pride Q&A with gary
There has never been a better time to introduce you to a key member of our small but mighty team than during Pride Month! Meet Gary, our Client Relations + Customer Care Manager. He has been a close friend of mine for over 7 years, watched SBA grow from a small idea in my bedroom to production.
Q. Hi Gary, tell us a little about yourself for all our readers!
Hey everyone, I’m Gary my pronouns are he/him and I identify as bisexual. I’m 30 years old from London and work in Sexual Health and as the Client Relations Manager for SBA.
Q. What does Pride Month mean to you?
For me Pride month is to celebrate who you are and to honour those from the LGBTQIA+ community that came before me and fought for our rights to live as we do now.
Q. The process of coming out can be very different for everyone and a difficult challenge the LGBTQIA+ youth can face is coming out to their families and the question of acceptance. Did you have a relatively straightforward or hard time coming out?
I did. It was a very scary thing to do but something I knew I had to do for myself to be free and live authentically. I didn’t have any friends or family that I knew had come out before but once I realised my sexuality, I slowly had to tell everyone because it was starting to feel like a weight I was carrying around with me. Luckily, I had a lot of support when I did tell them but I do recognise my privilege in that sense.
Q. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would just tell myself to be true to yourself. It might sound cliche but it does get easier. Once I came out, it just became part of my identity that people just had to accept. Regardless of peoples opinions, it is who you are and no one can take that away from you.
Q. Alongside working as the SBA Client Relations + Customer Care Manager, you also work for a Sexual Health Clinic in London, what is an issue affecting the LGBTQIA+ community that people may not know about?
Well from a sexual health perspective I would really encourage people from the LGBTQIA+ community to really do their research with sexual health. It’s important to know the risks and what resources are available i.e prep. There’s a lack of sexual health education in the education system and there are things we need to be aware of that may not affect the straight community as much. No one really told me about the risks because I didn’t have many gay friends when I was younger so I had to do the research myself.
In terms of stigma, I would say we need to stop stereotyping members of the community because it can make people feel like they don’t have a place within the community. I have been judged numerous times for identifying as bisexual because people just see me as a gay male. I think it’s mostly due to my femininity but I’m living proof that you do not have to fit into a stereotype that other people have put on to you.
We should also be aware that many LGBTQIA+ people from other countries are suffering with acceptance a lot more than here in the UK.
Q. Who are some of your role models in the LGBTQIA+ community?
I’m really just inspired by the people that live authentically as themselves. I will also say that I am really inspired by sportsmen coming out. I think the sports space is a really tricky space historically for males to come out in but sportsmen can be gay (toxic stereotype: gay men don’t do sports) so I’m really happy that we have more of them coming out. I was really proud of Jake Daniels from Blackpool FC for recently coming out and helping to break that stigma!
There are many people historically that have fought for our community to be what it is today so I am very thankful to them too.
Q. What is your LGBTQIA+ anthem and why?
I just remember how much of an impact Christina Aguilera had on me when I was younger. It was the time she released her ‘dirrty’ song and the ‘stripped’ album. It was all about self expression, being a fighter and being unapologetically yourself. It really inspired me to stay true to myself regardless of peoples opinions.
Q. How are you planning to celebrate Pride this year?
I would usually attend the pride parade and party!! I’ve only done Brighton and London pride before but Gran Canaria pride is iconic so it’s high on my list. This year I will be seeing Adele on the day of London Pride!!
Q. Last but not least, which is your favourite SBA bikini?
Oh god, how could I just pick one?! I would have to go for the Chrissy top and Jordan pant. Obsessed with the Damsel colour way but the classic Fuschia Kiss will always have a special place in my heart! Also love the waist detail on the Helly top. Told you I couldn’t pick just one!!
So much love to Gary for his time! I absolutely loved doing this Q&A with him and found his answers so honest, educational and genuine!
I'm so thankful to have him in my life, he is an asset to the team with the most amazing work ethic, going above and beyond at all times. As well as being the best date with a bottle (or two) of wine.
Love Alba x