Attitudes have changed towards people who are gay, bisexual or transitioning in my lifetime. In the past, due to conservative social attitudes, many people chose to keep their sexuality well hidden from public eye. There were good reasons to fear that it would be a barrier to achieving success in sport, politics, acting or any other high profile role.
We live in a different world today. The perception has changed.
Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas has changed the face of the macho world of rugby union forever with his coming out. Nigel Owens – the best rugby referee in the world – has likewise done a great deal to promote equality. Together, those two have changed many an old fashioned perception of what it means to be gay. It is good also to see two gay rugby teams – the Swansea Vikings and the Cardiff Lions – thriving in Wales. I focus on rugby because it is perhaps a sport where gay men have not featured prominently in the past.
That is not to say that there is not more work to be done. Research carried out by Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales – has shown that homophobic bullying in schools remains a grave issue for all those affected by it. Work carried out by Stonewall Cymru shows that homophobic bullying is not confined to schools.
LGBT history month serves as an important annual occasion for us all to celebrate the diversity in our society, to recognise how far we have come in recent years in changing attitudes, but also to acknowledge that we have some way to go yet.
Happy LGBT month!