EDITOR- IN- CHIEF’S LETTER
H “ow do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coff ee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife,” and so go the lyrics to the song Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. It’s an uplifting, if bitter- sweet, song about how we can quantify the lives of the people we have lost. The fi rst time I heard it live it was sung by the London Gay Men’s Chorus at a World Aids Day memorial service in Soho, and it’s one of those songs I fi nd myself listening to as winter rolls in and the year comes to an end.
If you asked me how I measure a year on this grey, gloomy Saturday afternoon that I am typing the copy you’re reading right now, I’d reply that it was measured by a seemingly unending cycle of washing. My week is genuinely ( and, yes, pathetically) defi ned by what day I need to wash my whites, darks and colours. Sad, I know, but when you’re the kind of mentally unstable person I am, who conceals his psychoses beneath a thin veneer of calm composure, then routine is vital to functioning in a socially acceptable manner.
But aside from my sad relationship with Beyoncé ( the name I bestowed on my washing machine… long story… all the appliances in my house are named after pop divas) there are, of course, many other ways to measure a year, which don’t need an added scoop of Daz washing powder.
Politically, 2018 will be remembered as a stagnant year, if not a somewhat regressive one for the West. Two years of buff oonery has left the UK hanging in Brexit limbo. In the US, while the mid- term elections delivered a blow to Trump, he strengthened his hold on the Senate.
The US Supreme Court also tilted to the right, presenting future concern for trans ( and possibly wider LGB+) rights. Elsewhere, a once- progressive Brazil has voted in an extremist president. Populism continues to rise. The news agenda has largely forgotten the tragedies of Syria and Yemen.
The good LGBT+ news came from unexpected places. India and Trinidad and Tobago decriminalised gay sex, while Taiwan and Thailand are on the path to introducing same- sex marriage.
So, is the world in a better or worse state today than 12 months ago? I guess it depends on your perspective.
Away from the unsavoury world of politics, us regular folks have little option but to get on with our lives.
This year I’ve seen my nieces and nephews grow faster than ever as they look to start secondary school. Two close friends are now sober having overcome a dark moment in their lives, and I know of several others who have had the courage to change their life for the better in similar ways. Other friends have welcomed new children — adopted and biological — into their lives. Me? I’ve been promoted at work, and seen Attitude evolve into the exciting new place it is today. As I look back on the year — laundry exempted — there really is a lot to be joyful about.
When it feels as if we can’t rely on the politicians who were voted into power to improve our lives, we need to look elsewhere. Despite all the protests and petitions that we put our voice to in an eff ort to infl uence national policy, it is apparent that the most positive changes we can aff ect begin at home.
In that regard, 12 months from now as we wrap 2019… how will you measure a year?
“Populism continues to rise but good LGBT+ news has come from unexpected places”