Paris Lees

Sexuality night - how was it for you?

Paris Lees caught up with Aled Haydn Jones after Radio 1’s sexuality show

“For a 15 year old to reach out to us – on Radio 1 – is such a huge thing,” says a buzzing Aled, in the car home at 1am this morning. He had to be up at 4.30 ready for the Breakfast Show with Chris Moyles. He’s pretty tired today.
Living in London as an adult, and working in the media, it’s easy to forget the isolation many young gay and trans people still face. Radio 1’s sexuality night asked them to love the things that make them diverse: “The confidence that comes from that will give you a thick skin and make you more invincible when it comes to bullying at school or in the workplace,” says Aled. And, he says, it also helps other people to accept you: “Once you’ve accepted yourself, it just makes it that bit easier.”
He says his personal coming out was a struggle, as his parents had preconceived ideas about what a gay person was: “I imagine that trans people have the same issue, whether that’s people thinking you’re some form of deviant, or have a way of living that they just don’t understand. Rather than looking at the son or daughter as the same kind of person, expressing themselves a bit clearer, they will be thinking that you’re going to change into someone that they’re scared of”.
Last night was a first. When has a trans person had the chance to discuss gender identity on Radio 1 before? Aled urges others to get have their voices heard too: “Hopefully any young people will know now that Radio 1, and especially the Surgery, is a home for them to call for guest advice, or to talk through what they are going through.”
So what’s the next step? “To do what we’ve done with gay and lesbian people – which is to not just talk about trans people because of their gender identity, but start talking about them in other walks of life. And you never know, perhaps you could be the first Radio 1 presenter.”
He says that working on the show with me helped flesh out his understanding of trans issues: “I just hope that everyone gets to know someone who is transgender, so they don’t just get to live by stereotypes and get to know real people.”
You heard him. Grab yourself a trans friend!
Listen to The Surgery with Aled on iPlayer 

Follow Aled and Paris on twitter.

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