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‘We’re disproportionately f**ked by austerity’ – queer working class people share their stories

Six queer people share their stories in the December issue of Attitude.

By Will Stroude

White, well-off and middle class – this is the gay stereotype peddled by the media for straight audiences.

The multi-faceted reality of the LGBT+ community – the working class, black, and trans – is all too often airbrushed out. 

In the December issue of Attitude – available to download and to order globally now – we hear the stories those who continue to slip through the cracks in Britain in 2018. This is John’s story…

I wasn’t born in England, but my mum moved from Estonia when I was young and raised me in Bristol.

I had some good experiences there, especially as I got older and started interacting with the LGBT+ community more, but I can’t really discount the racism I experienced because I grew up in a really white and isolated area. The microaggressions really fucked me up for a while.

Photography: Markus Bidaux

Moving to London for uni was a big culture shock — we lived there for maybe a year after moving from Estonia, but that was before Oyster cards. I like it, actually. I’m a gay who doesn’t drive, so it’s nice that I can actually get places!

Being a working-class student in London is terrible; you have to deal with agencies and guarantor schemes, which can fuck you over. I know people who’ve ended up homeless because of them.

On the other hand, I know students whose parents pay for their rent; middle-class students have that luxury, whereas working-class students face constant stress. You feel like if you stop you just won’t be able to afford to live.

Photography: Markus Bidaux

I do love it here, though — I feel like I’ve found my tribe. Queer working-class people only really get ‘charity case representation’ — usually they want put-together, middle-class LGBT+ people who aren’t living from pay cheque to pay cheque.

We are really visible in activism — there’s a huge history of queer solidarity groups and more recent groups like Sisters Uncut, which are amazing.

We’ve been protesting for a long time, and even now we’re being disproportionately shafted by austerity and fucked by rising house prices. When are we going to get a seat at the table?

Read more about the issues affecting queer working class people in the December issue of Attitude, out now.

Buy now and take advantage of our best-ever subscription offers: 3 issues for £3 in print, 13 issues for £19.99 to download to any device.