Morning everyone, Ash here!
Today's positive affirmation - I am grateful
I am grateful that, aged 17, I was able to be honest with my family and tell them I am gay. Each of my 3 brothers accepted me for who I am as I guess to them I was still just their brother - the sensitive one who did well at school and loved animals and was obsessed with The Spice Girls! I was different to them - but also the same... because we were family.
I am grateful that I have an amazing leading lady in my life who was the first person in my family I came out to. My Mum has not had the easiest of lives but she is the most caring and loving person I know. She raised me to be accepting of everyone, to care for people who need it most and to always be true to yourself. She has always been my biggest supporter and I have always been hers.
I am grateful that I am fortunate enough to live in a country that is progressive and accepting and allowed me to marry the man I love - Simon.
I am grateful that my sexuality has not prevented me from being promoted at work or ever been used to question whether I was suitable for a job.
I am grateful that I am able to walk down the street without fear of violence for being true to myself.
I know that I am very fortunate to be grateful for all of the above as many gay people all over the world (and still here in the UK) are not so blessed. I have experienced homophobic abuse in the past and let's not forget that even in the USA in 2016 there was the awful Florida nightclub shooting where homosexuals were the target. We have come so far... but there is still much to be done!
Some people have questioned whether Pride is still necessary because of all the advancements in gay rights over the years... With over 70 countries in the world where it is still illegal to be gay (and 11 of them having the death penalty as a means of punishment!) I say it absolutely IS still necessary! Gay people all over the globe look to countries like ours to set the example and make the moves to help shift attitudes and change the world. If one oppressed gay person is able to access the internet and see how normal and happy our society is for allowing all people to be true to themselves, it's worth it!
So today I hope you are able to join in the celebrations in one way or another! Whether you go to a Pride event or not, take a moment to wish everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, a Happy Pride! After all, we have much to celebrate... and be grateful for