Regular readers will know the story of Bournemouth mum Mena Houghton, who we’ve featured several times over the last few years. Her story is painful. Her son Mark was bullied because he was gay. As is so common, his self-esteem plummeted and he ended up addicted to hard drugs, which he used to dull the pain of what he had been through. Both Mena and Mark fought valiantly for him to overcome his problem but addiction is powerful and affects even the strongest people in our society. In May 2010 Mark was found dead in his flat from an unintentional overdose of heroin. He was just 27.
Mena Houghton is a shy lady but since Mark died she has written to schools, MPs, to the Prime Minister, to anyone who might listen to her message that, even though it is so much better than it has been, there is still a great deal of unchallenged homophobia in classrooms up and down the country. She is still going into schools today. She refuses to let it go and Mark, we’re sure, would be immensely proud of her.
It is Mena’s courage and tenacity that has inspired this new event, and the Attitude Pride Awards, presented with Delta Air Lines, are dedicated to the memory of Mark Houghton.
You can read more about Mena and the rest of our wonderful Attitude Pride Award winners in the new issue of Attitude, in shops now. You can download the mag from Pocketmags.com/Attitude or order a copy from newsstand.co.uk/Attitude.