Recently, Prince William revealed that he will support his children if they identify as LGBT in the future. He also opened up on his fears of a backlash they might face because of their roles in the monarchy. During a visit to the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), a charity that helps LBGT homeless young people, William said that it would be “absolutely fine by me” if Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 4 or Prince Louis, one, later identified as LGBT. But the Duke of Cambridge spoke of his fears about a “backlash” and how “nervous” he would be about any “hate” and “persecution” they might face, because of their position.
William was officially opening AKT's new services centre in Hoxton, east London this morning, and began by taking part in a group chat with several young people, who are currently being supported by the charity. During what is thought to be the first time a member of the royal family has visited a dedicated LGBT organisation, William also took part in a group discussion with several AKT ambassadors young people who have been supported by the charity and now mentor others using its services.
View this post on Instagram
Ahead of the annual #prideinlondon parade and in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, The Duke of Cambridge visited Albert Kennedy Trust (akt) to learn about the issue of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, and the positive change that akt are enacting through their unique prevention and early action approach. The Duke met people supported by akt, and spoke to staff about the services they provide including the ‘Purple Door’ safe house, LGBTQ+ ‘host’ (or carer) services, in-person and online mentoring programmes and a range of youth engagement activities. Among the people The Duke met was Faz, an akt Young Ambassador and trans Muslim man. Faz lost his parents when he was younger and was living with extended family, but had to leave home after they reacted badly to him coming out as trans. akt helped support Faz, and he was one of the first people to move into Purple Door. Swipe to see Faz speak about how akt helped him, and see more from The Duke’s visit. Almost one quarter of the 150,000 young people facing or experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+, and 77 per cent of those cite rejection or abuse from their families as what has led them to being so. akt has provided over 250,000 nights off the street and supported over 50,000 LGBTQ+ young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Today The Duke officially opened akt’s new services centre in Hoxton, which will host drop-in sessions for young people and grow its youth engagement offering. The Stonewall uprising took place in New York on June 28, 1969, and is seen as the moment that sparked the modern LGBTQ+ movement around the world. Pride marches around the world will be recognising the anniversary, including Pride in London, where akt staff and supporters will be marching. @aktcharity #LGBTQ #Pride
Faz Bukhari, 28, from east London, experienced problems at home from the age of 24 when he began to identify as transgender. He left home soon after and found support and accommodation through the charity’s Purple Door refuge scheme. He now works for a housing association in London and acts as one of AKT's ambassadors and mentors. He asked William, “You coming here is a great opportunity and platform, what would you think about it if one of your children was LGBT?” William answered, “I’ve only started thinking about it since becoming a parent, and it is something I’m nervous about, not of the fact if any of them were to be gay, but because of the pressures they’ll face, because of my family and the position we’re in. "I’d fully support the decisions they make. "It worries me how many barriers, persecution and hate they’d face. But that’s for all of us to try and correct.”
One young gay man, who asked not to be identified, asked William, “If your child one day in the future said ‘oh I’m gay, oh I’m lesbian’ whatever, how would you react?” William replied, “Do you know what, I’ve been giving that some thought recently because a couple of other parents said that to me as well."I think you really don’t start thinking about that until you are a parent, and I think obviously absolutely fine by me." He went on to say, “The one thing I’d be worried about is how they, particularly the roles my children fill is how that is going to be interpreted and seen. “So Catherine and I have been doing a lot of talking about it to make sure they were prepared. "I think communication is so important with everything, in order to help understand it you’ve got to talk a lot about stuff and make sure how to support each other and how to go through the process. “It worries me, not because of them being gay, it worries me as to how everyone else will react and perceive it and then the pressure is then on them.”
During his conversation with the charity’s ambassadors, William joked about appearing on the cover of Attitude magazine in 2016. “I did my Attitude magazine cover which was a good day. But I’d seen some of the previous front covers and I was a bit nervous about what they might ask me to do,” he laughed. “Thankfully there were no small briefs for me!”After the chat, Faz said, “I thought his answer was so good, to hear him talk about having fears about what people might think of his children and how they might take to them if they were identified as LGBT. "That he recognises that, and is aware there could be a backlash, he understands the issues and hopefully with his comments we can get more awareness across to more parents of the issues.”
During his visit, William spoke of how “stifling” many young people find the burden of coming out to their families and also of his concerns about young LGBT people taking their own lives. “It’s a real pressure to live under,” he said during a conversation with Cath Hall, AKT’s founder. “I’ve been looking into issues around suicide and I imagine that the figures in the LGBT community are high, because of all the barriers and stigma around acceptance.” William also heard from Bridie Honour, 22, from Newcastle. Bridie, who identifies as non-binary, is currently in a relationship with a woman. She left home aged 18 due to troubles at home and was helped by AKT and given access to supported accommodation. She now studies psychology at Teesside University. Bridie said, “There’s a massive stigma around homelessness and LGBT and it brings a lot of mental health issues as you come to terms with who you are. "I was badly bullied at school, people told me they didn’t want to be around me. Even now, walking down the street holding my partner’s hand, I get nasty comments from older people, I’ve been spat at. Akt gives you so much support with all of that.
Shaking his head and looking angry, William said, “I’m so sad for you guys that persecution like that is still there. Things have progressed, but not nearly as much as they need to.” William also told the group how shocked he had been by the recent bus attack on the lesbian couple in London. “I was really appalled by that attack,” he said. “That stuff like that still happens.” After the visit, Claire said, “It was fantastic to get his input and hear him relating to his own life. He’s under a lot of pressure, being in the spotlight. "To hear him say “I’d support my own children if they were in the LGBT community” was great, and to hear how much awareness he has of how difficult things are, and the awareness he has of the suicide issue, which is a massive, massive issue for the community. To know that someone that important has your back is huge." William was visiting AKT’s new headquarters in Hoxton ahead of the annual Pride in London parade next weekend and to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. As patron of the homelessness charities Centrepoint and The Passage, he also heard more about LGBT issues and youth homelessness, and the work undertaken by AKT through its “prevention and early action” approach.
Akt is the national LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, providing safe homes and better futures for LGBTQ+ young people. Almost one-quarter of the 150,000 young people facing or experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+ and 77 per cent of those cite rejection or abuse from their families as what has led them to be so. The charity was founded in 1989 by Cath Hall, a foster carer, who named the organisation after a 16-year-old boy who died falling from a car park in Manchester after being chased by a gang. He had previously run away from a children’s home in Salford after suffering homophobia. It runs an online support service, with centres in London, the northwest and northeast, providing homes, mentoring and training for gay youngsters. Over the past 30 years, the charity has provided more than 250,000 nights off the street and supported over 50,000 LGBTQ+ young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
It has been reported that the pop star Lady Gaga, who collaborated with William on the Heads Together campaign, flagged the charity to the Duke. He also spoke with the charity’s staff, who told him about AKT’s safe house “Purple Door”, LGBTQ+ “host” (or carer) services, the charity’s personal and online mentoring programmes and the youth engagement activities on offer. At the end of the visit, William unveiled a plaque, formally opening AKT’s new services centre in Hoxton which hosts drop-in sessions for young people. The services team is made up of caseworkers who support young people into better futures, including helping them with job hunting and interview preparation, ensuring they have food, clothes, and shoes, that their wellbeing is stable and that they know how to complete the right documentation for anything they might need.
After the visit, AKT’s chief executive, Tim Sigworth, said, “I was incredibly impressed. I was first impressed by his level of knowledge already but his empathy and appreciation of the struggles and challenges faced by LGBT people were incredible to me. “And just his willingness to learn from the young people, his willingness to challenge his own perceptions and his willingness to come out in support of LGBT people in such a personal way as to refer to his children - that will make a massive difference. Mr Sigswort, who is gay, said, “I was personally rejected by my mum and the idea that the future monarch is saying they would support their children if they came out as LGBT is a message to the whole of society really, a message that we need to support and we need to empower LGBT people.”Read More