Welcome to our first akt now of 2021.  At akt the year has gotten off to a very busy start and our services team are seeing referrals rise again.

I’m so proud of how the whole team have supported each other to deliver an incredible level of support to young people during the last ten months. I’m also amazed by the resilience and positivity of the young people we’re helping who have faced so many challenges recently.

Whatever the next few months hold, we’re looking ahead to the future, as we consult our young people, supporters, volunteers and staff on the future direction of akt. 

At the Presidential inauguration last week, Joe Biden said something that I think resonates with the LGBTQ+ community’s journey: “In order to heal, we need to remember.”

This couldn’t be timelier. This week on Holocaust Memorial Day, I remembered the LGBTQ+ people who lost their lives simply for being who they are.

Similarly, after watching Russell T Davies’ ‘It’s A Sin’, I was reminded of the last pandemic we faced, where gay and bi men in particular faced public blame and shame.

Fast-forward to 2021 and, thankfully, it’s a slightly different landscape. We have improved legal rights and people who contract HIV and are on effective treatment now live long and healthy lives and cannot pass the virus on. However, we know that HIV stigma is still a huge issue that must be addressed.

However, there’s still a lot of healing to do. In particular for LGBTQ+ people of colour and trans and non-binary people, who continue to face disproportionate levels of discrimination today and always have. Including within our own spaces.

At akt, we continue to work to ensure that no young person has to choose between a safe home and being who they are. We’ll continue to stand by the side of all LGBTQ+ young people who are facing homelessness or are living in a hostile environment and will do all we can to be better allies to the most marginalised members of our community.

As someone who grew up with no family of his own, I joined akt to help ensure those LGBTQ+ young people with similar experiences weren’t alone, were supported and knew there was a chosen family out there for them.

Each and every one of you are part of that chosen family, and I am so proud and grateful to have your unwavering support and solidarity.

Please stay safe and thank you once again for everything you do for us.

Tim Sigsworth
Chief Executive

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