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Harry Gay: Outside Project Campaigns Manager & Queer House Party DJ | Podcast Interview Transcript

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Harry [00:00:00] So my name is Harry Gay. I am an activist, campaigner, a community organiser, and occasional DJ. But we're here today to talk about the Outside Project and I've been volunteering with them since 2017, and a paid member of staff as a support worker and their campaigns manager for a year and a half now.

Rena [00:00:40] The Outside Project is an organisation doing fantastic work on a number of levels. We met Harry Gay, a community activist who has previously worked with refugees and in local action groups.

Homelessness has been a long-neglected problem for decades. Cuts to social services and growing inequalities have seen numbers rise. Yet the Coronavirus pandemic prompted funding from national and local government as it became imperative for the population to stay indoors.

Yet, as we discussed, questions remain. What will happen beyond the pandemic? What about the hidden homeless? And if funding could be made available now, why was more not being done to house homeless people or to tackle the issues that see people pushed to the fringes of society?

In this episode, Harry also discusses the particular challenges to the LGBTIQ+ community, which led to the founding of the Outside Project. Discrimination in the home is a particular consequence of homophobia and LGBTIQ+ people face further challenges in accessing services.

As well as being a campaigner, Harry is a DJ. As Pride celebrations take place in new and reinvigorated forms around the world, we talk to Harry about the Queer House Party, which he set up online with DJ friends to bring people together in these uncertain times.

[00:02:04] This is Future Heist, conversations with people making change. My name is Rena Niamh Smith

Rena [00:00:21] So the Outside Project was launched at Pride in 2017 by volunteers from the homeless sector to create an LGBTIQ+ plus shelter and community centre. Can you tell us the story of you getting involved?

Harry [00:00:34] Yeah, of course. I think I'm first going to quickly just talk about the project because I wasn't there right from the beginning. So in 2017, our director, Carla, they were working in the homeless sector and they were seeing lots of people not accessing services, basically because of their identity. And this is to do with a mistrust with mainstream services, and that's in terms of staff. But then sometimes with problems with other guests. So it was just seeing lots of people that weren't accessing the services that they need to get themselves housing. So that that was it.

And I remember the day - it was Deptford Pride in 2017, and at the time I was a youth worker and the Outside Project, Carla and Lake, I didn't know at the time, they had a little stand raffling off stuff, trying to raise awareness of money - just before there was even a shelter. It was right at the beginning. And I went straight up to them. I was I'm a youth worker, I want to be involved. And they were like, there's no project here! And then a few weeks later, I was also working in a bar and they came in because there was a fundraiser for them, and straightaway, I was like, I want to work at the project.

And yeah, soon as we got enough money to buy a tour bus, it was Status Quo's old tour bus, actually, to run a pilot of the first shelter from. I signed up as a volunteer. It was during winter, so it was like from November to January, we ran that first service and it didn't have any electricity. It was a tour bus from the early 90s as well, so it had this horrible carpet interior. But what it was, it was powerful and it was community. We had everyone on that bus who was coming from lots of different backgrounds. You had people that were fleeing violence. You had people that had been kicked out of their family homes, and all just sat there playing Uno every night and chatting. And it was beautiful.

And as much as it wasn't fit for purpose, basically what happened from that bus is we could prove that the service was needed. It was full. So it was really, really horrendous when we had to close the doors on the bus because we ran out of funding for that pilot, but it just made us really determined to make sure that we secured a more appropriate space to be able to run the service from in the future.

Rena [00:03:05] Part of the mission of the Outside Project is to help those within the LGBTIQ+ community who feel endangered, who are homeless, hidden, homeless, and feel that they are on the outside of services due to historical and present prejudice in society and in their homes. I was reading that the LGBT Youth Commission on Housing and Homelessness, which was set up in 2016, found that as many as 24% of young homeless people are LGBT and 77% of those young homeless people who were surveyed stated that their LGBT identity was a causal factor in them becoming homeless. What makes LGBT people so much more at risk? And does this affect their ability to access services?

Harry [00:03:56] I think family rejection is a big part of that. It's a unique experience to our community. When people come out, I think if you're part of any other or most other marginalised identities, basically your family unit of people that you see within yourself. But as I said, yeah, it is a unique experience that happens when you come out. You can end up being rejected from people that are closest to you. It does leave a lot of people in immediate danger of homelessness.

The Albert Kennedy Trust, at the beginning of the Covid 19 crisis actually released something that said, if you can delay coming out to your parents during the crisis, if you don't think it's going to end well, do that because it's so dangerous for some young people to be stuck in a house where they are not accepted, where they need to isolate and basically are not being treated well. In terms of the Outside Project, we've been supporting people that have been sent to our service that have been kicked out by their parents because they are LGBTIQ+ during Covid. So that is something that is extremely difficult for us to deal with, mainly because the how dangerous it is at the moment just to be outside. I think it is a specific problem for young people and that's why those statistics come from.

[00:05:24] And there's amazing charities like the Albert Kennedy Trust that sort of support young people. But the difference with the Outside Projects is that a majority of our guests are over the age of 25. So, it isn't just about being kicked out of your family home. It's a lot of systemic reasons and problems that carry on throughout life.

For example, if we look back at the legacy that Section 28 has left, Section 28 is a piece of legislation introduced by the Thatcher government that basically made it illegal for anyone in schools just to talk about gay people, lesbian people, anyone under the umbrella of our community. It was banned. So, if from a young age, you're taught that your identity is something that to an institution you can't talk about, or people that you trust in power like teachers, when you're younger, you can't even discuss these issues. It leaves a longstanding mistrust of people not feeling able to access services and ask for help when they need it.

[00:06:28] A lot of people that we work with aren't necessarily part of the street homeless community. A lot of the younger people we work with are part of hidden homelessness. And that basically is made up of people that are sofa surfing, people are squatting, people that are relying on survival sex, people that before all the venues were shut down would sleep in places like saunas or would go out to nightclubs and bars to find people to hook up with so they have a roof over their head. And this all leads into the fact that young people basically do have a mistrust for services and look for alternative things that are out there to keep a roof over their heads.

And a big thing that we say at the Outside Project is a lot of our guests and people we support don't actually think that they are homeless enough to access our service. They think it's just for people that are on the streets, which we absolutely are as well, but think it's for people that are in complete crisis. But we always say, please just get in touch before you are in a place of crisis, even if you are sofa surfing and your mates is starting to get annoyed cause you can't move on and you've been stuck there for a month or so. That's the right time to contact us. You don't have to wait until you are on the street.

Rena [00:07:41] Definitely because it's true that we have misconceptions and we have images in our mind about homelessness, but it can take many forms. I wanted to ask about the shelter and community centre that the Outside Project normally runs and obviously you're hosting virtual meet ups now. How successful have these been?

Harry [00:08:01] So we have a permanent site. It's an old disused fire station originally shut down by Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London. And we have been given that to operate the shelter out of. So, we have a huge space downstairs. We have a small cafe which is free of charge and there's a support worker in there all day, we are a 24-hour service. And we have a larger space which is used for different groups that want to have meetings and these could be closed meetings. For example, we have a queer cancer support group. We have survivors of domestic violence and groups like that who have access to space. Upstairs is the shelter. And that's where the guests stay and at the moment, they're safely isolating. So that's that's what we normally do and the service we normally run.

[00:08:49] But obviously now, the shelter is still open. But the community space and cafe, that's what has been moved online. So we've got two socials each week, which have been really, really successful where there's always an activity. Those are a Monday and Wednesday evening. And then you've also got the space, every day we have just little hangouts, which are a lot less formal. People can just check in and people from all around the country are using that just to hang out and just chat to people they wouldn't normally chat to as well, which is another really interesting thing that's come of this, it has brought people outside of our sort of London bubble. There's people all around the country who have been coming and joining in to that. So we also have all the different activist groups and community groups that were meeting at the centre. They can use the software that we have basically to keep on meeting. So it's not ideal, but it’s working.

Rena [00:09:47] Under lockdown, the home has become a government-mandated refuge for the population during a state of global health crisis. The government rolled out initiatives to house homeless people during the pandemic. For example, local councils have been given £3.2 million since March to house homeless people from central government. From your point of view, how successful have those initiatives been and what has the pandemic really looked like for homeless people.

Harry [00:10:15] At the forefront in London of working with street homeless people have been to amazing organisations I absolutely adore. And the grassroots and radical Streets Kitchen and Museum of Homelessness have been doing a lot of work on the ground, and I always trust and look to them to really see what the situation is instead of just looking at what's being released by councils and government.

But I think we have to do recognise that initially the hotel policy that was put in place, it was successful, but once again, it was only successful for people that are street homeless. So it's a commission service to get people off the streets, which is something that is really important. But there is a much larger population of hidden homeless people that are living in squats, sofa surfing, or as I said before, survival, sex. People that access services like ours aren't really included in the hotel scheme that was set out by council.

So initially we kicked up a bit of a fuss because we weren't being included. Our shelter wasn't given extra spaces in hotels for people from our community that need to isolate because they're sick or because they have nowhere to go, or people that are living in overcrowded rooms or squats that can't actually keep maintaining social distancing. So we had to fight hard. And we campaigned with an activist group in London called Voices For, and they helped us kick off about not being given that space for our community as well. It was actually successful. So the Greater London Authority have commissioned us to have a hotel now, which is which is great. So, we can provide that space.

[00:12:02] But I also really want to make the point that we can't confuse compassion with embarrassment. And this is exactly the same thing that we saw happening during the 2012 Olympics or the royal weddings, is that all of a sudden, lots of people that are homeless are being swept up and put in hotel rooms and housed. But it's not actually doing anything in terms of interventions into the longer term housing model. I think basically they want us to lose focus and attention of people that are homeless, which often does happen, and then they will move on.

And I think that is interesting at the moment because this month, the hotel scheme has now actually been scrapped and it's been scrapped behind closed doors, there has been no press coverage about it. Councils have been notified, but the public still think it's happening. The whole scheme in total cost about £3.2 million to run. Meaning that street homelessness could be solved with this amount of money. Hotels are going to remain empty. It's not like people are visiting London at the moment. So it doesn't make sense to stop this scheme at this point, just because the social distancing guidelines are all very confusing have slightly changed. It's a miniscule amount of money in the grand scheme of things just to keep people safe. And I think it's cruel.

And I think also the government don't want to admit that solving street homelessness is this simple. I think ideologically that decommodifies the whole housing sector and it shows that it can be done so easily. But they don't want to admit that housing is, in fact, a human right. So I don't know what's gonna happen now, but I do know that I can always trust organisations like The Streets Kitchen, and Museum of Homelessness, to get the actual picture of what is going on, because they work very, very closely with the street homeless community and always know what's happening on the ground.

I think also once you have street homeless people safe and in hotels and off the streets, it will give them more of a chance to be able to make positive changes, whatever they need. And I think that's also dangerous in terms of looking at the way that the Tory government ideologically thinks that society is a meritocracy. And if you give these people want actual chance to get on with whatever they need to do, I think it might just undermine that whole ideology of conservatism. Does that make sense?

Rena [00:14:32] It absolutely makes sense. And it needs really well into my next question, actually. I wanted to talk about austerity. The number of homeless people in England has risen from an estimated 1,768 in 2010 to 4,266 in 2019. What is the impact of government cuts and austerity being on homeless services? And has it disproportionately affected LGBTIQ+ people?

Harry [00:15:00] We have seen since the Tories have been in power, which is a hell of a long time now, services have been completely stripped all around us, and us working and support and homeless in sectors. So queer lives are only considered really during History Month or Pride Month. A flag is raised on a town hall or a road walkway is painted. But the rest of the year, no real effort is made to provide any basic services needed by our marginalised community.

I think it's interesting because we are running a homelessness organisation and I think in cities like London, where there is at the moment a mayoral campaign coming up, I think there is always going to be a push to get people off the streets and it's always going to be funding into services. Definitely not enough, but I think that it is politically quite an important thing to always have funding for. I don't wanna say anything too obvious, but I think obviously austerity has decimated services. But I don't know enough to comment on whether it's been disproportionately affecting LGBTIQ people.

Rena [00:16:12] The Tories have been in power for a long time now and austerity is part of part of the ideology, I would say, that you were just talking about before. Do you think that there's been a hostile environment for LGBTIQ+ people?

Harry [00:16:28] It is hard to fight for funding for projects that do support LGBTIQ+ people. And I think that is because I think for a conservative government, a lot of the voters and supporters and core group really don't care about us. And it's really hard for then us to squeeze our fair share of what is left for all these different services to scramble over. Every time that we are posted by the mayor of London, because we are really grateful for the money that the Greater London Authority gives us to run such a fantastic service.

But every single time you'll have criticisms from people being like, well, what about this group or that group? Why do you think you're so special that you deserve this money? And it's really hard to convince people, no, we need this money because we are running a specific service that is helping people. And we have the receipts for that. And this is Labour supporters as well. So, when you move over to Tory voters, the supporters, how they view our service is they think it is completely because their money is being spent on this. So, it is really tough in a sector that has been so decimated for there to be an LGBTIQ+ specialist service. It's really hard for us to keep the funding up and keep support up.

Rena [00:17:49] Definitely. It's like that meme that you see on the Internet where it's like, you know, "more rights for me doesn't mean less rights for you. It's not pie." But then when we're talking about a pot of money and funding and when that's so squeezed as it is, it does feel like people are fighting over pie. And it shouldn't be the case because there are so many groups who are deserving and somebody being helped just impede on anybody else's rights, in theory. How can housing and homelessness services join together to create a better system? As in, do you think that there's too much separation between the way that these issues are dealt with? And could they work better to accommodate people and to meet people's needs?

Harry [00:18:36] I'm not 100 percent sure. I know that the biggest cause of homelessness, obviously, is a lack of housing provision. There just aren't enough houses and councils are very, very protective over their housing stock. And it's to be expected when no new houses are being built. I don't have the answer of how we could work better together. But all I do know is strenuous work when you're constantly fighting with people that are providing housing just to try and get someone into it. It's hard and but yeah, I don't really know the answer.

Rena [00:19:13] I suppose I was thinking about we were talking about how, £3.2 million had been dedicated to housing homeless people during the crisis. And in terms of fixing that problem, what would that look like for you? What do you think can be done in that in the long term to help people?

Harry [00:19:32] What could be done in the longer term is housing needs to be built. There needs to be more housing provision, that's number one, but also needs to be more funding into services not just like ours, but across the board that support people. There could just be enough housing for everyone. But I don't think that works in terms of Tory ideology. So I really don't see - apart from more money for services - how how else we would get to a point where there wouldn't be a homeless problem. I mean, the acknowledgement of housing being a human right, which it absolutely should be, and I think that's something that is never really going to be recognised by this government. £3.2 million really isn't a lot of money in terms of everything else that being spent, so I think yeah, that's right. I don't think I have the answer.

Rena [00:20:23] I think you do have the answer, Harry, because you're saying more money! There is an ideological problem here, isn't there - that there's not enough money is spent on people. June is normally a time for Pride celebrations around the world and parades have been cancelled in a lot of major cities because of coronavirus. I wanted to talk about how you think it's important for people to still celebrate their sexuality and also talk a little bit about the Queer House Party that you've been running under lockdown, which is becoming a massive success. And I wanted to talk as well about the idea that traditional pride parades are often criticised for being over-commercialised. Do you think that it's important for people to find new ways to celebrate their sexuality and a lockdown. And do you think it's like a new opportunity to find new ways?

Harry [00:21:17] Yep. I've always had a really tricky relationship with Pride, especially Pride in London, who I know really dislike me! Which is ridiculous. And for me, Pride has always been a protest. And as much as it is about celebration of like how far we've come as a movement, there are people that have been left behind. And I worked in support services for people who were seeking asylum who, we are constantly fighting for them to be included in this parade.

And last year, I was part of a group of people that fundraised £10,000, almost, to basically bring lots of queer people seeking asylum from around the country into London and pay for their transport, their hotels, we put on a huge party, which funded this whole thing as well, to make sure that they could just be visible. These are people that have come from all over the world to seek safety in this country, which is their absolute right to do. And they get treated like absolute garbage by the Home Office.

It's completely criminal, the treatment that they receive when they arrive, and then for our community as well, then just to erase them completely from our Pride celebration. And that's not pride for me. We fought really hard. We missed the application deadline last year in Pride 2019 because we're not the most organised group of queers. And it's also this internal debate of we don't actually want to pay to be on your Pride parade anyway.

But we decided to put an alternative march on the back, which is what a lot of people are starting to move towards. It was a group of different grassroots organisations saying, "we don't want to be part of your parade, we're going to march to the back". And in that group, you have people who are homeless, and ex homeless. You've got people from all around the world that were seeking asylum. So we're talking about really vulnerable groups of people.

When we went to march to the back of the parade, we were met by a line of police and Pride volunteers, which was insane. There's lots of photos of us just being treated like we're criminals, just saying that we want to be able to highlight these issues. Every single group that was standing there was fighting for something that we should all care about as a community, and we were met by a line of police and you had people that were really scared and for good rights. They are. And that could be because of their treatment of police within their home country or even just the way that the state has treated them since they arrived in the UK. I mean, people seeking asylum, if they mess up at all with, they get in trouble with the police, that could be the end of their asylum application and that could mean deportation. And Pride in London did that.

So, yeah, I've got a longstanding history of either being at the front and taking over or going at the back and shutting things down and kicking up a fuss. Not just in Pride in London, but in general. And I think there has been such a move away from really commercialised Pride celebrations to small local events, which are funded by, I don't know, smaller local businesses that really actually care. You have local acts. It's not relying on big names. A lot of the time, a lot of them aren't even queer. You've got Britney and Kylie who like, don't get me wrong, love them. But why are you headlining - or Ariana Grande - why are you headlining a festival that's meant to be... The whole point in pride is it was a protest and we've really lost that. And it would be okay if there was no one left behind. But even at the moment, what's happening to the potential rolling back of trans rights in this country, these are the things we need to be kicking off about. There is still a lot to be upset by. I could literally go about this for so long - I hate Pride!

Also Pride [parades] just aren't accessible for a lot of people. And yeah, at the beginning of lockdown, me and my housemates, we started Queer House Party, which is being hosted on the Outside Project's virtual community centre. The original idea is because a couple of us are DJs was to make a bit of cash and have some fun because half of us are also frontline workers. We've got social workers and support works in the house. So that was the original idea. But it's gained so much momentum because it is giving this sense of community and togetherness that we are missing during lockdown. I think for queer people, it's especially hard because we go to bars and clubs or whatever to see ourselves, see other people that we relate to. And we feel [that] it's definitely filling that gap.

[00:25:59] I think the other biggest thing that has come out of Queer House Party is just around accessibility. And we're really, really striving now to make it as accessible as possible. And this starts with making sure that there's no visible alcohol containers on screen because people in recovery might want to come. But then we've got a BSL interpreter, which is really, really important, and their name is Max and they're really cool. And we are able to pay them every week, which has made it - a huge portion of the queer community that have access needs now come to the party and we get messages every week saying I haven't been able to access a queer event in years and this is the first time. And that can be because people are neuro diverse and really struggled to be out in such a busy environment. If they are survivors of survivors or victims of sexual assault or abuse, and that has happened in a club, that might be a reason they don't want to go out anymore. We also have someone on audio descriptions for people that are visually impaired. So we're really, really pushing for this.

[00:27:01] After lockdown, we're going to continue to put on parties that are accessible and also just led by the community. I think a big problem that we all have with Pride London is they're more interested in big corporations spending lots of money and they're more interested in pleasing big corporates that pay them to have this festival.

And I always make the point of it's become a bit of a monster, and it's only there to sustain itself. It's not there to benefit the community. It so expensive because all of these corporations are fighting to show that they have the biggest rainbow flag. But in reality, no one wants that. No one wants to march in a parade alongside BAE Weapons Systems who make literal bombs. No one wants to march in a parade with… there's countless organisations in Pride parade, you just have to look through the list, and it is obscene the type of corporations that we have to march against, that don't care about any one beyond the treatment - if they have really good workplace policy for LGBTIQ+ people, apparently that means that they are the most brilliant people in the world. But you can treat your queer staff members well and also not create bombs that are going to be dropped on people all over the world. And there is a massive conflict there for me, and I am never, ever going to be able to march in a parade alongside weapons manufacturers! It's crazy.

I really hope that this self-sustaining monster of Pride is coming to an end, and we are moving back to traditional grassroots activist-led marches and parties that aren't just focussing on corporations. It's exhausting. I really don't like it.

Rena [00:29:07] Yeah, I started working in the centre of town, last year our office moved to a different part of town, and it's basically it's the Strand which is, I think, part of the march route, and seeing the big corporate banks and the, you know, every single company who had a presence on that street changing their colours to appear to be inclusive. And yet the contradiction between that and like the depths of homophobia in society. And you know that, just from speaking to friends, that people don't feel like completely accepted if they work in big companies, was really stark to me.

And then by the same token, I haven't been to queer house party yet, but I have livestreamed some other DJ sets. And the first one I did and under lockdown, I'm thinking this is this is perfect actually for lockdown because, you know, you can rave and party and whatever. But, you know, you're at home. I'm 30 and I've already stopped going clubbing. And so, yeah, it feels like there's a there's a natural fit between live streaming and that kind of thing. So it's really good to hear that Queer House Party is going so well.

Many people are talking about constructing a new normal after the pandemic. What for you would that look like? Thinking about homelessness and thinking about LGBT rights.

Harry [00:30:44] I think for me, the new normal would be the end of capitalism. And I really, really thought at the beginning, like this is going to ruin the Tories! Just working the sector, we had a lot more power in a way at the beginning about what this was going to do. And I saw the situation we were in now coming. And I thought, like, once we get to the point where we have the highest death toll in Europe and the second highest in the world, surely it will be like, right, let's hold this government to account because it is highlighting the decimation of services over the past 10 years.

But also the fact that they're asking workers to go back to work and use public transport and all these things that just make some seem so out of touch because they don't realise what the real world is like. And Boris's approval ratings are still really high. And that, to me, is scary because we are against such a huge enemy. And I think that is what these past over 10 years now have been is just we're not just fighting a government, we're fighting a government and a media institution which basically props them up.

And it's hard and I really, really, really hope there is a new normal after this, and we don't forget and we don't just go back to the way things were. But I'm not sure what that would look like. I don't think that's my job to. I just know that I really, really hope something happens soon. And I've got immediate family members who's a nurse, another one who's a care worker. And I really hope the people that are clapping every Thursday at 8:00 p.m. really realise what these people are actually going through and what they actually want, which is just to be safe in their jobs and paid a fair wage. And even during a pandemic, they're not getting those things. And it makes me very angry. But I don't know what else it would look like.

I think that at this point, at anything is better. I really, really hope. I mean, I do want to be more hopeful, but I think it's going to take everyone just realising that a lot of what has happened could have been avoidable. And I really hope that it makes people rethink the way that society is structured and how the most marginalised people are the people that are being affected by this crisis and understanding the reasons for that, the socio-economic reasons why it is majority people of colour that are being hit hardest and working-class people that are being hit hardest by. I'm not sure if that will happen.

Rena [00:33:23] I wanted to ask about your background and how you started working and in social care and support. How did you get into it?

Harry [00:33:32] It's a tricky one. I studied criminology as an undergraduate and I went into it thinking it's a social science and thinking that I would learn one thing. But what I actually came out of it with is an understanding of structures in society that disproportionately affect marginalised groups. I did a lot of research and learning around immigration services in this country specifically and immigration detention and prisons. And you're working with some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people ever under the treatment within institutions like the prison system or the immigration system. I just got a lot of anger from what I was learning.

I think also, when was 21, I had a pretty traumatic year. And I think a lot of people that experience big traumas end up viewing the world differently and wanting to do something to - not give back, but - I just I had a lot of anger and I needed to channel it somewhere. And for me, that was heading to the streets, number one, but also working in support.

I think a big part of what we do at the Outside Project is we're not just providing a service. We're also actively campaigning and kicking off to change the structures that are harming people. So, I think those are two things I'm really passionate about. There is the frontline work, which is so important. But then also channelling all of my anger into getting on the streets and kicking up the fuss about different things that I really don't like.

Rena [00:35:03] Definitely. And it's it sounds like you've already worked in quite a few different campaigns. Are there any other campaigns you haven't mentioned yet which you've you've been a part of?

Harry [00:35:15] Yeah, I have basically worked alongside a lot of different groups that work in highlighting how damaging the immigration and asylum process are. There's an amazing group called African Rainbow Family headed up by Aderonke [Apata], who is an inspirational campaigner and been through the system, and was in the asylum process for 10 years.

We also have a member of our team at the Outside Project called Ciprian, who runs the London branch, and they're all over the country. And I think working with them has really, really given me a lot of knowledge because they are led by people that have been through the asylum processes themselves. So like insider knowledge and what it is actually like, which is really important when we are campaigning, it is about, especially about issues that don't directly affect us, it's so important to work alongside people that have the lived experience for him going through it. So yeah, African Rainbow Family is a big one. And I adore them, I think they do incredible work.

[00:36:17] Have you read or watched anything that really inspired you to get involved in campaigns for change or talks about any of the issues that we've talked about today?

[00:36:27] A big one for me was watching the film Pride about Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners [LGSM]. It was a campaign during when they wanted to shut the pits down as basically the treatment of miners by Tory governments and police. And it was this idea of solidarity between different communities and the shared understanding of being marginalised. And for the members of LGSM, they weren't well received in mining communities at the beginning, and they were just trying to fundraise and trying to get their money to these people, but lots of people wouldn't accept it because it was coming from, at the time, gay men and lesbians, and how with persistence and a lot of hard work, those communities ended up coming together.

And then the miners ended up marching at the front of a London Pride with the groups. And stories like that about solidarity, I think are really important. It makes you realise that whilst as a community, we are all in it together, we have to also look outside of our community sometimes and see other groups that are struggling. And I think that was a big realisation for me, and a big part of the activism I do, it's all of us, and we are all in it together, and especially over the past decade and a bit, we are all being hit really hard. So, it's working together is the only way that we're going to get out of this, I think.

Rena [00:37:56] Definitely, Pride's a really good film.

Harry [00:37:58] I love it!

Rena [00:38:01] It's amazing. How can people support you and what you do?

Harry [00:39:57] People can support the Outside Project by just getting the word out there about what we do. I think we want more people in the community to know that you can come to us before you're in crisis. Also, just always - money helps. So, we have a Golden Giving page, which you can find on all of our social media, so drop us some cash! It will help us carry on.

And also, we have a virtual community centre. The virtual community centre has socials every day for people that are in isolation. If you wanted to help out, if you're in a position to maybe host or just become a befriender. You can log on and just chat to people that are struggling in isolation. It is not a support role. It's more just like being a friend, someone just to listen to. The community centre is also where we run the [Queer] House Party from and just attending that being another face on the screen of people that are coming would be great. Come and just see what we're doing.

We also have a London LGBTIQ+ Mutual Aid Group on Facebook. So you can search that and find it for the Outside Project's Facebook page. And you can either sign up, if you need help with anything, or if you're in a position to go out and help other people. You can fill out a form and we can match you up with other people in London and across the country now that are in need of support. That would be really useful.

Rena [00:41:25] Yeah, I think that's a really nice place to end. Thank you so much for your time today, Harry.

Harry [00:41:29] No worries. It's been really fun!

Rena [00:41:37] Future Heist is recorded and produced by me, Rena Niamh Smith with original music by Benjamin Tassi, artwork by Fleur Beck and sound editing by Gibran Farrah. Ben Weaver Hincks is our podcast consultant and Charlotte Watts, our social media editor. You can find original illustrations for Future Heist by Charlotte on social media.

Follow us @future_heist on Instagram and Twitter or Future Heist podcast on Facebook and YouTube. You can find a transcript for this episode on renathejournalist.com/podcast. Special thanks to Chloe Vasseghi.

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