As part of a new campaign to raise awareness of homelessness in the LGBT community, Pride in London visitors were asked to suggest what to put into a Coming Out bag... however, the reality of what was in the bag hit hard.
The contents of the rainbow-strewn drawstring bag include a sleeping bag, a woolly hat and warm socks instead of the celebratory items people suggested such as confetti, glitter and bottles of champagne.
The Coming Out Kit, created by AMV BBDO, aims to highlight a shocking statistic: one in four homeless people in the UK identify as LGBTIQ+.
Gina Kelly and Olga Pope, the creatives behind the idea, said: “Pride in London has come and gone, but not everyone could go home afterwards. As well as celebrating the achievements of the movement, we need to acknowledge that too many people still end up on the street just for being who they are.”
Each of the items in the Coming Out Kit is emblazoned with a quote from an LGBTIQ+ person telling their story, such as: “My first same-sex relationship turned violent and there was no refuge to go to”; “I spoke to my boss about being bullied since coming out as trans. He told me to 'man up' and laughed”.
These stories show some of the reasons why this community is at a greater risk of homelessness, from family rejection and domestic violence to work discrimination and sexual exploitation.
The good news is, the UK's first crisis shelter and community centre for vulnerable LGBTIQ+ people will soon be launching in London.
Set up by The Outside Project, in partnership with Stonewall Housing and funded by the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, the centre will offer 24/7 support for those who need it most: people who feel endangered, who are homeless and are affected by the lack of LGBTIQ+ appropriate refuge and shelter accommodation across London.
Alongside the shelter, the community centre will host pop-up businesses and services and a co-working space.
The Outside Project is an independent grassroots organisation offering support and accommodation to LGBTIQ+ people who are in a crisis or have lost their homes through family rejection, hate crime, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, lack of specialist services and other issues.
As well as the online film, the campaign includes a website, comingoutkit.com, which shows the kit and all of its depressing contents. You can’t buy the kit, of course: it shouldn’t even have to exist.
After reading the quotes and facts on the site, you can help The Outside Project by donating to, or volunteering with, the organisation, or even hosting someone in a crisis.
Carla Ecola, The Outside Project founder and director, said: “The Coming Out Kit demonstrates the unique and additional struggles faced by our community that lead to crisis and homelessness.
"Thank you to the artists, activists, sector and LGBTIQ+ homeless community for inputting to the development of the project.
"We are currently looking for an appropriate space and additional funding for this innovative and much needed project to begin.”
Watch the moving video below: