk Rainbow Biz This social enterprise encourages inclusion and celebrates differences in Flintshire. www.rainbowbiz.org.uk Shelter Cymru Free, independent, expert housing advice sheltercymru.org.uk/lgbt-aware Llamau Support and information for youth homelessness www.llamau.org.uk/our-vision-and-mission Newport LGBTQ+ Youth Group A new group for LGBTQ+ young people (aged 11-25) who reside in Newport. www.facebook.com/NewportLGBTQYouth The Gathering - Cardiff A registered charity with a board of trustees, and have 5 volunteer pastors who provide specific support for LGBTQ+ Christians. www.thegatheringcardiff.org mail@thegatheringcardiff.org PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide. Are you a young person who is struggling with life or perhaps you are worried about a young person who may be having thoughts of suicide? For practical, confidential help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

LGBT+ Youth Club The LGBT+ Youth Club is an opportunity for young people aged 15-21 to enjoy themselves, have fun, meet friends and be themselves in Caernarfon. LGBT@gisda.co.uk

LGBTQYMRU

55