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Society presumes we can't love like straight people can, says LGBTQ+ caller
2 July 2021, 16:12 | Updated: 2 July 2021, 16:24
This caller shares how he and "pretty much everyone" he has met in the LGBTQ+ community has struggled coming out, after a Labour MP told the Commons about the shame he felt sharing his sexuality.
The conversation comes as Labour MP Dan Carden revealed during a Commons Pride debate that his addiction to alcohol when he was struggling with his sexuality almost killed him on two occasions.
Andrew in Dulwich began by telling Shelagh: "When you said the word shame... shame, for me, is endemic. Pretty much everyone that I've met who's gay, bisexual, on the LGBT spectrum - pretty much all of them have had some level of shame.
"And I think it's massively misunderstood, the amount of shame that naturally, unfortunately, comes with coming out, because of the word, for me.
"When I told my parents at the age of eighteen... when you say the words I'm gay, I'm bisexual, I'm transsexual, it all comes with the word 'sex'. The first thing that those people think of when you tell them is what you prefer to do sexually."
At today's #Pride debate I spoke publicly for the first time about my alcohol addiction and being in recovery.— Dan Carden MP (@DanCardenMP) July 1, 2021
I hope my openness helps challenge the stigma that stops so many people asking for help.
Pride is about celebrating who we are, without shame. pic.twitter.com/K44p7lNExv
Shelagh then interjected: "Whereas people don't say routinely 'I'm heterosexual'."
"No, [it's] I'm straight," Andrew replied, "the sexual act comes first with every other person who is not straight. So the very fact that you're sitting down with your parents and saying 'I'm gay' - you know they're thinking of the sexual act first, way before your ability to love."
"So throughout my twenties, I lived thinking that because it was against the law, that I couldn't love another.
"I didn't believe my love had the [same] value as the love of straight people.
"I don't believe the rest of the world truly understands that we can love just as they can."
"Well then they don't know enough gay people do they?" Shelagh responded.
Andrew then acknowledged that LGBTQ+ inclusion has "come on leaps and bounds in recent times" but that there's a lot more to do: "Not just feeling included but making ourselves feel included within everyone else, becoming part of the fabric of society."