The perfect place for a photo opportunity on our ‘honeymoon’

‘I’m still strangely excited about being married.’ Not my words, but those of one of my oldest friends who married his long-term partner just a few weeks ago. Theirs, he said, was not a wedding. Just a signing on the dotted line before they whisked each other away for a few days.

When my husband and I married a year ago, the same friend was there as my witness. Ours was a wedding, albeit not a big one. We made a day of it and what a day it was. The stars aligned, the sun shone. It was, everyone who…


In Angus Wilson’s 1964 novel, Late Call, Ray, the grandson of its hero, Sylvia Calvert, is a gay man. Wilson was one of Britain’s first openly gay writers. I was 14 when the novel was serialised on television in 1975.

One scene, in particular, left a lasting impression on me because it was so rare in those days. In it, Ray is dancing in the living room of the family home with another man. In my memory at least the room is dimly lit as if nobody should be looking. …


Stephen would call me at home in Hackney from a telephone box deep in west Wales in the mid-1980s. He had been given my number by London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for whom I’d agreed to be a referral point on employment issues.

Stephen worked in an abattoir. His colleagues had discovered he was gay and he was being bullied. Not the occasional taunt or a bit of teasing — though neither would have been acceptable — but serious mental and physical harassment. On a daily basis. …


Photo by Abel Y Costa on Unsplash

‘The season’s over now,’ said the flight attendant as we were about to board the Silver Line to Seaport Boulevard on our arrival in Boston in late September last year. ‘But if you want to party you should definitely try the Tea Dance at the Boatslip Beach Club’. We were heading to Provincetown, on Cape Cod, and we recognised him from the plane we’d just travelled on from London.

After checking which bus we should catch to the ferry terminal, we asked him where we might go while we were in Provincetown. He wasn’t short of suggestions, but they all…


Photo by Chris Flexen on Unsplash

I was in the gym when it happened, about 20k into a 35k ride on a Wattbike. Since my knees started playing havoc in 2018, I have had to make do with two wheels. Outdoors is okay but the indoor version is mind-numbing. I need all the distraction and inspiration I can muster.

Yesterday, it came, unusually, in the form of an election result. The brilliant, indefatigable Pam Duncan-Glancy had been elected to the Scottish Parliament on the Glasgow list for Labour. In doing so she became the first wheelchair user to be an MSP.

I had torn myself away…


Photo by Thomas Mills on Unsplash

‘A new dawn has broken, has it not?’ I remember that dawn and the speech — but I wasn’t there to hear it. I had left the Festival Hall shortly before Tony Blair arrived. As I said good morning to the night and headed away from the revelry, I had another new horizon on my mind. At the age of 36, I was going to meet my mother for the first time the very next day.

Looking back, it seems like an absurd clash of personal and political priorities. I had spent the previous month working 12-hour days at Walworth…


The houses are all gone under the sea. The dancers are all gone under the hill.’

East Coker, The Four Quartets. T S Eliot

In the beginning, I sobbed. At the denouement, I howled. I cry routinely at the telly. But this was different. These tears came not just from shallow, passing sentiment but deep, permanent scarring. A place beyond the space between remembering and forgetting. Not just of grief, but shame.

When my partner and our friends died, a part of me went with them. Under the sea, under the hill — to a place I thought was the…


A 1985 protest in New York City. Source: https://mashable.com/2016/10/26/aids-epidemic-study/

Russell T Davies’ forthcoming series on Channel 4, It’s a Sin, could not be timelier. This is NOT the first plague in living memory. We have been here before.

For almost a year, I have bored anyone who would listen about the relentless familiarity of the current pandemic’s lexicon. The resonances we have repeatedly tripped over. I am not about to let up. And yet the arrival of It’s a Sin has stopped me in my tracks. I am impatient for it but pulsating with apprehension.

I cannot think of safer hands for a small screen AIDS drama to be…


Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

“I’ve asked so many people if they know anyone who has had Covid. Hardly anyone. Two people knew someone (not close) who’d died. Without daily news would we even know there was an epidemic?”

I don’t know which world Allison Pearson inhabits. I’m sure, once upon a time, it collided with mine as the viewer of a late-night chat show about art and poetry. Nice stuff. I’m not usually given to calling out individuals, either. Nor piling on. Nor responding to clickbait on Twitter or anywhere else.

But I live in this world. A world where this year, 60,000 people…


Photo by Sergey mikheev on Unsplash

“I guess the last lesson I’ve learned as an AIDS activist and the hardest one to learn, is that fights are never won. They just go on and on. They are. And yet they must be fought. They must, must, still, continually, and forever, be fought. Over and over and over, they must be fought.”

Almost the final words from Larry Kramer’s updated and expanded Reports from the holocaust: the story of an AIDS activist, published in 1994. And then the book’s parting shot: “I’ll think of ways to continue to raise hell.”

He did too. The man who had…

Chris Creegan

Chair @SAMHtweets, Non Exec @socsecscot & runner @EdinburghAC, Views my own

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