14 Feb 2023

Looking forward to a day when all love is equal

It’s a bit of a conundrum for me when I start to write a blog about LGBTQ+ history month and why it’s so important to the LGBTQ+ community. Why is it a conundrum? Well in all honesty I find it a struggle.

I find it a struggle to still, after all this time, have to talk about something that is so personal to me. Now don’t get me wrong, I am immensely proud of the community that I am part of and I am hugely proud to serve as a board member for CIH and how it wholeheartedly stands with the LGBTQ+ community.

As an individual, I am proud of my wife, our children and how strong we are as a family. But I often wonder at what point will I be able to stop talking about it. I am no stranger to sharing my story but I often wish I didn’t have to; it is difficult to share a part of yourself that makes you vulnerable to the outside world and is just a part of who you are, not all of who you are. I look forward to the day that the anxiety it induces in me as a human even after all this time will dissipate. That the inherent fear that you will be judged and not accepted will vanish and that society will stop treating you just a little differently.

I guess the point of all the things I have mentioned above is that as a sector we have travelled an awful long way. It is so very important that we acknowledge the events that have gone before us to enable us to find true equality and history month gives us the chance to do that. It also gives us the opportunity to highlight the areas that really need, and ought, to be confined to history books.

No matter how vulnerable it makes me, or how frustrated I am, I know I will continue to be a voice for the LGBTQ+ community until the comments that I hear from my children, like the ones below, are confined to those history books:

  • From my five-year-old little boy who loves having two mummies no matter how many times his friends say “but you can’t have two mummies”
  • From my 10-year-old son who got really upset when his friend's text message group start making fun of each other saying you are gay. He doesn’t understand why they would do that - in his words “but mummies why do they make it sound like a bad thing”
  • From my 15-year-old son who is football crazy when he again calls out one of his mates for saying “why are you so gay” and seeing how much it hurts him
  • From my 18-year-old daughter who stands tall when discussing the impact having two mums has on her life and how she has to in her own words “come out to her friends about having two mums” so they aren’t shocked when they come over for dinner.

My greatest hope in life is that as we evolve as a society so the need for members of any minority group to have to talk about difference disappears. That this perceived difference is so interwoven into our world that it is not even a discussion point. That when someone we know comes to an event with a partner, we just see a person without a need to label them.

I know at CIH we are working hard to challenge these views; I know that the sector is playing its part in levelling out the playing field and that makes me feel immense hope for the future. I feel hope because I know that when a sector like ours puts its voice behind a message it’s a powerful voice. It’s a voice that can help drive the vehicle of change. Let that be what we get to focus on next LGBTQ+ history month!

Written by Hannah Harvey

Hannah is a CIH board member and the chief operating officer at Saffron Housing Trust.