Pride Month 2021: How TV made life easier for gay people today

WHEN I was growing up in the 1980s I felt like I was the only gay person in the world.

As the saying goes, ‘If you can’t see it, you can’t be it’ – and I rarely saw people like me on TV or in films. I felt like a freak.

These days, young queer people can see gay and lesbian lives bursting out all over the media.

June is Pride Month and I am proud to celebrate how far we’ve come

From Brokeback Mountain to Ru Paul’s Drag Race, we have seen cultural moments that have celebrated queer lives.

Brits root for the underdog and we’ve taken these gay characters to our hearts.

Every person who’s embraced them has helped change our world.

We gay people couldn’t have achieved it without you, our allies.

All of you who’ve accepted queer brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, children, colleagues and neighbours.

It’s for you that I wrote my new novel, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle.

It’s about a secretly gay postman who sets off in search of the love of his life, a man he hasn’t seen for 50 years.

The book is to thank everyone who’s helped improve the world.

Pride Month isn’t just for gay people, it’s for our allies, too!

Here are some events in recent popular culture that changed the world.

  • The Secret Life Of Albert Entwistle, by Matt Cain, is out May 27, £16.99.

2002

WHEN Will Young won Pop Idol in 2002, he wasted no time in confirming he was gay – and viewers stampeded to buy his single, Evergreen.

It was the fastest-selling debut ever.

He is now a successful singer-songwriter, author and actor.

2005

The film Brokeback Mountain told the love story of two gay cowboys, who had to meet in secret to avoid society’s disapproval, but were ultimately torn apart.

The film moved so many of us, it took nearly $180million at the Box Office.

2009

Another era-defining TV hit is RuPaul’s Drag Race, in which drag queens share their stories of persecution and how they found empowerment through drag.

The UK version (2019) is so successful it’s been credited with resurrecting BBC3.

2013

Olympic diver Tom Daley announced he was in a relationship with a man, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

He and Black married in 2017 and their son, Robbie Ray, was born via a surrogate the following year.

2014

The Imitation Game was about Alan Turing, who cracked the Nazis’ Enigma code.

He was prosecuted for having gay sex and later killed himself.

The film spoke for the 49,000 gay men imprisoned in the UK. Their convictions were overturned.

2018

Hit films Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman (2019) exposed the pressures placed on closeted gay pop stars Freddie Mercury and Elton John in the 1970s and 80s.

While Elton went on to thrive, Freddie died of AIDS in 1991.

2019

On the small screen, Gentleman Jack starred Suranne Jones as 19th century landowner Anne Lister, who scandalised society by living openly as a lesbian.

The show reminded us some queer people were brave enough to pursue happiness.

2020

In 2012, boxer Nicola Adams won the first of two Olympic gold medals.

But she had to battle resistance to women in the sport, something she said was more of an issue than her status as an out and proud lesbian.

Charming the public with her famous smile, Adams later appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in the show’s first ever same-sex partnership.

2021

Most recently, Channel 4 drama It’s A Sin followed a group of young gay men during the early years of the AIDS crisis.

By exploring the impact of the disease, the record-breaking series humanised an epidemic many ignored at the time.

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