The cloudy skies parted and the warm sunshine shone for the Gay Forum’s trip to the bustling city by the sea, Brighton. As well as an enjoyable excursion to the South coat seaside, the main purpose of our visit was to meet the city’s equivalent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender mental health group, Mind Out.
Seven of us from the Thanet and Ashford gay groups took the train across the Romney Marsh and after glimpsing Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne, arriving in Brighton at lunchtime. We were warmly welcomed at the station by Helen, the Mind Out facilitator, and introduced to members Chris, Steve, Martin and Peter, before making our way via the quirky shops of the North Laine area to the seafront for a delicious meal in the chilled-out setting of the Charles Street Bar. Refreshed, our hosts guided us through the “gay village” of St James Street before we embraced the quintessential fun and frolics of the Pier. We rounded off our trip with a coffee and a meander through the tranquil green oasis of the Royal Pavilion gardens.
It was really good to meet the members of Mind Out, and our thanks go to them, to Helen, and to our facilitator Maggie for making it all possible. We hope they’ll come and visit us before too long, and hopefully next year, we’ll visit them again. The charity Anxiety-UK recently announced they have found “People from LGBT communities often face discrimination and mental-health services, so it is hardly surprising that they are at higher risk of suffering with an anxiety disorder”. Fortunately for us, Rethink’s Gay Forum and the Mind Out project offer support, friendship and activities which help to reduce feelings of isolation and to raise confidence and self-esteem. Mind Out will be having a stall at Thanet Pride on Margate Seafront on Saturday18th July, and Gay Forum will be attending – whatever your sexuality, you’re most welcome to come and join us.