What you can do
Come Out For LGBT - Jake Graf and Linda Riley

Jake Graf

WRITER, DIRECTOR & ACTOR 

It’s important for me to see the ‘T’ in LGBT properly included, and I feel strongly that there is strength in unity. I work as a patron for the Mermaids Charity, which helps trans children. You hear such horror stories – 11-year-old girls having air guns shot at them, other parents screaming abuse at kids on the school run just for being trans.

There is still so much stigma around dating a trans person, and suicide rates within the trans community are through the roof. There’s a long way left to go.

There is still so much stigma around dating a trans person, and suicide rates within the trans community are through the roof. 

Having people showing you support is so important. When I was younger I went to a school with a serious bullying problem. I had known I was a boy from the age of about 3 or 4. I’d always had really short hair, and looked different. When I went into the girls’ toilet, the girls would all shout at me, or call a teacher. The same happened in the boys' toilet. Occasionally a teacher would notice, and if they were kind and a little more enlightened, they'd let me use the teachers’ toilet. It happened a couple of times over the 12 years that I was there, and meant that I had a safe space for that year.

Standing up for someone in even a simple way can have an effect that will echo on down and stay with us for many years to come.

If there are people out there who feel worried about getting it wrong if they try and visibly support a trans person who needs it, I’d say, 'Don’t be'. It’s important to realise that keeping quiet and not being true to your views is doing us a huge disservice. We appreciate your support. Standing up for someone in even a simple way can have an effect that will echo on down and stay with us for many years to come.

It's often those experiences that give us the strength to hold our heads up high, and feel not quite so alone.

Jake Graf (left of image)