[Lloyd Henley | Social Media Manager]
Hello, this is my first ever solo article so let me introduce myself quickly! My name is Lloyd, I’m 23 years old and I study Songwriting & Music Production at the University of Hertfordshire. This year, for one of my modules, I was asked to create a piece that was a crossover or a fusion between music and another art form. I had recently written a poem called “H U M A N S” and decided to turn the poem into a song and then make a music video for it.
Being a member of the LGBTQ+ society, I thought it would be important to focus on the fact that homophobic abuse is still a prominent issue that affects people day-to-day – even with the amount of positivity and acceptance that surrounds the gay community recently, for example the legalisation of gay marriage in America.
I see reports on Facebook and other social media outlets every morning about LGBTQ+ people that have been beaten up because they were holding their partner’s hand or they kissed them on a train. It does genuinely break my heart because we can’t help who we fall for, no-one can; whether it’s the boy next door or that girl that smiled at you on the train that one time. Love is love, you can’t change that. Just like you can’t change the colour of your skin or your height, you’re born the way you are, so embrace every aspect of yourself!
This is one of the reasons why I wanted to bring this to people’s attention and make this video. I came out in December 2013 and experienced zero negativity from family or friends but recently I had my first encounter with homophobic and racial abuse. I was out at a nightclub with the guys from back home. They’re all heterosexual and we were just dancing having a great time in the cheese room. I could feel eyes burning into the back of my skull and this boy had clearly determined my sexuality from the way I danced to the YMCA with my friends and requested that I “stop dancing like that.”
My friend asked him what the problem was to which he replied: “I don’t like black people.” I wasn’t angry but more so confused because disliking someone because of their sexuality and race to me is the same as hating someone because they like Nickelback or Reebok trainers; it’s that silly. Hate gets you nowhere. I’m not going to stop being bisexual because you don’t like it, I’m not going to stop dancing the way I do because you’ve asked me to, and I most definitely will not stop being black.
The night carried on and he and his friends became more aggressive towards me in terms of trying to isolate me. They were trying to mock the way I was dancing and were shoving themselves into me. Yes, I could’ve told security but I can handle myself. Also, the fact that I didn’t tell security gave them the impression that I didn’t actually care about what they thought. It may have been the wrong thing to do but I didn’t want to give them any satisfaction.
So I made this. This video is for everyone and this song is for you. If you have been bullied for your sexuality, the colour of your skin, the way you look; this is for you. Whilst I can count the amount of times I have experienced racial and homophobic abuse on one hand, I know that there are countless amounts of others that can’t. Any form of bullying is completely unacceptable. It’s 2016; please join the society as it changes in the 21st century. I truly believe a change is coming for the better but it cannot occur if we allow things like this to happen. Love is love – you are you!
(All images – Lloyd Henley)