Ahead of International Women’s Day, I am thinking back to my own journey to self-acceptance and remembering and celebrating the wonderful women who stood by me and supported me always.

This journey starts with Erica (my last girlfriend); when I was 15. Erica knew I was gay long before I did. She was the person who intervened to keep me safe when I was felt suicidal and fearful just before I came out. When I did come out four older, wonderful lesbians became my surrogate mums.

Whilst they terrified every potential suitor who came near me, they showed me what supportive and understanding parenting could look like; helping me to believe in myself, become part of the lgbtq+ community and introducing me to a world of fun and activism.

Alongside these wonderful women, I have to mention my other surrogate mum, the world’s best ally and the founder of akt, Cath Johnson – my absolute inspiration who believes all LGBTQ+ young people are amazing, resilient and can change the world if they are listened to and given the right support.

This brings me to most astoundingly passionate, caring, hopeful and hardworking women I have ever met both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community: the female staff, trustees, volunteers, patrons and ambassadors of akt, past and present.

Everyday these women inspire me, because they never give up when a young person needs them, they bring creativity to every aspect of our work, however complex and difficult things are. The women of akt are committed to inspiring and making young people’s lives safer and better whether they work or volunteer within our service delivery, support functions, on our Board of Trustees or as our Patrons and Ambassadors. And of course, the incredible young women who we support in the work that we do.

Not just on International Women’s Day, but every single day, I remain in awe and inspired by all of the women in the akt family who keep me personally motivated and make me feel so lucky to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

This #InternationalWomensDay, we’d love to hear which women are the heroes in your life and why they continue to inspire you.

Finally, as we move toward the end of lockdown and see light at the end of the long journey we’ve had together throughout the pandemic, here at akt we’re looking forward to seeing you all once again.

Thank you so much for all of the support you’ve given us remotely, to enable us to continue doing our vital work, and respond to the huge surge in referrals we’ve seen during lockdown in comparison to previous years.

Tim Sigsworth
Chief Executive

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