Andrew is a successful business man in the IT industry. He loves world opera, culture, Bentleys, philosophy, skiing & scuba, fun clubs. He runs many diverse projects and spends 20% of the year travelling the world. He lived with his first partner for 27 years until his sudden, shattering death. After the passing of his first partner, Andrew challenged the homophobic inheritance laws in the Strasburg Human Rights Court and the UK, and won. He is now married to his lawyer for 5 years.
In his own words:
What are the three key things you’ll say to help a young gay man on his journey moving forward?
You are not alone. Seek out others and discuss your concerns. I’ve been through most things in life and am now unshockable; ask me any questions you want and I will answer them honestly, but don’t blindly accept what I say. Speak to others and then make up your own mind. People are very similar but also very diverse. For any question there are an infinite number of wrong answers but almost always a large number of correct ones. Find the correct one that is right for you.
Where and when you encounter homophobia, be it family, acquaintances or colleagues, brush it aside. Remember a healthy well-adjusted straight man would welcome lots of gay men around as it removes the competition, there’s more women for him. Most homophobic men are suppressed homosexuals (eg caused by religious indoctrination), who’ve had gay experiences or desires that make them feel guilty. Their homophobia is an attempt to put people off their track. This fact is supported by research. Put another way “the lady doth protest too much methinks”!
Love yourself… and treat others as you would want to be treated, as in the end that’s what happens. If you are lucky in life you will live for 1,000 months, that’s all we have, and a third of those you will be asleep… many of these months have passed by already. In reality, if you think about, we all only have a few months left to live. So don’t prevaricate or waste time. Go out and do it, be sensible and if you make mistakes that’s fine too. It’s better to have loved and lost than to never love at all.
Do you think a book like ‘Love Me As I Am’ would’ve helped you in the challenges you faced as a gay teenager?
Yes it would have been phenomenally helpful. At 16, I was tremendously ignorant of how the world worked. I knew no other gay people. I did not even know what gay was. A book like this, would have shown me that I was not alone, that others were struggling to come to terms with similar issues. I would have discovered ways to get in touch with people and organisations to help me on my feet and to help me discover that I am an ok person, and to see the diversity of people and realise there is more than one ‘correct’ way to live one’s life.