It's just a preference

Darren Siah, 23, Weybridge

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From the outside everything seems fine.

We now have equal marriage.

We are now more visible than ever.

We are now able to adopt children, start our own families, and get on with our happy lives.

But the biggest problem is thinking that the work is done. That there is nothing left to fight for anymore.

There is a huge problem with internalised prejudice amongst gay men within the LGBT community. Go on any gay dating app and what do you see? No blacks, no Fems, no Asians.

These terms are used widely by some gay men to express their personal preferences. But it’s OK, because if you’re gay it’s not racist or homophobic to say these things. It’s just “a preference”.

Imagine walking into a restaurant that had a sign above it saying “no homosexuals – sorry – it’s just a preference.” How would that make you feel? Would you think that, that was acceptable? Not long ago – this type of behaviour actually existed. It was part of our gay history.

You say it’s “just a preference,” but you’re preferences reinforce the idea that to be an attractive gay man, you need be either white or masculine. The power of our community lies in standing together, lifting each other up rather than holding each other down.

Creating true equality comes from accepting all ethnicities, all looks, all voices and body types – and not just the ones that you see fit. We have two different alternatives.

We can choose to move forwards, rectify the way we think about subtle prejudices, and create a kinder and more accepting community. Or, we can keep things how they are.

I know what my preference is. What’s yours? 

Darren is a member of our Young Leaders programme. The Almeida Young Leaders is a scheme giving young people with something vital to say the tools and platform to do so. Each young leader has been mentored by a writer and director to develop their ideas, structuring a speech and skills in public speaking.