“If you’re in the closet in school or at home, then it might as well be 1981 for you.”

Fresh off the back of the success of his latest TV drama, It’s a Sin, Russell T Davies, has shared his thoughts on how important it is to support LGBT+ young people through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

The acclaimed screenwriter has pledged to support The Proud Trust’s new LGBT+ Centre in Manchester, a state-of-the-art centre to replace the original which opened its doors in the 1980s.

Speaking of the need for a new centre for people across the entire North West region, Davies said:

“I think the centre is hugely important – it’s a mad, busy, frantic world and a literal centre is exactly what the community needs. I’m lucky, I get to write about LGBTQIA+ lives, but I’m well aware that the real, hard work is done here, at a grass-roots level, by hard-working staff and volunteers. This is the beating heart of the community.

Amelia Lee of The Proud Trust explains more:

“When our centre originally opened its doors in 1988, it was at the height of the AIDS/HIV pandemic and much of our funding came from health services to help prevent the spread of the virus and support those who had contracted it.

“We didn’t even have a post box and if you’ve watched It’s a Sin, you will know why! There were mirrors behind reception so that staff were always aware of who was entering the building.

Amelia continues: “Times have changed, however, during the pandemic we have unfortunately seen a huge rise in young people accessing our online services. There’s an increased feeling of isolation and of course some young people will be locked down with families that don’t accept their sexuality or gender identity, leading to isolation and sometimes, sadly abuse and neglect.”
“What It’s a Sin does so brilliantly,” she added. “Is expose the shocking attitudes towards those who identified as LGBT+ in the eighties. We’ve certainly come a long way since then, however, LGBT phobia still very much exists today.”

Davis also recognises this idea and when speaking of how today compares to the 1980s with reference the challenges we saw the Ritchie, Roscoe and the other characters from It’s a Sin face, he added:

“There have been enormous changes [since the 80’s]. Back then, HIV was seen as the scourge of society and Section 28 trapped schools into silence on LGBTQIA+ issues.”

“If you’re in the closet in school or trapped in an unhappy home, then it might as well be 1981 for you.”

The new LGBT+ centre is set to open in Manchester later in the year and will provide services that reach a nationwide audience.
Davies will sponsor the date stone within the new build and will be recognised in the building with a message of thanks, alongside the many members of the public who have also donated towards the new build through the Buy a Brick scheme.
Donations of £100 for individuals, or £1000 for corporates, can be made via the charity’s website: www.theproudtrust.org/shop/buy-a-brick/

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