LGBTQ+: Year 8 Winner!
Valentina in Year 8 wins for her brilliant piece of reportage that sheds light on the struggles of the gay community during the HIV/AIDs epidemic of the 1980s.
Love is Love
It was about a month ago on a Friday evening that I sat down with my family to watch a new drama on TV written by Russell T Davies. It’s a Sin is based in the 1980s when being gay wasn’t accepted by society and the emergence of a new virus called HIV made it even more difficult. The program had me gripped from the first second. I couldn’t quite believe how the world has changed so much in the last 40 years. HIV and AIDs were a death sentence in those days and many people died during the crisis of the 80s. But with new medicines, better understanding, and acceptance and tolerance, that is no longer the case.
My mum grew up in the 1980s and remembers clearly the prejudice that gay people encountered. Her best friend, my Godfather, is gay. But growing up in the North of England, life was not always easy. He hid the fact from so many people that he was gay and only told my mum. For a long time, he struggled to find the bravery to tell more people.
My mum and godfather both moved to London. It’s a Sin is basically the story of their youth. They lived and worked in and around Soho so became friends with many gay people. One of my mum’s best friends was diagnosed HIV positive in 1997 and at first, no one understood what would happen to him. But with advances in medicine, nearly 25 years later, he is still fit and healthy and, most importantly, alive. And as long as he takes his pills every day, he lives a perfectly happy and healthy life.
My mum and dad have always made it clear that they will love me no matter what choices I make in life, but I’m lucky. I know that not everyone is so lucky. I’ve always been taught that Love is Love. From as young as I can remember, I’ve known that my Uncle Anthony loves my Uncle Harry. I never questioned it because to me it is just as normal as my Mum loving Dad. If my friends were to ever question their sexuality, I would never judge them for their choices in life and only hope that they understand that I would love them for who they are, whatever decision they make. And when they are ready to tell the world, I would stand right by their side, just as my mum stood by my uncle Anthony’s side, all those years ago, because LOVE IS LOVE, right?