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Love is continually under attack and it needs all the help it can get

Ahead of tonight's #BlackandGay event, Rikki Beadle Blair writes about why he thinks love is the next milestone the LGBTI community needs to achieve

Love is continually under attack and it needs all the help it can get
Rikki Beadle Blair is a panelist at Impulse London's #BlackandGay event

Love.  It’s the answer to everything. Does that sound corny? Oh well. It’s true.

When people ask what is the next milestone the UK’s LGBT+ community, the answer is love.

We have fought for the rights for our love to be acknowledged, legalized, legitimised. Now we must get on with the pursuit actually loving.

Loving one another. Looking after one another. Loving ourselves. Looking after ourselves.

Our physical health. Our mental health. Our social health.

We don’t have to be perfect. We can acknowledge and value our complexity, our humanity, the education of our mistakes.  But we must give our energies to learning to be practical and protecting ourselves.

From cruelty. From abuse – especially the self-inflicted varieties – and from neglect. 

It’s a huge challenge this mission. We’ve absorbed so many messages, blatant and subliminal, telling us that we are sick, we are weird, we are twisted, we are sinners, we are perverts, we are worthless.

That our equality is up for public debate. That we may deserve to be tolerated, but we do not deserve to be parents, teachers, prime ministers, romantic leads that the ‘mainstream’ can relate to.

That we do not deserve love. And guess what? Some of us are weird. Some of us are twisted. Some of us are sinners. Some of us are perverts. But we are not worthless.

Our weirdness – our queerness if you will – is our contribution.

Our strangeness is valuable

Evolution springs from difference, not uniformity. 

Yes, we deserve love. And we must pursue it. Doggedly.

It’s in the way we talk to each other. The way we talk about each other and most crucially the way we talk about and to ourselves.  

It’s not about bragging or going through the motions.  It’s about acknowledging the facts.

That each of us has a vital place in this world. Corny? Maybe. Not as corny as hating ourselves for not being ‘straight’ enough or conventional enough or popular enough or exciting enough.

For not being someone or something else. It’s not self-love and support that’s cheesy. It’s casting ourselves as casualties and pursuing self-destruction as a vocation that is cheesy, corny, clichéd, clapped out.  And it’s got to stop.   

And love is the way. Militant, flagrant, in-your-face love. 

We must talk like we love ourselves. We must walk like we love ourselves. We must love our bodies. We must love our faces. We must love our masculinity, our femininity and our individual ways of expressing ourselves.

We must share our bodies with people who respect us, we must respect ourselves enough to stay away from those who don’t.

We must feed our bodies and our minds with things that help and do not harm. We must find people to talk to about what is going on inside of us.

And we must tell ourselves the truth: that we are beautiful; that we are useful; that we are loveable. And we must love ourselves. Fiercely. Gently. Passionately. Persistently. Habitually.

Yes, love is a habit.

You are worth it

Just like being good with money, eating healthily, having sex healthily, thinking healthily. Looking after ourselves. It takes a while. But it’s worth it. You are worth it. Corny? So what?

Yep, I’m obsessed with love and I have no shame or apologies. It’s the most practical emotion. Its the way forward.

It’s my personal crusade to try and bring love to every single person who encounters me or my work. 

It ain’t easy. I meet all kinds of resistance. Around me. Confronting me. Within me. People in so-called powerful places. People in the street. People reading this page. I’m undeterred. I’ve been around a while.

I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. And love works. Love really does win. But it’s continually under attack and we are losing soldiers.

Love needs all the help it can get. 

Follow @RikkiBB

Rikki Beadle Blair is on the panel for the upcoming Impulse London, #BlackandGay event at 20th Century Fox held on 12 October 

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