‘Pageboy’, the upcoming memoir from Elliot Page, is set to be an Immense Personal Triumph
Described by publishers as “ground-breaking”, Juno and The Umbrella Academy star Elliot Page has announced the release of his first book and memoir, ‘Pageboy’. With a release date of June 6th 2023, Page took to Instagram to share the news, along with an in-depth and personal explanation as to the contents and meaning behind his decision to write such a memoir.
The actor wrote, “The act of writing, reading, and sharing the multitude of our experiences is an important step in standing up to those who wish to silence and harm us.” Pages’ use of ‘us’, here, is in reference to the trans community, following the actor’s December 2020 announcement that he identified as a transgender man following months of intense self-reflection during the COVID-19 enforced lockdowns.
He reflected on this further through the announcement of ‘Pageboy’, highlighting how promotional photoshoots often left him feeling uncomfortable in his own body during his pre-transition stardom: “At many points in my life it felt unbearable to be in front of a camera but making this cover with acclaimed photographer Catherine Opie was a joyful experience that I will never forget.”
He takes this notion further, ending the post on a note of hope for other transgender individuals that this comfortability is achievable, which appears to be a message that will continue throughout the pages of his memoir. “I could barely sit still, let alone focus long enough to complete such a task. At last, I can be with myself, in this body.”
Page is best known for his role in the coming-of-age teen movie Juno, released in 2007. More recently, the star has taken on a leading role in popular Netflix superhero series, The Umbrella Academy.
‘Pageboy’ by Elliot Page will be published by Flatiron and available for sale in stores and online from June 2023.
What Loyle Carner did with ‘hugo’ was an unprecedented stroke of genius, but a stroke of genius nonetheless
Born and raised in South London, Carner used ‘hugo‘to enhance not only his old sound but his societal commentary. His typical jazz-influenced sound has dug its heels into the majority of the album’s tracks, but with a speed and intensity that we haven’t yet heard from Carner. With singles and first tracks “Hate” and “Georgetown” setting the tone for the album as something that is not only deeply personal but inquisitive; a man that is clearly angry with the view of society his magnifying glass has shown him.
‘hugo’, Carner’s third studio album, takes on the role of exploring identity with issues of race and family co-existing at the forefront, ignited by the more recent birth of his son. To which Carner has dedicated a song, ‘Homerton’. The song represents a self-discussion that sees him come to terms with the mistakes he has made as a father, as well as taking on a new understanding and forgiveness towards his own father, having seen him make similar mistakes. “Sometimes, the parents need their kids more than the kids need the parents”. It is a track that emulates the start of a journey of reconciliation, with himself and the man that came before him.
Whilst ‘Homerton’ starts the journey of forgiveness, ‘HGU’ finishes it. The track takes on another introspective approach and sees Loyle finish the album with a clear message; in what is a short story of the forgiveness he has recently experienced towards his father for the mistakes he made, Carner forgives himself. It is a much bigger message than what it may initially seem and is a message that a lot of people will be able to relate to, especially with such an unmistakably sincere and urgent quality of production. Carner does not only want us to listen to his words, but to carry them with us in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of ourselves and, perhaps, our familial relationships.
These sharp and insistent tracks do not stop at exploring his identity as a father, but also his identity as a mixed-race man. The most notable of which is “Georgetown”, a track featuring and born out of Afro-Guyanese poet John Agard and his well-known poem “Half-Caste”. Both explore the metaphor of a piano, and how its black and white keys are necessary to constitute a full instrument. It is a metaphor that highlights Loyle’s eventual self-acceptance of his mixed-race identity, as well as suggesting a reassuring self-love for his heritage. A piano is full and whole with its black and white keys, and so is he. It is a necessary and loving message but is not one that ends there. Tracks such as “Plastic” and “Blood On My Nikes” create a running commentary on societies handling of race-related issues. Particularly, the desensitising the media has created towards the violence young, black and mixed-race men experience in London, whilst the world continues to spin with its focus on shiny, ‘plastic’ things to take away from the real issues at hand.
And finally, Loyle, of course, does not shy away from exploring how his father’s identity as a black man played a role in impacting their relationship. We return to “HGU” to delve into such a connection; the opening lyrics “I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you” provide finality to a complicated relationship between father and son; forgiveness. But we’re not left with just that, we are shown an understanding that could come from self-introspection. Carner illustrates a notion that those with difficult upbringings may all hope to understand, “Hurt people hurt people.” But he takes it one step further, “Especially the ones who weren’t equal/the burnt treacle.” The black man, the men who were not equal to their white counterparts and by that logic were left waking up on the wrong side of the bed every day by society’s standards. Simply, it is harder to be black in contemporary Britain. We have not yet reached equality, and that kind of pain trickles through generations and relationships. It appears Carner, through his own battle with his identity, has discovered and come to terms with this notion in regard to his own father/son relationship.
‘hugo‘ is a hugely successful album that takes a magnifying glass to society, to fatherhood, and most importantly, to how these affect Carner as an individual. It is a captivating, soulful album in both production and lyricism, and one that we should pay thanks to merely for its existence. Loyle Carner does not shy away from anything, perhaps in hope that, eventually, no one else will either.
Will Liz Truss do any good for the LGBTQ+ community during her time as Prime Minister?
On the 6th of September, the now-former Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader, Boris Johnson, made way for a new era in politics in the form of Liz Truss. Aged 47, Truss was officiated as the country’s Prime Minister by the late Queen Elizabeth II, and we, the nation’s citizens, are now subject to yet another (in recent years) tumultuous period in which the Conservative Party find their feet in Downing Street under new leadership.
But, of course, Truss has made a name for herself before the new title as the former Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development affairs, of which she was appointed in September of 2021. If we are to look back even further, Truss began to receive public attention after she took the role of Minister for Women and Equalities in September 2019. This attention, however, was not positive from members of the LGBTQ+ community. As Minister for equalities, Truss promoted anything but. She has never been “particularly vocal in supporting Trans rights”, nor has she made any movements toward re-instating the LGBT Advisory panel that was disbanded and abandoned in April 2021 after Jayne Ozanne resigned, stating that it was “a hostile environment.” Consequently, the LGBTQ+ community are left floundering, with little to no government representation and a Prime Minister that doesn’t seem particularly keen on bettering their place in society. As the Minister of Equality, we received little from Truss, will we receive even less as she takes on the role of Prime Minister?
The concern for Truss and her ‘opinions’ of members of the British LGBTQ+ community has risen significantly in recent weeks. In a Talk TV Leadership interview that is now taking the internet by storm, Truss is asked by host Julia Hartley-Brewer if she believes that trans women are women, to which Truss simply replies “No.” Unfortunately for the country’s trans community, this is perhaps unsurprisin, as Truss is known for not being particularly pro-trans rights. This notion came to a head in 2020, when as Minister for Equalities, Truss scrapped planned reforms to the ‘Gender Recognition Act’. This act was a vital step forward for trans people as the GRA would have made it much easier for trans individuals to change their legal gender without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
This hit hard and was incredibly disappointing for the majority of the trans community who were vocal online about their upset, and yet, Truss defended her decision to scrap the GRA reforms, stating “it wouldn’t be right to have self-identification with no checks and balances in the system.” After her role as Minister for Equalities, it appears as though we cannot expect beneficial policies for the trans community under her leadership, as she initially appears to be doing her “best to focus on economy and taxes over trans issues.” This, of course, is still a necessary issue considering the current cost-of-living crisis the UK is facing, but considering Liz Truss’ previous stance on trans issues, it is perhaps fair that their community are unlikely to hold out hope that she will employ policies that will benefit them.
Whilst it is clear that Truss is causing indirect damage to the trans community; it does not stop there. The Prime Minister, due to the pressure of the leadership race, has chosen to position herself as central to the Tories’ ‘war on woke’ would help garner some support within the party. As a result of this ‘war’, the government promptly disbanded its own LGBT Advisory Panel after several members resigned. The situation began in March 2021 when Jayne Ozanne, an anti-conversion therapy campaigner and a member of the panel, cited a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ people on the panel. Following their lead, other members of the panel resigned within the next week. The government responded by formally disbanding the Panel in April, and whilst Truss promised a new panel with speed, it is yet to materialise over a year on. “It was a disappointing moment for LGBTQ+ people who still harboured hope that the government would turn things around and improve life for queer people in the UK.”
Consequently, the LGBTQ+ community are left to continue to fight for themselves, with little trust that the leaders of the country will listen, fight with for the community and instigate change. It is an especially hopeless time for the trans community, who Truss outwardly continues to disregard, but also a time of grave worry and stress for the entire LGBTQ+ community.
The conservative campaign against LGBTQ+ rights has found a new fixation: Monkeypox
During the late Spring of 2022, the Monkeypox virus, one that causes painful lesions all over the body as well as potentially dangerous fever, began its steady increase. Whilst not notably fateful, apart from for individuals with a compromised immune system, Monkeypox cases have risen in the aftermath of COVID, causing fear and panic amongst the global population. It is important to note, however, that Monkeypox has not reached a pandemic status, but has been declared a health emergency on an international level. The rising cases are a result of easy transfer, with individuals being able to contract the virus through skin-to-skin contact (including and especially all sexual activities, genital contact included), face-to-face contact, mouth-to-skin contact and finally, mouth-to-mouth contact.
There is, unfortunately, some controversy surrounding the transfer of the virus. Early into the outbreak, the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) stated that those who self-identify as “men who have sex with men” should be wary of contracting the virus, but stress that “anyone, regardless of sexual orientation” could spread and/or contract the disease. Thus, leaving the question, should public messaging highlight the fact that monkeypox is primarily affecting men who have sex with men?
The question is born out of the inappropriate and aggressive stigmatisation of monkeypox – reminiscent of the homophobic response to HIV/Aids in the 1980s. This then “poses a challenge to public health advocates and community leaders trying to have honest conversations about the disease and who are currently at most risk during this part of the outbreak.” It seems as though the challenge has already begun, with conservative commentators openly mocking monkeypox victims in the media, the majority of whom they are targeting being men who have sex with men, whilst blaming them for contracting the disease.
For example, American commentator Matt Walsh spoke out, stating, “Still waiting for gay men who are having random sex with strangers during Monkeypox outbreak to get lectured and scolded by public health authorities the way the rest of us did for going to grocery stores and restaurants during COVID.” This, of course, is incomparable with gay men being stigmatised and singled out for a disease that does not exclusively affect their sphere of the community and can just as easily be picked up through face-to-face contact by heterosexual individuals, including Walsh himself.
However, this does not, therefore, override the fact that Monkeypox is currently disproportionately affecting men who have sex with men: simply, there is a higher risk of contraction for gay men at this moment in time. And, to reduce stigmatisation and/or homophobia whilst still alerting gay men to the growing number of cases amongst them, the CDC appointed Dr Demetre Daslakis, a gay man and renowned Aids activist as the deputy coordinator of its national Monkeypox response. Following this, the agency then published guidelines for preventing Monkeypox through safer sex that included an illustration of two men in bed together, consequently highlighting that these individuals should be particularly cautious. Additionally, the article highlighted to the general public that people should limit their number of sexual partners whilst Monkeypox is an international concern, avoid anonymous hook-ups and wash fetish gear and sex toys regularly.
Some individuals, such as AIDS activist and gay man Mark. S. King, believe that cautioning gay men against the threat of Monkeypox is a positive thing, stating, “Fast Forward to 2022 [In comparison to the lack of information spread in the 1980s regarding the danger of HIV], where we are at least getting all of this great, explicit information out about Monkeypox so that gay men can protect themselves. I consider that progress.” However, not everyone in the queer community agrees on how to talk about the outbreak. For example, prominent rights group Glaad has expressed concern at framing monkeypox as a disease that primarily affects men who have sex with men in guidance issued to the media. They believe that framing monkeypox as a disease within the gay community will discourage other people from educating themselves on prevention:
“If history has shown us anything, it would show us that a communicable disease like this doesn’t stay within one community. Stigma drives fear, and fear then becomes resistance to public health and stopping the spread of the disease,” said Glaad in a statement.
Therefore, it appears to be an issue about whether and how to discuss if gay men should alter their sexual behaviours during the outbreak, and if it is necessary to place emphasis on warning this sphere of the community. Suggesting that gay men change their sexual behaviour despite “all of the ways that it could be spread” (for example, if you kiss someone who has an active case of Monkeypox), seems almost like an attack, rather than a helping hand. But, it is a nuanced and complex discussion because, as King puts it, “We’ve learned through the last 40 years of HIV that moral judgements only help HIV. Moral judgements shame the people who are most at risk, which leads to people going underground, not admitting what their behaviours are, and not wanting to talk about the risks.”
LGBTQ Related Hate Crimes are increasing following the COVID-19 pandemic
Three police forces in the West of England reveal reports that there has been more than a 50% rise in LGBTQ-related hate crimes since 2019. Figures released after an FOI (Freedom of Information) request highlight an increase from 712 reported incidents in 2019, to 1,109 in 2021 across the three counties and homes of each police force: Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
LGBTQ-related hate crimes are crimes which target people based on their sexual orientation. Usually, these crimes are committed against those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or other members of the queer community.
Individually, it is reported that the number of incidents in Avon and Somerset rose by 38%, whilst more dramatic statistics for the other counties include a 72% rise in Gloucestershire and a 149% rise in Wiltshire over the two years.
It is argued by some that the situation has worsened following COVID-19, specifically, when the virus was at its peak in 2020. Andy Shilton, who co-presents an LGBTQ+ Radio Show titled ‘Shout Out’, agrees with this notion. Unfortunately, he experienced homophobic abuse in the gay quarter of Bristol, an area that is supposed to be safe for LGBTQ+ individuals. Shilton relays that a “car drove past and [the people inside] shouted offensive language at us out the window.” He believes it because “people are less tolerant now. They feel it is more ok now to be quite vocal about it and be quite anti-LGBT. It’s certainly something I’ve observed since we’ve come out of COVID.”
The police force from the three counties continue to highlight the importance of victims of LGBTQ+ hate crimes reporting the incident to the police, with the reassuring accompanying statement “They will be listened to, their report will be taken seriously, and appropriate action will follow.” (Chief Inspector. George Headley from the Avon and Somerset Police).
Jameela Jamil upset members of the LGBTQ+ community with misgendering faux pas
The Good Place star, Jameela Jamil, found herself in hot waters on Twitter last week with some members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Particularly, Jamil’s comments upset transgender individuals by making some hasty comments towards the non-binary sphere of the community, comments which appeared far from thought through.
While Jamil came out as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community herself in 2020 and has been a vocal ally on social media and through her work, people weren’t happy with the advice she offered to trans and non-binary individuals.
Jamil tweeted: “I accidentally misgendered someone who was rude to me on here because I did not know they were NB [Non-Binary]. I instantly corrected myself, but NOBODY reads your bios people. *PLEASE* include your pronouns in your name on here to prevent misunderstandings/offence if it’s important to you.”
And, in response to herself, “OBVIOUSLY sorry for making this innocent mistake. But, if we don’t do more to prevent this mistake it will likely keep happening, which is bad for everyone. Put pronouns in your names. I’ve just done that with mine. It took two seconds.”
Whilst Jamil may have tweeted this with seemingly innocent and good-natured intentions, it appears as though non-binary individuals (and even cisgendered allies!) thought it to be rather tone-deaf. The issue lies within the somewhat demanding instruction, whilst some non-binary individuals may wish to make their pronouns more accessible, this statement places blame on the transgender individual for being misgendered, rather than Jamil. For some, this felt like the incorrect route
One user [@sss-rikka on Twitter] tweeted, “I’m glad that you’re apologising, but you’re putting the blame on the person you misgendered by saying that they aren’t presenting the information in a way that works best for you. If you want to be an ally, then own the blame fully yourself and take an extra second to check the bio.”
As September rolls around, the first of the autumn months marks the UK’s final pride event and parade, with Birmingham Pride announcing their long-awaited line-up and activities ahead of the special weekend.
The event, held in early autumn from the 24th-25th of September, has taken it up a notch this year for its 25th anniversary, with well-known headliners Becky Hill and 90s Pop Group Steps set to take to the stage. Other acts include former Spice Girl Melanie C, Ella Henderson, Dreya Mac and some Birmingham locals, including drag acts Fatt Butcher and Yshee Black.
But that’s not it for drag, BBC Three’s Drag Race UK is making a feature in the form of season two star, Tia Kofi, who will be sure to put on a piping hot performance on the weekend.
Additionally, the event, held at the Smithfield site plans on introducing several different stages and arenas, including the main stage, a dance arena, a cabaret stage and ‘the future stage’. Each stage will come with its own set of unique and entertaining acts set to create an unforgettable atmosphere.
Tickets for the event, including access all areas, will be set at £70, but are not necessary if you still wish to celebrate! As usual, Birmingham Pride has coordinated the Birmingham Pride Parade, a march that starts at the heart of Birmingham City Centre in Centenary Square before making its way to the heart of the event, the LGBTQ+ Village. It’s expected that up to 75,000 spectators will line the streets to watch the colourful and creative floats, marchers and walking participants.
Following the line-up announcement, a spokesperson for Birmingham Pride said of their hopes for the event, “Birmingham Pride weekend is the climax of year-round activity, where we all come together to celebrate LGBTQ+ achievement, life and love. A ‘safe space’ where our community can be who they want to be without fear or prejudice.”
From The Wilds to First Kill, WLW stories are being cancelled left, right and centre
As we enter the last months of the year, it appears that relatively popular TV series’ featuring WLW characters and partnerships have not escaped the curse of cancellation, despite their popularity throughout the year. The most prominent of these shows are the likes of The Wilds and, new show, First Kill. Unfortunately, often, there is little to no explanation by their respective companies and streaming services as to why the cancellation has occurred. And, what is the most upsetting about this notion, is that each show was popular in its own right, with statistics to prove it. What we can therefore assume has occurred is that these series have fallen victim to society’s implicit, and yet constant, disinterest in WLW, both in the media and in day-to-day life.
The disinterest in WLW individuals and relationships undoubtedly feeds from the misogyny that is still present in contemporary society, which manifests itself in the favouring and popularity of MLM (Man-Loving-Man) – centric media. Consequently, popular shows amongst the WLW sub-category of the LGBTQIA+ community are left floundering and underrepresented. But, the mere cancellation of TV shows is only a small part of a much larger issue.
The cancellation of Amazon Prime’s popular survival show, The Wilds, caused perhaps the most uproar out of the above-mentioned recent cancellations. The show, which focused on a group of girls surviving on an island after an aeroplane crash, featured a WLW couple, Toni and Shelby. Both were beautiful and already underrepresented character arcs, with Toni representing someone who was already comfortable in their sexuality without the usual ‘tragic coming out story’ attached to her. Her other half, Shelby, was a devout Christian who struggled with her sexuality for much of her life, before her attraction to Toni cemented that her sexuality was not, in fact, heterosexual.
LGBTQIA+ fans of the show took to Twitter immediately upon news of the cancellation, which occurred despite a successful and critically acclaimed second season that was released in May 2022. Instantly, it was obvious that much of the upset was directed at Toni and Shelby’s relationship no longer being promised to return to their screens.
One fan tweeted: “I REFUSE TO LOSE THEM, BRING THEM BACK TO ME.” Whilst another fan highlighted the importance of the couple and what it meant for WLW representation, “Toni and Shelby had one of the most beautiful lesbian relationships I’ve seen on a show.” And, “We had an out and proud lesbian and a closeted lesbian and we got to see both of their stories merge and come together in a glorious way, but we need to see their ending.”
Erana James, the actress who played Toni, shared her thoughts on the cancellation and the importance of representation of WLW characters, stating: “It’s not a story of someone coming out or coming to terms with their identity, but more that she fiercely knows who she is and she’s proud of that. She knows herself. And she’s not going to apologise for it.”
And thus, we all bear witness to yet another loss of media representation for those who identify with WLW. For The Wilds, both seasons were acclaimed by critics, but Amazon still pulled the plug.
Another show that’s cancellation is perhaps more surprising, was the decision to cancel Netflix’s new show First Kill less than two months after it initially premiered in June 2022. First Kill was a supernatural, coming-of-age series with a lesbian couple as its protagonists. And, whilst not being a critical hit, First Kill was in Netflix’s global Top 10 TV list for three weeks, racking up 97.66 million hours watched in that time alone. Statistics don’t lie, so it is no surprise when the show’s cancellation led to the hashtag #CancelNetflix trending on Twitter.
What appeared to be the most upsetting notion for fans of the show, was when they compared the viewing statistic of First Kill with Netflix’s popular and recently released MLM series, Heartstopper.Heartstopper was almost instantaneously renewed for a further two seasons following its initial release, despite only amassing 53.46 million hours watched whilst it was on the global Top 10 TV list – almost half of First Kill. Fans explained their annoyance, tweeting things such as “we’re not comparing First Kill with Heartstopper, we’re comparing how Netflix treats MLM-centric shows to how they treat their WLW shows.” Which, of course, is poorly in comparison and rooted in misogyny.
The community can therefore only hope that such constant cancellations of WLW series will cause enough uproar to end the misogynistic practice. But, when such a practice is so constant, it is incredibly hard to hold out hope.
Since the Lionesses won at the 2022 Euros, attitudes towards women and the LGBTQ+ community in sports have slowly started to change
On July 31st, 2022, a team of ambitious women’s hard work and determination monumentally paid off. The Lionesses achieved what had started to become but a mere dream following the stinging failure of the men’s loss in the 2021 Euro final. Seemingly, they accomplished what the men could not with a 2-1 win against Germany in the 2022 Women’s Euros, England’s first piece of silverware at an international level since men’s success in the 1966 World Cup. Not only is the win significant for football fans across the nation, but the Lionesses’ triumph marks what will hopefully become a turning point in attitudes towards women and LGBTQ+ individuals in sport, something that has long sparked controversy to a ridiculous degree. Clearly, women and LGBTQ+ individuals do, in fact, belong on the pitch and in sporting communities, and can be incredibly successful doing so. And now, perhaps it is not too far-fetched to suggest that both parties can accomplish, in some cases, what their male counterparts cannot.
Women’s place on the football pitch has long been a contended issue amongst the nation. In 1921, the Football Association [FA] banned women from playing football in stadiums, deeming it to be “quite unsuitable for females”. This, during then and from a contemporary perspective, was an unreasonable assumption due to the success of teams like Dick and Kerr Ladies, who played games in front of tens of thousands of people for charity. This, therefore, highlights that women’s football was not only a popular entertainment and pastime even back then, but was directly benefiting society through the means of charitable donation. It was nothing less than a blatant act of misogyny. The policy was revoked exactly 50 years after it was first put into practice, but equal opportunities for women in football are still hard to come by. For example, following their achievement, the 23 members of the Lionesses have called Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak (those who are currently in running to be the next Prime Minister following Boris Johnson’s resignation in July of 2022) by means of an open letter to ensure every girl can play football at school if they so wish. Currently, football is not necessarily offered to young girls in PE classes at their school, rather, the Department of Education recommends girls are instead offered “comparable sports” to football, such as netball or rounders. As a direct result of this, the FA created a report and discovered that only six in ten girls can play football in their PE classes and, of those who are not allowed to play, 91% wish that they could. In short, women are slighted of their chance to follow their passion and increase their chance at a successful football career from girlhood.
However, we can look to the Lionesses’ success as somewhat of a turning point in interest in women’s football. According to PinkNews, “The team’s skilful performances in the tournament have sparked unprecedented national interest in women’s football – something the team is now rallying to cement – and has marked a turning point in attitudes towards female footballers”. But not only has a difference been made for attitudes towards women’s place in sporting communities, but for attitudes to LGBTQ+ individuals in sports. Of the Lionesses, there are 8 out and proud members of the team: Lauren Hemp, Beth Mead, Rachel Daly, Demi Stokes, Jill Scott, Fran Kirby, Jess Carter and finally, Beth England.
Homophobia towards women who have chosen to play football has also been a continuous issue, irrespective of their actual sexuality. According to a 2008 report published by Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, “Some girls avoid certain sports for fear of being perceived as unfeminine or lesbian; some parents discourage their daughters from taking up sport; some lesbian athletes avoid going public about their sexuality in case they experience prejudice from other athletes and coaches or lose public support or sponsorship.” In 2022, this is not an issue that we as a society have resolved.
Misogyny and homophobic comments are seemingly not limited to the audiences and fans of football, with Scottish ex-footballer and now a commentator for Sky Sports, Graeme Souness, publicly calling football a “man’s sport”. However, this does not discredit the remarkable accomplishment of the Lionesses for both women and LGBTQ+ individuals, who are now likely to feel more represented due to the brave openness the above members of Lionesses have displayed regarding their sexuality. And, thankfully, an outpour of support and happiness has obscured the negativity.
This is exactly what the LGBTQ+ members of the Lionesses should be proud of. But, as a team, all members regardless of their sexuality have achieved the unthinkable for improving attitudes towards women’s place in football, which is absolutely a cause for celebration by the 23-member team, women, girls and LGBTQ+ individuals across the nation.
During the Summer of 2022, an American man (who chose to remain anonymous) was publicly declared to be the 5th and oldest ever patient at 66 to be ‘cured’ of HIV after he was given a bone marrow transplant to treat leukaemia, a cancer of the blood. It is believed that the bone marrow donor was naturally resistant to the virus, having a mutation in their CCR5 protein that meant the virus could no longer enter the patient’s white blood cells.
Following said treatment, the patient has since stopped taking antiretroviral medication that he had been consuming for decades and has now been in remission from HIV for 17 months. The man highlighted that he was “beyond grateful” that the virus was no longer present in his body, stating that: “When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, like many others, I thought it was a death sentence. I never thought I would live to see the day that I no longer have HIV”.
As mentioned above, the man became the fifth ever patient to have HIV become undetectable in their body following a diagnosis many years ago. The first, Timothy Ray Brown, was treated and ‘cured’ in Berlin. Whilst the second patient came later and in London, the third was declared merely days after the second. And, in a further breakthrough, the fourth patient is believed to be the first-ever woman to be cured of the virus.
Clearly, headway is being made regarding finding a cure for HIV-positive patients, which is not only a big step for medicine and healthcare across the globe, but for the LGBTQ+ community who have continuously faced discrimination at the hands of the association with the supposedly ‘uncurable’ and deadly virus.