Life Hacks and A Gay & A NonGay have answered your mental health and LGBT questions
If you’ve ever had a burning question about relationships, growing up LGBT, coming out, or simply navigating your way through the world, Life Hacks and A Gay & A NonGay are here to help.
On some special, collaborative podcasts, James and Dan have teamed up with life advice expert Dr Radha to give listeners the advice they need.
Who are A Gay & A NonGay?
James Barr is a gay, Dan Hudson is a non-gay. Together, they have been sharing their different perspectives on the UK's #1 LGBT+ podcast A Gay & A NonGay, where no topic is off limits.
Here are some of the big questions they’ve been answering, and some of the lessons we’ve learned so far:
Loving yourself is "the most important thing"
"How do we love ourselves?" James asked Dr Radha in episode one.
The most important thing is to love yourselfDr Radha
"The most important thing is to love yourself," she replied. "I'm a big believer in affirmation – statements that you say to yourself. So if you catch yourself saying something negative in your head, try to replace it with something positive. If you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, say something nice in your head. A lot of people 'poo-poo' these ideas, thinking that's so out there. But it's so important.
"It's a habit. Every day you have to commit to it. You just need to keep going until it becomes the norm, rather than that negative voice you've had in your head since you were little."
It's something that can take years to take effect (a "lifelong process," says Radha), but it's a massive step in improving self-belief and mental health.
Sexual consent in LGBT+ spaces isn't black-and-white
According to the Gay Times, 62% of British gay guys have been touched or groped in a bar without consent.
On episode four of their podcasts, James said he wasn't surprised by this statistic. “In my head, that’s just normal gay culture. We go out and get touched up, and touch other people. I know this sounds terrible but I’ve never considered whether I’m okay with it or not. I’ve been made to believe it’s normal."
Dan gave a recent anecdote that sheds light on a complicated issue: “I went on a night out to a LGBT place and I found it so uncomfortable. People wouldn’t stop touching me, it was horrible. But equally, I’m not gay and I was in their space, so should I expect this?”
Sandra, a solicitor on the show, confirmed that Dan’s account would be classified as sexual assault. “If you are attending somewhere so specific that by going there you have given consent, then fine. But a nightclub, just because it’s LGBT, would not be specific consent.” If you’re in this situation and feel uncomfortable, always report to venue staff.
Straight people have a lot of work to do
In episode two, Dr Radha asked James if he could give a message to all the straight people in the room, and to those listening in.
Don’t make gay people a joke – everJames Barr
His response: “Don’t make gay people a joke – ever.”
“We should just be like everybody else," he argued. "When I went on a stag do," he remembered, "these guys bought me a feather boa and called me ‘Gay Bar’.” He was okay with it at the time, “because it’s normal, I get it all the time." But that doesn't make it okay.
Camp characters in the media are often portrayed by gay men, which perpetuates jokes and stereotypes around LGBT+ people. But James argues it was a necessary step. “It’s helped make us less scary. Camp people on television were perceived to be more ‘safe’. We’re not a threat to someone’s masculinity if we’re feminine. They’ve got the power still.”
Now it's time for attitudes to move on.