Twins Max & Maya Price are both LGBTQ+ and grew up in a rural village in the West Midlands, knowing that not only were they different from the majority of their peers but that their ‘difference’ to many was an unacceptable part of themselves. They were told this by their church, the media, their school and by some members of their family.
With time, they both realised that they had internalised all those negative messages about being LGBTQ+ which in turn had had a hugely damaging effect on their mental health.
Inspired by these experiences- the twins set up Proud2Be in 2011 by launching this campaign and in a short time gained endorsements from LGBTQ+ activists internationally for being “inclusive, intersectional, challenging, supportive and genuinely welcoming”.
In 2012, Proud2Be held several focus groups and identified that LGBTQ+ people living in Devon felt that there were significant issues around lack of support and social and rural isolation.
These findings were echoed in ‘Out’ in the country? by Equality South West, 2012 that found:
“One effect of living in a sparsely populated area is that in general there are too few ‘out’ LGBTQ+ people within close enough proximity to each other to form viable local social and support networks. Rural isolation can be particularly acute for single LGBTQ+ people, and even more so for younger people who especially need support. The social and individual cost of dealing with the extreme effects of social isolation include self-harm, suicide attempts and long-term incapacity.”
In response to these findings, Proud2Be launched a monthly social in a small coffee shop in Totnes, Devon. The rest they say is history.
To find out how you can be part of the Proud2Be story, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0333 772 1187.