My voice: Darren Marples @pridematters1 (twitter) 

I am the creator of Pride matters. I identity as a gay man. I live somewhere in the North of England. A small northern town on the edge of Sherwood Forest.

29th October 2017

The Scottish first minister, Nicolas Sturgeon is going to announce pardons for all men who where procecuted under homophobic laws. This is great news for Scotland at least, for the rest of the UK it may take a while longer to achieve and end the silence on such a terrible period of history that only truly ended in the last decade.

Peter Tatchell was on ITV news today and suggested that the men who was victim of such laws should receive compensation. Although I agree compensation is a great way to say sorry I feel that it’s not enough to give back these men’s lives.

Perhaps to honour these men lives we must figure out ways of eridicating such anti lgbt sentiment in all its forms.

Of cause there is much to be done to change the attitudes of others when looking at homophobia, biphobia and Transphobia and much more to be done to enhance the lives of those who are or were affected by such laws, here in the UK and beyond.

I was only a part of a conversation last week where a young person in her twenties tried to convince us that homophobia didn’t exist and backed it up with her degree. She went on to say that racism is a bigger issue. Racism is an issue we need to fight too however it should never be used against another minority because it is felt by some to be a greater issue. We need to fight all forms of hatred and not catroguise one being greater than another.

So why is this relevant to the recent devolopments in Scotland?

Firstly more people will devolop the attitude that homophobia is a thing of the past and not see the need to make things more equal for everyone and this still needs to be fought against.

Secondly to honour these men who were affected by the UK government laws perhaps the UK governments need to pledge laws that will ensure changes in the education system, to prevent such crimes against minorities happening again in history. Perhaps we need to look at finding ways to prevent people who have such problems with minorities forming collations or governments like in NI.

Yes. We do have many laws but perhaps they need to be strengthened and designed to prevent all minorities being oppressed.
11th October 2017

Recently I was involved with a community project that was about vioces of the town (pop 90k+) where I grew up. I knew I wanted to write about prejudices especially of the past 25 years, so I began to write my memories of homophobic abrasive opinion and I suddenly realised I was going to come out to an entire theatre. As I wrote it I decided I wouldn’t introduce myself as gay. Instead I ensured I would mention things such as the bar wasm’t gay but gay friendly and abuse I received when leaving one night.

Even though I was well rehearsed and over practiced, if that’s ever possible and despite having a great project manager/director/creator I realised how personal it was and how it made me nervous. Sure I wasn’t the only one with a moving story as one guy spoke about alcoholism and another about depression it was personal to me. All remarkable stories that need platform’s.

Whilst people are affected by such subjects we do need platforms.

I’m not the typical Stereotype gay man, I’m sure if you met me in the street you wouldn’t know my sexuality and sometimes that is a problem. I recall once I told someone I was working for that I was gay and she replied “you’re confused you’re not gay, gay men aren’t like you”.

The truth is gay, bi and trans people are like everyone. What’s on the outside doesn’t define who we are on the inside and there is nothing wrong with accepting your true self.

I recall another time when a friend comically outed me without realising. “This is my gay friend from work” it was purely by accident and I probably would have told the other person anyway. However I don’t feel that our sexuality should define us.

On a side note: There was a Closeted gay guy at that party and I wonder if hearing I was gay actually helped him to deal with his sexual identity.

Is it important to tell people our sexuality?

It helps the world when we are open because people see our diversity as a community. Having said that I don’t feel that we all need to put our coats on and climb the highest moantain and scream our sexuality or gender identity, but when we do it shows the diversity out there.

I’ve seen debates recently that suggest that gay people are all sex mad shellfish soulless people but this retrohic is dangerous and uneducated when someone shares there enlightenment story that suits the anti lgbt crowd claiming they are an ‘ex gay’.

All it does is to oppress the rest of us who accept who we are as ‘gay men’, ‘lesbians’, ‘queer’, ‘trans’, non binary or however you wish to identify. It’s time we had the choice to be ourselves and not be missible outcasts or simply accept who we are.

I’m not saying that these ‘ex gays’ shouldn’t have vioces but they shouldn’t be the only vioces that are out there.

The more we do come out the less likely the next generation will be harassed by the homo-unaware and homophobic idiots that feel that the ‘ex gays’ are right and we all should oppress who we are.

We shouldn’t, we should be ourselves and show the world how we live perfectly wonderful lives.

Even though it’s coming out day and we must focus on these BRAVE HEROES who have opened up today we need to keep the conversation going about sexuality and gender awareness so that one day coming out day is no longer a need but simply an historical relic.

Remember being lgbt doesn’t hurt anyone, hate does!

If you have come put today. Great work. It does get easier but I don’t 100% recommend doing it on stage.

11 th September 2017

My thoughts and love goes out to everyone affected by the last few days events, from earthquakes through to all of the hurricanes.

What I have noticed is all the hate out there, whilst people are suffering. There is always someone out there willing to blame the lgbt community for the acts of nature. The sad truth is that whilst they are blaming others the fact that the weather has got progressively hotter over the past three decades and the hurricanes have got worst is overlooked and people who are different than themselves are used as scape goats.

What is also sad is that whilst the blame game is being played the people who need the help don’t get it or at the very least don’t recieve words of comfort from men of God who they look too. Instead they hear lies.

We need to ask ourselves how we can make the world a better place. We need to ask ourselves how we can help the people who need the help and stop hating on the minorities of the world.

I do hope that these churches who have been blaming the lgbt community for the hurricanes are in future shunned by their congregation and people find better ways to spend their ties in order to build new homes for the people who have lost everything and not bigger ones for their religious leaders.

I think the God most Christians believe in would like that. After all blaming the lgbt community does kind of insult those who are suffering right now and is no comfort at all.

Love is love.

27th August 2017

Over the past few weeks on the Pride matters time line there has been some input from a straight male, using phrases such as ‘wearing another gender’, referring to a young transgender male and other phrases, such as ‘it’s only feelings’ and ‘no true evidence’ when referring to sexuality.

Of cause his view is only opinion and not fact, but when making such comments everyone that does needs to be prepared for a reaction and if you are the first to attack others then you need to be prepared to defend yourself, not claiming victimisation.

A few days later I received an email from the same guy in question who ‘apologised’, of sorts, but clearly still didn’t understand that gender and sexuality is not up for negotiation or debate.

He, like many people don’t understand that being attracted to the same sex is as negotiable as being only attracted to red heads and how some of us feel inside about our gender is nothing anyone can understand fully who doesn’t feel the same.

Despite the viewpoint of a few people in power in America at the moment being transgender is not a mental illness. It is supported by many international health organisations and the UN, let alone the majority of Europe.

Unfortunately the clear far right rhetoric of the Trump administration is causing hatred and lies directed towards the trans part of our community. It is sad that a major western government could print a licence to abuse others as Trump’s government appears to be doing. It is sad that this evil train of thought is filtering itself out of America.

Of cause that’s my opinion and I am entitled to it.

It’s a part of freedom of speech, however there is no such thing as freedom of abuse. Sadly some feel that there is.

My good twitter friend @TJ_Knight pointed out a few days ago about a British programme that confronts internet trolls and how trolls react when confronted. Some people are confused what ‘difference of opinion’ is and what is abusive behaviour.

Don’t think that if you are open with your opinion others will not give their point of view. Equally don’t think it entitles you to become abusive, it doesn’t. Often abuse is only opinion with no facts that are supportive.

A great example is a private message I once received “There is a special place in hell for you!”

That is abusive opinion, with no clear fact.

I replied on this occasion “I hope it has air conditioning”. I can withstand this mild abuse, but many can’t and shouldn’t.

You have no right to say anything to anyone without excepting others will react to it.

It’s worth pointing out every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

1 in 4 lgb people attempt suicide, this doubles in the transgender community. It is not because they are ill, it is because of the abuse they face. You just have to look at the figures of hate crime towards the lgbt community to understand why these figures on suicide rates are so high.

Please, now take time out and think about what your opinion on Freedom of speech really takes away from others freedom to live with equal values to yourself. By all means exercise your freedom but not at the expense of others.

6th August 2017

It’s funny how every so often life reminds us of how close we are as individuals.

Recently it happened to me twice.

Once I was talking to someone I know through business who had been through grieving and she spoke to me about her experiences. If it was a game of snap each turn of the card would produce the desired results, like the pack hadn’t been shuffled too well.

Another time was when I read a forthcoming monologue out I’ve wrote for a theatre production, after a dozen ‘complete opposites’ were relating to a piece about prejudices. Everyone in the room from an OAP to a young mother with two kids could relate.

I’ve worked on Pride matters for a few years now and I see it all the time, often I write about it however to be sat in a room and ‘move’ partial strangers like that is ‘moving’.

Jo Cox words come to mind

So much unites us than devides us.

It can’t be said enough and neither can

Don’t judge the group, understand the individual.
Reach out to the person and learn more.
I recently read a rant from a trans person about people who identify as non binary but not trans.
Another from a black christain, local councillor/minister ranting about people who took part in Pride events are pedophiles. Thankfully she has now been suspended from the Labour party. Sure some people within our communities will be evil, and so some christain ministers too.
Evil is all around us but by pointing fingers at one group cloaks evil even more so and unfortunately innocents get hurt.
Look for the love not the hate, because love wins and hate will be exposed.

Sunday 17th July 2017
I had a good feeling this morning when I woke up about one of my all time favourite shows.

An alien with two hearts who could regenerate into humans, sometimes with a Scottish accent and flies around in a 1950’s blue telephone box was about to regenerate into a female. I just knew this would be the day.

For over two years I’d been writing about what this actually would mean and how much sense it would make. We need to remember how much Doctor who has done for the progressive viewers, especially in the last ten series.

We had the Pansexual Captain Jack, a few modern aliens here and there and of cause Bill in this last series. A black lesbian.

So is it a surprise that a few people are upset by a woman being cast in the role?

Some have been complaining that they don’t want their children to watch it, others how much it has spoilt the show, despite only a thirty second revealer being aired.

I very much doubt these people have seen the show since Slyvester McCoy doned question marks on his lapels or Tom Baker offered anyone a jelly baby.

The truth is we’ve all been drip fed this historic day over the past ten series. It was going to happen and isn’t a surprise or a threat to its regular viewers.

The sad truth is some people will never understand what this actually means to many women and girls across the world and frankly myself too who champions equality and diversity.

The reality is. It’s happening and it’s probably not a show aimed at you if you are one of the few that think it’s ruined Dr who forever.

Well done BBC on such a wise choice.

As for the ones that are enraged by a woman being casted in such a brilliant role. Get in you Tardis and go back to 1885.

Wednesday 5th July 2017

There seems to be a train of thought that suggests having laws that give the lgbt community equality is somehow giving our community an advantage.

Most people who read this blog will be recalling a time when they have come across this type of attitude.

The issue is simple, for the past two millennium in two thirds of the world homosexual acts have been condemned as sinful, gender identity also varies too, some cases worst than others.

Clearly the damage has been inherited. Some people are too straight and white to see what damage has been done.

They don’t want to even try to empathise why an employer needs to ensure their HR staff have to be trained and aware of lgbt related issues. They won’t understand how diverse the transgender community is, let alone realise subsets such as Agender, bigender and even intersex groups.

They blame liberals left thinking rather than realising that equality is more centre of politics and not left or right. All this and the call for heterosexual pride day or even human pride day proves how important the fight for equality is and to hammer home the message that all we want is the same as you.

They think having the same is somehow more, or having extra help to aid equality, such as trained staff is making us special cases when all it is doing is making us the same. It is sad that people still feel like this, what is even more upsetting is they can’t see that it is them who is taking away their own humanity, not us taking away their rights.

Perhaps one day they will look up at a Pride sign and see it doesn’t refer to being gay, straight, bi or trans but it simply says Happy Pride!

Everyone is welcome that believe in equality!

Wednesday 28th June 2017

Today is a rememberance day like no other. Today is the anniversary of Stonewall. In June 1969 an event happened that changed the world. I personally don’t think it was the start of the lgbt revolution because there were many fights before Stonewall but it was when the bottle broke and the revolution heated up.

Many homophobe will complain about the absence of straight pride and yet it’s almost a paradox that there wouldn’t be a lgbt pride if it wasn’t for homophobes.

So thank you for the need.

Seriously though, we need to continue the fight for more equality and more important the change of attitudes, if we don’t change the publics attitudes then there is always a chance that the laws we have fought for may crumble.

So fight on

Enjoy the rest of Pride Month.

Tuesday 27th June 2017

As children we are told many things that are contradictory or we are not listened to by the people saying these things and our feelings are over looked.

A little hypocritical at times.

Even more when they are the ones telling you to be yourself and then in your teens telling you that you can not be trans, Gay, bi, asexual or simply yourself they previously told you to be in the pursuit of happiness.

We want our future generations to be happy right?

How difficult is it to understand that lies hurt?

Pretending to be someone you are not goes against the grain of nature. Despite what others may think we all know nature rules over us. Perhaps it’s exactly that force of nature that we need to listen to rather than any book writen a few millennium ago.

I have nothing against people believing what they wish too, however I do take objection in people believing it’s OK to hurt others with their beliefs and how we feel.

Shouldn’t we be all respected?

When making laws shouldn’t people’s life choices be taken into account? Shouldn’t we all have the right to choose the life options we feel is a part of us and not feel forced into a life that would be depressing beyond belief for us?

As an example…..

to say you are too young to know your gender or sexuality to a youth is a lie, especially when you don’t say the same to an heterosexual teen. If an heterosexual knows their gender or sexuality then a lgbt person will.

Studies show that most of us know our gender or sexuality before we become teens.

By actually saying or believing that they don’t is a lie that hurts and often by proxy.

Imagine you say it round the dinner table then your heterosexual son repeats this lie to a questioning trans youth and they feel oppressed further.

The deep despair is real.

It isn’t caused by their gender or sexuality but the very lie you passed on.

A little under fifty percent of trans teens attempt suicide.

LGBTQIA youths are only confused because of the challenges and oppression they still face and there is strong evidence that the less oppression and bullying they face the more likely it serves our society much better in preventing mental illness and less suicides (murders by proxy) .

Is it time that you took responsibility and curbed your speech, or perhaps at the very least stop shoving your heterosexuality down the throats of others?

My second point is linked…..

I saw a news bulletin where the head of the DUP claimed that her party was not homophobic but simply equality in marriage is strongly against their beliefs. If they were not homophobic then they would respect the beliefs of others and end the veto in Northern Ireland.

Clearly making my point.

Lies hurt and often kill.

Friday 23rd June 2017

I have just listened to my interview with @SUGPodcast and it is pretty good. He was very good with the questions and I guess people will understand myself more and my intentions.

I made a couple of errors, nothing too major. The program Dustin Lance Black created was called When we rise.

Also my novel is more fiction than non fiction. It’s more based on life experiences than life, the charaters are a mash up of people I have come across and myself of course. A close friend said she couldn’t help feel the narrator was myself, I see myself in all three of the main charaters. There is an element of mystery about it too. It’s based in a made up town on the edge of sherwood, so it needs that in it in my opinion. I guess the small towns round here are mashed up in it too. Anyway more of that in 2045 once it is completed.

There appears to be a little interference in it part way through, bear with it as it does clear.

I love some feedback as I think my interview technique is lame, but we are our own worst critiques.

The Straight Up Gay Podcast: Episode 22 – Darren from Pride Matters:

Thursday 22nd June 2017

Not really totally lgbt related but I felt I should make some points I feel.

Money is power and power is money.

It is a fact of life and you don’t have to look far through the papers to see how evident it is. Just look at the shocking events at Grenfell Tower and how the poorest residents of the richest borough in the country were ignored for too long. Many people should be hold accountable now and an enquiry into the way councils are ran taken into consideration too.

Often we are over looked by political dogma within the LGBT community, until we start fighting back. We all owe it to ourselves to fight for justice, be it Grenfell or our movement.

Lets face it we have some feisty experts with awesome skills.

There is so much you can do in order to achieve justice, if you fight for the poor or if you fight for lgbtqia rights. It doesn’t matter who you fight for as long as you have passion in your hearts.

Take a few moments out to think about the fallen at the hands of injustice and ask how you can make the world a better place. It’s irrelevant if it’s a lgbtqia charity or a tragedy it all amounts to the same. The truth is because of the hardships the LGBTQIA community have face we tend to be compassionate people, we know we can make a difference.

We can make the world a better place.

My heart goes out to the poorer residents of the borough and my anger to the people in power.

I strongly suggest if you afford to give to the crowdfunding efforts, please do so. These people need our love right now.

Help raise £2000000 to Help the families of Grenfell Tower, West London who ha.. Please #donate on @justgiving and RT

Monday 12 th June 2017
Today marks the first year since a lone gun man chose a gay bar in Orlando and shot dead 49 innocent victims. We need to reflect and fight against the hate in this world, because there is far too much. Since Orlando there has been too much hate that has caused death because of ignorance and beliefs of others. I’m not just referring to the recent attacks on my country or the rest of Europe but the attacks that are stealth in comparison.

The ones that can kill people by proxy, the others that appear to be endorsed by belief but if anyone is hurting others with a book then they are not reading it right.

We may not win the war tommorow but if enough of us fight for peace, love and understanding one day love will win.

Only today I was informed of a Facebook page that was truly homophobic but the author felt as though it is his mission and his duty to God to tell people they are sinning simply because they are lgbtqia.

It may be open for criticism and controversial but there is a connection in my eyes between such accounts and attacks on innocent people. Hate is hate just as love is love.

I like to reflect on how others feel all the time but I don’t understand the mindset of someone who thinks it’s OK to enforce their beliefs on others telling them they will go to hell. I know one thing for sure evil towards others is not an angelic move.

We need to spread love and understanding, something I set up Pride matters to do. I need more helpers so if you wish to get involved please do and help in this fight for love.

Some things we won’t be able to stop but others we can fight for.

Remember the fallen but fight for those who are rising.

Sunday 11 th June 2017

This morning a tweet surfaced about something that Ellen DeGeneres once said.

A tweet that sums up my feelings but in ways doesn’t go far enough in my view.

“Do we have to know who’s gay and who’s straight? Can’t we just love everybody and judge them by the cars they drive?” – Ellen DeGeneres

Although I agree with the fact we don’t need to know others gender or sexuality at all times, and we shouldn’t need to know anything any of the individual at all.

We should never need to know anything about them unless of course it is hurting them or others.

Who care what car you are driving and who cares who you are sleeping with!

While you are judging something so trivial something more important is being missed.

Love and acceptance.

We do however need to keep the conversation going about gender and sexuality, something many who read this brilliant meeme may fail to understand.

It’s not important to know where or how someone fits, but they have a space and we need to focus on how human it is to be diverse.

Often people are judged because they are different.

I remember at school that we all wore uniforms and the debate on wearing them broke out. One thing that was suggested that children from poorer backgrounds would be judged and maybe bullied if they didn’t have the latest brands.

People automatically judge instantly and this is the real issue. Not that you have a label but what it stands for.

I was bullied at school, not because I was gay but because I had ginger hair and a speech impediment. Both are my greatest assets today. My childhood speech impediment taught me so much about determination and how painful it can be to be judged. If you ever get the opportunity to hear my vioce you would hardly notice it was there.

However people judge others for even having the wrong car or not having a car at all. Perhaps it should be judging others that aren’t really hurting anyone that should change, not how we identify ourselves.

Wednesday 7th June 2017

Tommorow us Brits are back off to the polls. It seems that we keep turning up there and moving further away from a unified outcome, only returning again with more political unrest.

What was certain eight weeks ago doesn’t seem so certain today.

I did ask recently on our twitter feed if the followers sexuality and gender influenced your party support. Over sixty percent said yes.

I wish I could go back in time and do the same poll twenty or thirty years ago when Section 28 was one of many obstacles in the way of the LGBTQIA community.

When youths couldn’t find comfort or information to protect their sexuality or gender and even find solace in education. I think the results would have been different.

The truth is, we are moving towards more equality and understanding than ever, despite the set backs from both the far right and the left, whilst I’m stuck in the middle with you.

We are winning. Although not won. So much needs to be done.

So who would be the best party to vote for in regards of sexuality and gender issues?

Back when May entered parliament she voted against any issues that favoured lgbtqia rights and when the tied began to turn she turned also.

The conservatives have still got that old school element about them in fractions that raise their ugly heads and makes decisions that as individuals are considered to be of a more Thatcher government. We need to remember that May also is in favour of scraping ECHR which the LGBTQIA community has used to its advantage over the years.

Farron, the leader of the Lib Dems refused until forced to make a statement to make his views on homosexuality being a sin or not, despite the Lib Dems always being a party with many lgbtqia followers it still affects people’s view. We need to add to this the recent gay water outburst from one candidate to their list of Black marks too.

There is no point in mentioning ukip’s many quips on sexuality and gender as I haven’t the time to list them all. Despite their stance on many things I’m assured they have lgbtqia members. Just like the conservatives have a lesbian cabinet minister and Lib dems and labour and…..

Well you get the picture!

On the fairness of party politics, let’s talk about choices!

Cobyn made a speech recently that at the end used the phrase choice, as though someone chooses to be gay, bi, trans, even intersex, or not feel sexual attraction at all. This was a speech not a adhoc quip. I’m amused and concerned noone picked him up on it at some point prior. It’s almost as bad a holding the lgbt flag upside down.

However we all have choices and we all have a choice to vote and who to vote for!

For the first time I can remember I don’t feel that I will choose to vote on who is bad for the LGBTQIA community because compared to the conservatives in the 1980’s who are to blame for alot of heart ache and lost of lives I think they are all as bad, or as good as each other right now.

I also feel it’s time to vote for who would serve us all equally as a part of the British Isles (or at least your part).

I also feel the most important thing to do is get out their and vote!

Monday 5th June 2017

Working on Pride matters my eyes are wide open to internal anti lgbtqia sentiment and criticism. Only today I noticed on one of my time lines someone attacking another group as a whole for their ignorance towards their own group. I get it! I really do, but equally the attacking of others is not going to solve the issue.

There is enough hatred in the world without adding to it!

Ask yourself will complaining about others solve the issue of internal ignorance?

Answer: No!

It will only give you high blood pressure.

The reason I set up Pride Matters was to help to unite at least a little part of the community. Every spare moment I have, which is becoming less and less by the day because of personal commitments is spent working with all parts of the community to try and find ways to give them voices. It is hard at times but along with many people’s help I and others work away.

Some volunteers are more vocal than others, and some only whisper ideas to me, or advice. Others are extremely creative. They ethier write or design or simply come up with new concepts. A close friend of mine who is a bisexual male works on the proofing and editing. Another who is a transgender female puts the wordings on all our cards and writes articles too. We even have a trans support group now. They all help out and give direction too. Any article that is writen about or is for a certain group is by that group or has involved that group in order to give them voices too. Naturally not everyone will agree with the opinion of others but it is someone’s opinion nonetheless. So if you feel the urge to moan about another part of the community can I simply ask you a simple question.

What are you doing to bring us all closer together?

If you want to get involved with what we do to spread more love within our community contact me on @Mattersofpride on twitter or send an email to

Above: one of our original cards.