A chat with Andy Train about National Coming Out Day

Published: Wednesday 11th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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It’s National Coming Out Day, so we spoke to Andy Train, Chair of the Hull & East Riding LGBT Forum, to learn more about Hull’s vibrant LGBT+ community.

Last time we chatted, you were gearing up for Pride in Hull. What has been happening since then?

Well, there’s still plenty going on in the city. We have regular groups of the LGBT+ community meet up to discuss issues and socialise.

Of course, the students have come back now too. Venues across the city will be gearing up for the new intake of first-year students. This is an incredible time of the year when a large group of young people, nationally and internationally, face new challenges and opportunities as they move away from home to study. It’ll be a chance for them to explore aspects of themselves that they, perhaps, haven’t had the confidence to whilst living with their families, whether that’s their sexuality or gender identity.

I know that Hull College has set up a new group to support LGBT+ students, which is excellent. On the other hand, the Hull & East Riding LGBT Forum has been focusing on issues with the older generation of the community. We’ve invited some officers and representatives from Hull City Council, in particular those who deal with adult social care.

A lot of it is down to lack of training and knowledge. Elderly adults, who have recently lost a long-term partner, may feel that they have to go back in the closet or can’t completely be themselves when they go into residential care.

Meanwhile, dementia is a huge topic at the moment. It affects the LGBT+ community in terms of identity and body image. We’ve had cases where individuals have forgotten they are trans and have faced a lot of challenges.

This year’s Pride was a massive success, attracting thousands of people, with an impressive 2,500 taking part in the parade. Have plans already begun for Pride in Hull 2018?

I’m literally just packing to travel to Indianapolis, where I will represent the whole of the British Isles at the InterPride World Conference. InterPride is the international organisation that ties Pride together globally.

It’s quite sobering to think it’s just me going from Britain. But I’m very proud of the fact that, within Europe, the UK hosts the most Pride events each year.

After this, I’ll be heading to the UK Pride Organisers Network, where Hull will be handing the UK Pride title over to Blackpool.

Very exciting! How can people get involved in Hull’s LGBT+ community?

There is a list of groups and organisations on the Pride in Hull website. One of these is the LGBT Forum, which I am Chair of.

The forum acts as a networking opportunity for anyone who is interested in supporting or being a part of the LGBT community, whether you’re a local business, organisation or an individual. We meet every second Wednesday of the month at The Guildhall from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Usually, the forum consists of a speaker, followed by any updates from each organisation and then a 15-minute networking session.

Everyone is welcome to come along, you don’t have to be a member, just rock up and join in. Meanwhile, be sure to join the LGBT Forum group on Facebook to keep up to date with what’s going on in the city.

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Published: Wednesday 11th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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