Neil was born in Lancashire, and now lives and works in London as a freelance Hairstylist and Make-up Artists. He is currently studying the art of performance, trampolining and science of the mind. He lives for each day, loves beautiful places filled with life, and dreams of returning home, to a 1977 International 31ft Airstream Trailer, parked by a lake.
In his own words:
Why did you want to tell your story in ‘Love Me As I Am‘?
There were only two very thin books on the Sex Education shelf in my school library. During a time when I was desperate for information, support and answers in my life, those two books were much too ‘technical’. At that stage, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. Reading those books made me feel that something was wrong with me, and that I should get medical advice as soon as possible.
I was very confused and scared, and had no-one to talk to… let alone love me for who I was. I know now, what would’ve helped and inspired me, back then, are real life stories, like the ones shared in ‘Love Me As I Am‘. When I heard about this project, I instantly thought it was a great idea; another book in the gay section of bookshops, or in any library is a step forward to create more awareness and understanding. This book will make an exceptional addition in schools and educational centres around the UK.
I hope that my letter and story will help make a difference in the lives of many gay men out there, who need the comfort of knowing that they are perfectly alright just the way they are; that it’s OK to feel the way they do and that they are not sick, bad, wrong, disgusting or weird.
I trust that each story in ‘Love Me As I Am‘ will encourage the reader and expand their minds to appreciate, respect and love ‘the gay boy’ in the room.
How did sharing your story impact your life?
I was apprehensive and unsure about what might come from sharing my story in such a public way. I haven’t really ever spoken so openly and frankly about my childhood experiences. However, I believe the only way to make changes in our lives, is by changing the way we do things.
My story is about the effects of being ignored, teased and put down mentally and emotionally — sometimes subtly and sometimes not; being made to believe that I must simply accept ‘things the way they are’. When, in fact, things were damn unacceptable. As a result, my family and some of my friends have always known me as the quiet and shy guy.
However, recently I realised that this is not entirely true… For most of my life I behaved in this way, because I was ‘programmed’ to do so. When, in fact, it is not who I truly am. Telling my story reminded me the truth I carry inside me: I am a kind, compassionate and loving human being, and I am allowed to share my love with another human being.