An interview with new AKT patron Simon Callow Why have you chosen to become a Patron of AKT and why do you think their work is still so important today? Nothing can be more important than saving young lives. These young people have shown amazing courage in coming out to their families, often to be brutally rejected, at the very moment when they most need support, love and guidance. They find themselves on the streets, desperate, frighted - some 45,000 of them at any one time. AKT catches them, holds them, gives them safety and reassurance and absolutely practical help. Above all, it tells them they are not alone. With AKT often supporting young people when their coming out journey does not go well, what was your own experience of coming out like? Very easy, and rather funny. I was terribly lucky. My grandmother said to me: “Far be it from me to deny anyone love.” My aunt said: “Well you’re an artist. Aren’t they all homos?” My mother, who had no time for sex between anyone, said: “There were no women, so I assume that if you are a sexual beast like your father, it must have been men.” End of discussion. What piece of advice would you offer to a young person getting ready to come out to their family? Assume that at heart they love you, but be prepared for shocking behaviour. People have very irrational views about sex. Perhaps tell them separately - your mum first, then your dad. What are you most looking forward to in your role as Patron? Spreading the word about the AKT. Whenever I mention the organisation to anyone, they are immediately supportive. Everyone understands that youngsters must be helped, protected, given strength. The young people I’ve met who have been helped by AKT are in no doubt about the difference it has made to them. Without us, they might not be here at all.