Olly Alexander and It’s a Sin – LGBT History Month 2022

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The work Olly Alexander has done raising awareness about mental health was the first thing which inspired me, especially as he’s a younger person like me. He’s relatable, open and willing to discuss things which people often avoid. I was really lucky when I was younger – I only had a bit of bullying – but I watched his documentary Growing Up Gay and it really made me acknowledge my privilege and made me want to help others who were struggling.

I’m also inspired by the work he’s done raising awareness and reducing stigma about HIV through It’s A Sin. The work I do in sexual health has made me realise that although some people have knowledge about STIs and HIV, many don’t know much at all. Having someone being so open in the public eye helps to destigmatise these conditions, shows how easy it is to access services and how important it is to know your status.

The show also helped to bring to light a really important and often overlooked part of LGBTQ+ history and identities. The programme was really unifying, both within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as with heterosexual people who just didn’t know much about the lasting impact that HIV has had.

He’s open about and proud about his sexuality, and his work is opening doors for younger people to have the confidence to be proud of who they are and open about their own sexuality, HIV status and mental health.

 

— Chris Dunbar, Sexual Health Promotion Worker

This blog is part of a series for LGBT History Month 2022, where members of the Birmingham LGBT Team write about the LGBT people whose lives have influenced and inspired them.

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