Take pride in who you are
Written by Jessica Bomford, June 7, 2023
Mark Ward has been the Haemophilia Society’s LGBT Ambassador since 2019 and works within our community and beyond to challenge discrimination and celebrate diversity.
As part of Pride Month 2023, Mark reaches out to anyone with a bleeding disorder who is feeling isolated or confused about wanting same sex relationships.
‘Are you feeling lonely, anxious or embarrassed? Do you feel like the only person with a bleeding disorder who thinks about, has had or wants to have same sex relationships? It can be really hard to overcome the pressure of labels which society imposes on us.
You might have questions about your sexuality which you don’t feel comfortable talking about with your haemophilia centre staff. Perhaps you’d like to talk to someone who really understands how frightening and confusing life can be for an LGBT person with a bleeding disorder?
Well, you are certainly not alone.
Together, here at the Haemophilia Society (THS) we are building an equal and accepting future for everyone in our community, which includes you.
‘Today there are so many opportunities for everyone with a bleeding disorder. Use this Pride Month to celebrate who you really are and start living the life you were meant to have.’
For decades people with disabilities, including those within the bleeding disorder community, have been subjected to offensive behaviour and attitudes, including intimidation, homophobia and discrimination. Whilst change doesn’t happen overnight it begins with education, confronting all forms of discrimination and focusing on people rather than conditions.
It is also recognised that fears about sex, sexuality and haemophilia terribly affected information provided during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Sadly the shadow of stigma and outdated attitudes towards HIV still influences the manner in which the subject of sexuality is dealt with today.
Things are changing and you have already taken the first step towards combating those negative feelings and by seeking out some answers to your questions.
I’ve been a member of THS for more than 25 years. Like so many of my generation, I was infected with HIV and hepatitis C through the contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s. Back then, my haemophilia nurse told me that I was the only person with haemophilia who was gay, and it was a lonely time, trying to find my place in the community.
I don’t want anyone else to suffer in the same way, which is why I’ve campaigned around the world to get justice for those infected by the contaminated blood scandal as well as raising awareness about living with HIV, equality and diversity.
Today there are so many opportunities for everyone with a bleeding disorder. Use this Pride Month to celebrate who you really are and start living the life you were meant to have.’
You can contact Mark in complete confidence at: [email protected]