Identity: seeing the whole person and not just a few small parts.

A screenshot of Alex Bertie talking to camera in a video posted on YouTube.
Alex Bertie’s video “Who Am I?” (see below) is a great example of how being LGBT or having a mental illness need not define who you are.

Several times a week someone will ask me how I feel about being gay, or about having a mental illness. It’s a question that I find strangely difficult to answer because, if I’m honest, I don’t really feel much about these things at all. You see, to me, these are just small parts of what makes me, me. Important parts, yes, but only parts.

There are a million other things that I’d like people to know about me, to think about me, before we even get on to mental illness or sexuality. In fact here are ten off the top of my head:

  1. My favourite colour is purple.
  2. I may have been born in England, but for all sporting purposes I’m Welsh (blame my parents!).
  3. I love watching, and playing, golf but I can’t stand watching cricket; it’s too slow and boring.
  4. There’s no better food than pizza.
  5. And no worse food than sprouts (except perhaps beetroot)
  6. I have eaten lunch with a former presenter of Blue Peter and the King of Sweden… it was a very strange day!
  7. I absolutely love cooking, though even I’m not always brave enough to eat what I make.
  8. My favourite films, and probably books, are the Harry Potter series.
  9. I’ve only cried at a film or TV programme twice: ER when Mark Greene died and a BBC drama called Warriors about the genocide in Bosnia.
  10. If I won the lottery and could choose to live anywhere in the world, I would move to either the north of Scotland or Kenya.

As an aside, it takes an awful lot of work to find ten things ‘off the top of your head’ for a piece of writing like this.

One thing that I do say, though, when people ask me about who I am, is that there was one experience that really made me realise that this is how I feel. It was watching this video from a young lad called Alex Bertie who lives in southern England:

Even though there are parts of us that are important, like gender, sexuality or mental illness, there are so many other things that make us who we are. That’s the point that I want this blog to make: that just because I devote so much of this blog to talking about LGBT and mental health issues, those things are only parts of me, not the whole.

It’s not that those things don’t matter to me, they really do, but so many people have concentrated on the things about me that make me ‘different’ in the past that they really haven’t taken the time to find out what I’m really like. People sometimes focus so much on the first thing that they find out about me, without ever bothering to really get to know me. So – here on my blog at least – that’s going to change.

I’ve already started spending more time posting about other things, like golf and days out, but now I’m going to start making a conscious effort to do it even more. I’m not going to stop writing about my recovery, about mental health or about LGBT issues. What I hope to do is include those things in a blog that better reflects all the other aspects of my life and who I am.

There are some massive changes happening in my life right now, two of them in the next week in fact, so this small change of emphasis will also give me more chance to talk about those. I hope you enjoy finding out about them when I have time to write some more.

One other point on which I’d like to end is that I genuinely find Alex to be a hugely inspirational person in many ways. If you’ve got the time, I would urge you to visit his YouTube channel to see just what an amazing contribution this young man is making to the cause of LGBT rights. And all while he’s going through so much himself as a trans-guy still in his transition.

Anyway, that’s all I had to say. Night folks 🙂

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