In my experience, LGBT+ communities have been the keystone of my life. They have supported me through all manor of issues such as exams, placements and unemployment. As individuals we discuss anything from historical LGBT+ activism to the x factor. Most subjects have no apparent LGBT+ reference but there is often a natural enhancement to the connection between individuals which facilitates the conversation. I was a student nurse (now qualified) and it helped so much to discuss placements with other student nurses in the LGBT+ community. I knew they understood the barriers we needed to have up all day. It wasn’t that the people in the hospitals weren’t accepting, they often were. But they tended to ask so many questions. Which on the outside is nice but it was hugely tiring explaining every aspect of your life to each healthcare professional you met. In the LGBT+ community you are able to just sit talking/in quiet without any pressure. To be honest, it is heaven sometimes.

There is, of course, the flip side. To receive the benefits of a community, you have to be included in the community. Although I have never had a problem being included, I have witnessed others struggling. Don’t ask me the formula for inclusion because I have no idea. I have often tried to include these people but it can be an uphill battle with no one to blame. Just because a person identifies as LGBT+ doesn’t mean they are able to access a community, no matter how near they are to its epicentre. I feel these people will probably feel that there is no community as it is often like a bubble.

Within the community there is also often friction. Particularly with biphobia. I identify as polysexual but often use bi as there is less explaining, even in the LGBT+ community. My fiancee is a lesbian. There is still a belief that a bisexual and lesbian cannot have a happy, long-term relationship. We have been together for 5 years and are planning on a civil partnership this year. That’s as much proof as I need. Without the LGBT+ community, and my attempt to join it, we would never have met.

  1. Interesting – thanks – and all the best for your CP!

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