June 2022 isn’t just another Pride month; it’s the 50th anniversary of the first official gay Pride rally in the UK. Stonewall wasn’t just another gay bar; it was the location in New York of the 1969 riots, which were pivotal for gay liberation and the birthplace of Pride.
The first marches to promote gay and
lesbian rights took place in major US cities the year after the riots, the event spread around the world, the day grew into a month, and has become an iconic, colourful celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people. The 2019 London Pride, the biggest in the UK and the last one prior to the pandemic, attracted over 1.5 million people. I don’t identify as L, G, B, T or any of the Qs, but I’m an ally and an advocate for many children and young people who do. It therefore felt pertinent to take the opportunity to commemorate them, and all children and young people, in this issue, which is an illuminating celebration of sex, gender and sexuality across the whole, wide, colourful, inclusive spectrum.
For our featured article, ‘Out’ at the movies, I invited David Curl to share his exploration of films portraying LGBTQ+ characters, and how these can help to educate us and inform our work with young people. As David says, ‘An intelligent appreciation of LGBTQ+ coming-of-age cinema can… help us widen our range of empathic cultural reference’, which is surely a good thing. Many parents, carers, counsellors and therapists tell me they feel awkward speaking to young people about sex, for all kinds of reasons, so I’m delighted to share some tips from sex and relationships educator Emma Chan in Let’s talk (inclusively) about sex.
Columnist Lucy-Jean Lloyd talks about Sexual empowerment in the counselling room, while Elizabeth Holt addresses Gender and sexuality in supervision. I’m phenomenally grateful to Brendan Dunlop and Chay Brown for sharing their personal experiences of Growing up queer and Growing up trans, respectively, and hope that their voices will help to inform and educate, so that you feel better equipped to support young people who are growing up LGBTQ+ too.
Elsewhere, in non-sex or gender-related pieces, Emily Harrison explores the brain/body connection in To be somebody; and, in the second of our series of boarding school articles, Christina Thompson talks to Thurstine Bassett about the role of The boarding school counsellor. I’ve recorded a podcast to accompany the series, and you can listen to my fascinating conversation with Thurstine Bassett
and Gordon Knott. I’m also pleased to share the results of the latest Readers’ survey, which provides an opportunity for you to tell me what you’ve enjoyed over the last 12 months and what you’d like to see more of. How serendipitous that top of the wish list was gender diversity, transgender and sexuality. Please don’t wait for a formal invitation to land in your inbox to share your thoughts – I welcome your emails and letters at any time.
I truly hope that this special issue will
challenge your biases and misconceptions and encourage you to talk more comfortably and inclusively about sex. Happy Pride month, enjoy the summer and see you in September.
Jeanine Connor, Editor