A vote for enlightenment

At this year’s RCN congress in Bournemouth, a resolution is being debated that is close to my heart: improved mental health services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Picture credit: Alamy

I know from experience that growing up gay is isolating, and that adolescence is not easy. For the majority of people, the teenage years are a time for exploration, but many gay men go through this time alone. Few of us have the courage to ‘come out’ at a young age and so do not get to enjoy many of the milestones experienced by our peers, such as the first kiss or first relationship. These events are consigned to later life.

Sex education at my school made no mention of homosexual relationships, and while I have grown up in a time where same-sex couples are seen as equal, my friends and I have still been victims of homophobic abuse.

There is no easy way to describe what it is like to grow up knowing that you are gay, terrified to tell your


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