Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has appeared in a video for the It Gets Better campaign, which aims to promote a positive message about being LGBT+ to young people across the world.
The powerful new video opens up with Khan, who said that the LGBT+ community makes a huge contribution to London, making it “a richer, brighter, more vibrant place.”
“But I also know that many have struggled with their identity at some point in their lives,” he said.
“I’d like to share with you some of the experiences and stories from members of our staff network. While they capture the challenges and sense of isolation LGBT+ people can sometimes feel, they also have a hope and optimism for the future,” Khan added.
The rest of the video is made up of personal experiences from London City Hall’s LGBT+ Network.
One person said in the video that growing up, being LGBT+ was either “non-existent or something to be laughed at.”
Another said that being gay “wasn’t really talked about” when she grew up. “It was an insult in the playground, something to be ashamed of, and certainly something that you didn’t admit to.”
One man said that he grew up with no BAME LGBT+ role models or people to look up to.
“It was quite difficult finding who I was and understanding what LGBT+ meant for me as a black gay man,” he added.
Another man said that, when he came out at 16, a lecturer failed him because he was gay.
It Gets Better
However, the video delivers a positive message for LGBT+ youth, as the participants finish by saying that their lives have improved.
“It was totally worth it,” one man said, noting that he is now married to “a fantastic man” and doesn’t have to hide his identity.
One woman said her life “definitely improved” when she moved to London and she came out.
The participants all say “It gets better” before the video ends.
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Their website notes that growing up LGBT+ “isn’t easy,” and goes on to say that it can be “a challenging and isolating process – but, the good news is, no one has to do it alone.”
The organisation was formed after a social media campaign in 2010, which sought to deliver a positive message to LGBT+ youth that it gets better.
Sadiq Khan’s support for LGBT+ rights
Sadiq Khan has been a long-time supporter of the LGBT+ community. Last summer, he marched in the Pride in London parade.
However, Pride in London became a source of controversy when a group of anti-trans women hijacked the parade and were allowed to lead it for a period of time.
In a statement released to PinkNews at the time, Sadiq Khan condemned the actions of anti-trans protesters, saying: “Pride is about celebrating difference and London’s amazing LGBT+ community.
“It’s about showing those round the world that in our great city you can be free to be whoever you want to be and love whoever you want to love.
“The vast majority of those present at today’s march respected and embraced that and the Mayor condemns the tiny minority who did not.
“Transphobia is never acceptable.”
He has also backed plans for an LGBT+ museum in London, and previously vowed to eradicate HIV infections in the capital city by 2030.