Today Luca tells us what his life was like growing up gay.
“When I was 14, I was bullied and terrorised by people in the local community. They smashed every single window of our house, and it was quite a big house. They drew penises all over the walls, splashed paint on the doors and posted fireworks through the letterbox. I didn’t really have a choice about whether I came out or not, it was just what people assumed. It was really devastating and affected everything – my health, my ability to stay in education, everything. It just made it all crumble and I had no real grounding at all. I guess my family blamed me for the problems. They didn’t support me at all and just saw it as me bringing negativity their way.
I heard about the Albert Kennedy Trust and made an appointment to see a social worker. It was literally life changing. The same day I was assigned a mentor who took on a bit of a parent role. I continued to see the social worker and they weren’t happy with me staying at home, they didn’t feel it was safe, so they helped me find safe, supported lodgings. Staff at Albert Kennedy Trust did so much. They picked me up, moved me in and made me feel welcome. There were groups that they offered as well, and workshops, so I could make friends with people who had been through similar things.
They taught me about healthier ways of doing things than drugs and drink, and got me back into education. It was a long journey of getting better and better but I’ve achieved a lot through their support. I’m now studying criminology at University, I’ve got my own place and I’m really settled in my own life.
A lot has changed over the years. Being gay is now more widely accepted. There are still bumps in the road but I do think it’s changing. I do think it still depends where you live, unfortunately. My advice to anyone struggling out there would be to never give in and to always fight for what you believe in. Turn the bad into a positive, and let that experience be the thing that’s going to push you to a better place.
I like that people celebrate the achievement of what gay people have become during LGBT Pride. I love the atmosphere, I think that’s what everyone loves. It’s great how everyone comes together. When you go to Pride, everyone smiles and is friendly to each other. That’s the thing I like the most.
I had given up on everything, given up on myself. But through the Albert Kennedy Trust and meeting other people who took an interest in things that I was good at, it made me thrive more. No matter what, you’re not alone. I felt I was the only person in the world that was going through it and that’s the thing that makes you more crippled, because you feel isolated. Remember you’re not isolated and people are there to help, people just like you, and it will pass in time. The pain will go away and you’ll feel better about it in the end.
It made me a stronger person. It made me more confident. It’s crazy to even think about my past now. I’m the total opposite: I’m very outgoing and I’m quite a confident person. I have a much stronger voice in my family than I used to have too. I’m in a really good place, and it just keeps getting better. I’m looking forward to learning new things, exploring new things and getting on with my life.”
The Albert Kennedy Trust is supported by Comic Relief funding, to help LGBT+ people like Luca.