Pride is here and this year we’re doing something extra special to celebrate an amazing cause. We’re partnering with akt charity, a charity that focuses on LGBTQ+ youth on a national level. For the month of July (London pride is on the 6th of July) we at ATIKA, are going to be home to a rail of merchandise straight from akt. We will be selling their tees and totes and are super excited to be working with a charity that is doing something so important.
akt was formed in Manchester in 1989 by Cathy Hall who had become increasingly aware of the issues that arise when some young people come out, i.e; being made homeless due to parental issues and problems that arise in school and in general social settings because of homophobia. The youth of yesterday are the present and the youth of today are the future, such great minds fall under the LGBTQ+ spectrum and because of the issues that some people are facing, they aren’t able to express and explore who they are as people.
akt provides safe homes, mentoring, training, advocacy and support to young people who are in the midst of homelessness and hostile environments due to who they are.
This charity means a lot to me on a personal level, whilst I never experienced my family having an issue with me being gay, I did experience homophobic bullying at high school. Even today, I’ll have some ridiculous words shouted at me from across the street. Where it used to effect me on a deeper level, I’m now able to fully ignore it. It took a while to get there, I had a decent group of friends to confide in but I realise that not every LGBTQ+ youth is that lucky, which is why akt is such an important charity. They are that support system to so many young people.
Whilst charities like akt are extremely beneficial and needed in this modern age, youth culture is driven by computer and phone screens. When I was young and growing up I didn’t have a visual outlet for my inner gay. Today, with media such as RuPauls Drag Race, Pose and Queer Eye, LGBTQ+ youth are able to see from a worldwide view that who they are is worth celebrating and that being who you are is the most important thing you can do. It’s also so wonderful to see someone who represents an aspect of you make it big on TV, actually discussing the major setbacks that can happen whilst growing up as someone who doesn’t fall under the ‘traditional banner.’
We as a community are getting louder and the more activism, tv shows, music, films and public figures speaking out about the cause, is only going to force people like Donald Trump to back down and treat everyone with the respect that they deserve.
Pride is something to celebrate, and we’re able to to do this every year because of the Stonewall Riots, which celebrates Its 50th anniversary on June 28th. It’s potentially one of the most important contributions to the LGBTQ+ liberation movement. We have to remember and appreciate the utter violence and horror that these innocent people were subjected to by the police, purely because their way of life didn’t “fall into” the straight, white and ignorant mindset. The patrons of the Stonewall Inn were quite literally in a bar for a fun time, instead that fun time was turned into pure anarchy. On the other side of this, people decided that the way they were being treated wasn’t fair and fought back knowing full well what might happen. That’s the most beautiful thing about the Stonewall Riots, people fought back for what they believed in.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I thank everyone who has come before me and who has made this world a better place for everyone living in it at the moment. There’s more to do and we’re going to fight for it!
Words By: Jordan Bromley