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Why comic Zoe Lyons needs your help to stamp out gay hate in schools

Three reasons why lesbian comic Zoe Lyons is am happy to be hosting the 10th annual Equality Walk for leading British gay campaign organization Stonewall
Lesbian comic Zoe Lyons is joining the annual Stonewall Equality Walk in Brighton.

The Stonewall Equality Walk takes place in Brighton, on the south coast of England on 5 May. I am helping to host the event this year and here are three good reasons why you should don some ‘sensible’ shoes and stroll the 10K walk with me.

Reason 1

Stonewall is dedicated to wiping out homophobic bullying in schools. With over half of all lesbian, gay and bisexual school children reporting having experienced some form of bullying it is so important that these kids know they are not alone. It is also vitally important that schools and teachers have the right information and training they need to provide them with the skills to address homophobic bullying in the classroom.

I, like so many people experienced bullying at school and even now as a fully grown adult when I think back to those times I can remember the feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach all those years ago. It is one thing hating school, it is a very different thing to hate going to school because you are the focus of other kids’ ignorance.

Your years at school are so important, it is when you are spreading your wings and finding out who you are as a person and your sexuality should never be something that others can use against you. Stonewall’s slogan ‘Some people are gay get over it’ is a message even a kid can grasp.

With the money raised from the walk, Stonewall aims to give every kid an equal footing at school regardless of sexuality and educate others about the lasting harm verbal and physical abuse can have.

My mum used to tell me when I was being picked on in class that the biggest bully usually has the most to hide and I thank the recently resigned Father Keith O Brien for proving that last month.

Reason 2

Walking is a bloody brilliant thing to do. I am so lucky that my dad encouraged my wee brother and I to walk loads when we were kids. We were members of a hill walking club – I know frickin’ rock and roll! But do you know what it was great for us, as kids we got to meet people from different backgrounds, all different ages and different nationalities.

It is such a simple idea but taking a beautiful walk and talking with people you might not otherwise have met is genuinely one of life's most basic delightful pleasures. If that makes me sound like a boring old fart then so be it, I don't care! It is not like I haven't sought pleasures in other areas of my life in fact I had so much fun in the 90's I can't remember most of the decade.

I walk all the time, I walk everywhere. It is what I do when I am feeling stressed or unhappy and more often than not it helps to lift my mood. A lot of creative people say they do their most productive thinking when they are on the hoof, so who knows what golden nugget of inspiration may occur to you if you decide to strike up a beat with your feet on 5 May. And if nothing else you will make some new friends and have a firmer butt from the exercise.

Reason 3

You will get to spend a glorious Sunday afternoon in my adopted home town of Brighton.

In the words of the Fat Boy Slim tune that plays at the start of Brighton home matches at the local soccer stadium, ‘I Love this city… Brighton’.

As a jobbing comedian I travel all over the country, I have performed in most of our towns and cities and even though I take great pride in the UK and everything it has to offer there is only one place I want to live – my beloved Brighton. I love its energy, its history, its naughty hedonist side.

When a lot of towns are slowly losing their identity as a result of the creeping homogenisation of capitalism, Brighton still has that something a bit unique. It knows it is different and different is good. It is also a pretty good place to be gay and for that I am eternally thankful. I am a very lucky girl to love where I live.

So come on, join me on 5 May, raise money for Stonewall, tone your ass and breath some sea air. I might even get you an ice cream if you behave yourselves.

You can register to do the walk here. 

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