GMFA is turning 25 years old today. The gay men’s health charity remains at the forefront of health promotion for gay and bisexual men, yet it receives no statutory funding. It’s criminal, I know, but these are the challenging times in which we live in. Health is something that you cannot put a price on, but without money, the work of this outstanding charity cannot continue. GMFA is relying on you to support the continuation of its work.
There’s something quite special about contributing to a charity that has helped you out over the years. So, as somebody who started writing for FS, the gay health and life magazine published by GMFA, exactly a year ago, I thought it was only right that I wrote about why you should donate to this charity.
Sex and relationship education in our schools is failing LGBTQ+ young people. Classes that were set up to inform young people about decision-making around their sexual health, are simply excluding gay and bisexual young men from the conversation. I remember turning to GMFA’s website for specific information on sexual health for gay men. I was worried about HIV. Nobody talked about how people passed on the virus and I was too anxious to ask anybody about it. The 16-year-old me clicked on GMFA’s website and became educated on how HIV was transmitted – dissolving so many lies that I’d heard about the virus. I also remember reading a column in FS by Kristian Johns, who opened my eyes to what it was like to live with HIV. GMFA informed my own decision-making around sexual health.
Moving away from physical health, how we’re feeling on the inside is important too. Whenever I read about a gay young person who has taken his own life, it breaks my heart. There are alarmingly high rates of poor mental health amongst LGBTQ+ people, with young gay and bisexual men being no exception. It’s something that we all struggle to talk about, yet we’re all going through it. I’ve met so many gay people who are a similar age to me and have experienced episodes of depression, suicidal thoughts or poor body image. GMFA is able to break the taboo that engulfs these issues, by providing honest and open advice through the pages of FS. It’s easy for anybody to give you advice, but the feeling of reassurance when reading about somebody else who is going through something similar, is unparalleled.
Before writing for FS, I was a writing intern at PACE, the LGBT+ mental health charity. It collapsed a few months after I left, leaving countless young LGBTQ+ people with nowhere to turn to for support. It was a cruel reminder of the harsh times that we live in. GMFA has no statutory funding, which means it relies on you to donate money so that it can continue its work. As they turn 25, they’re looking to raise £25,000, a feat that cannot be achieved without your help.
If you’ve ever turned to GMFA for information, been inspired by a story in FS, or enjoyed anything that I have written for the magazine, please donate.