This Pride month, we spoke to David about his first Pride festival and how he feels society’s views on sexuality have changed – and need to change further.
Can you remember your 1st Pride? What memories stand out for you?
Yes, of course! It was in Finsbury Park with my friends Simon, Ian and Louise. I remember we all bought outfits and were really excited.
I remember being in the Champagne tent and dancing all night. I’ll never forget that experience.
Do you feel it’s easier for a young person today to come out?
Definitely. There is so much talk about being gay, about gender, and about transpeople. It is a part of the vocabulary now. My friend’s 11 year old child came home the other day and said “Mummy I’m bisexual” like it didn’t even matter.
He had discussed it at school with other boys and it seemed to be a total non-issue. I think that there is so much more visibility and acceptance today.
How far do you feel that attitudes have changed around people identifying as LGBTQ over the last 10-20 years?
There has definitely been progress. Last year was the 50th anniversary of Gay Pride in New York City and the crowd was a real mix of different people who came out to see the floats and see the spectacle of the parade.
It wasn’t just LBGTQ people, which I think is a real indicator of how people perceive LGBTQ people. It is definitely less of an issue than perhaps it was when I was coming out in the late nineties.
I think people used to think of gay people as just camp – and now there is much more understanding around the fact that roughly 10% of the population identifies as LGBTQ and we are everywhere without you even knowing!
What more needs to change, do you think?
Probably the biggest issue right now in the LGBTQ community is the treatment and mental health of the trans community. According to Stonewall, almost half of trans people in Britain have attempted suicide at least once; most have thought about it. More than half have been diagnosed with depression.
Also I think we are seeing more of this but the openness of LGBTQ in sport would also really help the cause of LGBTQ people.
This probably comes down to anti-bullying programmes in school and the teaching of sexuality to children so that they grow up in a more accepting society.