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Free and equal: YouTube stars discuss the fight for LGBT equality in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 11:05 11 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:05 11 February 2016

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History month being celebrated at the Ilford Central Library.  Gary C and Roland West

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History month being celebrated at the Ilford Central Library. Gary C and Roland West

Archant

“The fact that we have been able to laugh tonight shows that the struggle for inclusion and rights is a struggle that we can go through together.”

YouTube star Gary C, who has built up a following of more than 45,000 fans on the video sharing website, ended his talk at Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, with these encouraging words.

The panel, discussing equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, included Gary C, fellow YouTube star Roland West, Redbridge Cllr Emma Best and Pride of London organiser Rhammel Afflick.

The two-hour discussion – the first in the borough for LGBT History Month – touched on a lot of issues facing people in 2016, including access to health services, discrimination at work and the lack of services in Redbridge.

Cllr Best, whose letter on her experiences of growing up as a lesbian was published in last week’s Recorder, said Redbridge was “10 years behind” the rest of the country.

She said: “I think changes are happening.

“For a young LGBT person in Redbridge, there’s not a specific place for them to go.

“When I was at school here, there wasn’t any support, but literally down the road in Romford, there were nights out, LGBT checkups at the sex clinic and it made me realise what I was missing out on.”

Roland, who rose to fame through his frank videos discussing LGBT rights, encouraged the audience to join the YouTube community.

The 25-year-old, originally from Devon but now living in Stratford, said: “It can be a lonely thing to feel like you’re not welcomed and there is a lot of information out there.”

To see other events going on in the borough for LGBT History Month, visit redbridge.gov.uk/lgbt


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