Stonewall Housing proudly presents the House of Stonewall Champions
ACTIVIST, PUBLISHER AND ROLE MODEL
We are thrilled to announce Linda Riley as our House of Stonewall Golden Champion on World Homeless Day 2020.
Linda is a long-term supporter of Stonewall Housing, spanning back to her early career as an editor for G3 magazine, when she remembers Stonewall Housing placing an advert in the back, promoting safe living spaces for lesbians and gay men.
Like our service users, Linda understands how it feels to need a safe place to stay and to rely on the support from your community
Now an established and successful entrepreneur as the publisher of DIVA, the UK’s number 1 LGBTQ+ magazine for women, and the host of multiple diversity awards, Linda experienced homelessness at the age of 15 when she came out to her mother.
Linda knows what it feels like to not feel safe and accepted at home as an LGBTQ+ person and how this shapes and impacts your life from a young age.
You can hear about all of this and more on a very special episode of the @lesbianaffair podcast where we chat with Linda and our Fundraising and Initiatives Manager Cat about becoming a House of Stonewall Golden Champion.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am the publisher of DIVA magazine the UK’s leading magazine for LGBTQI women I am also the founder of the European Diversity Awards and the Rainbow Honours – I also launched the campaign #No2LGBTHate and Lesbian Visibility Week.
How come you decided to join the House of Stonewall as one of our champions?
I decided to join the House of Stonewall as I feel that Stonewall Housing as one of the UK”s longest running LGBT charities is a kind of ‘unsung hero’ of our community. I am aware of the work of Stonewall Housing but I felt that it needed some help in getting it’s name out there and telling the LGBTQ community more about it’s work. I personally have a vested interest in this charity as from an early age I was homeless due to coming out as LGBT and it was very hard times and I know from personal experience how rehabilitating it feels to be without a proper home.
Stonewall Housing is the unsung Hero of our Community
I personally have a vested interest in this charity as form an early age I was homeless due to coming out as LGBT
The LGBT Community Became my Family
I will never forget the two Lesbians who took me in when I was homeless
I want to try to give back to our Community
I distinctly remember my mum saying, “but you’ll never be happy, you’ll never marry and have children.” I’ am delighted to say I did all of those things.
Do you think being LGBTQ+ and homeless brings extra hardship?
Yes, I absolutely do, being LGBT has it’s own distinct challenges and being homeless on top of that is often very difficult for many people to bare. Being homeless alone is depressing enough but being homeless, LGBT and often rejected by your family as a result of coming out is an added burden which many people find hard to cope with.
Some of the people we work with find it hard to see a positive future. What would you say to someone who is experiencing homelessness right now?
I would say no matter now dark this period feels in your life, that there is hope and bare with it, it may feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but trust me, there is, if it really feels bleak talk to people in our community, people at Stonewall Housing, LGBT Switchboard, the LGBTQ community is our family and we want to help and support each other .
People often ask me why I do so much within the community for various LGBTQ charities etc, I want to say, I will never forget the two Lesbians who took me in when I was homeless due to coming out. The LGBT community became my family and as much as I can now I am in the position of being the publisher of DIVA I want to try to give back to our community, I distinctly remember when I came out my mum saying but you’ll never be happy, you’ll never marry and have children, I am delighted to say I did all of those things.
Follow Linda Riley on Twitter
You can keep up to date with Linda and Diva Magazine through their social media