What a year for LGBT HERO | 2019 - a year in review.
Updated: Dec 21, 2019
We just want to say thank you for your support in 2019.
2019 has been an amazing year for LGBT HERO and the work we do through our brands, GMFA - the gay men's health project and OutLife. We would like to say a huge thank you to all everyone who supported, donated, volunteered and interacted with our services. LGBT HERO has gone from strength to strength and we couldn't have done this without you.
Here are some of the highlights from 2019.
GMFA continues to be a trusted resource for gay and bisexual men in the bid to stop HIV and end HIV Stigma. This year, GMFA, along with its FS magazine, reached over 1.2 million people in 2019 with the top ten most read articles on www.gmfa.org.uk being:
1. How risky is oral sex? | GMFA | 49,372
2. How to get fucked | GMFA | 43,502
3. Wanking techniques | GMFA | 36,345
4. How risky is? | GMFA | 32,224
5. Cumming too quickly | GMFA | 24,969
6. A modern guy's guide to cruising | FS magazine | 23,655
7. Know your arse for better sex | GMFA | 22,299
8. Messy sex and douching | GMFA | 20,027
9. The real sex lives of gay men | FS magazine | 19,524
10. Infidelity and the gay community| FS magazine | 19,221
In April of this year, GMFA relaunched its Me. Him. Us. campaign for black gay and bisexual men and a new Me. Him. Us. campaign for South Asian gay and bisexual men.
Both campaigns were developed by and for the men they were targeting, making sure the campaigns remained authentic from the ground up. This approach worked in helping make Me. Him. Us. GMFA's most successful intervention of the decade. So far, Me. Him. Us. has reached over three million people through outdoor advertising and an online campaign in 2019 and over six million people since it first launched in 2018. GMFA has seen a 25% increase in traffic to its HIV and sexual health pages during the time the campaign was active and GMFA forwarded over 1000 people to home HIV and STI testing services.
For the third year running, GMFA continued with the successful HIV stigma busting campaign 'The Undetectables'. This year GMFA continued to promote the message that gay and bisexual men living with HIV who are on effective medication cannot pass on the virus through sex. For World AIDS Day this year, GMFA launched a special edition of FS magazine that focused on bringing well established and up-and-coming activists together for a special photoshoot. The 17 men helped GMFA reach over 200,000 people in December alone.
There's lots more to come from both Me. Him. Us. and The Undetectables in 2020.
As part of the RiSE partnership, GMFA ran four groupwork sessions in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham aimed at providing gay and bisexual men a safe space to talk about sex and sexual health with a trained facilitator with over 20 men attending this year.
GMFA also ran six Positive Pub Crawls, a social event for gay and bisexual men living with HIV to come together and show visibility within the gay scene. Each event had nearly 30 people attending. The Positive Pub Crawl will be turning five years old in February.
LGBT HERO officially launched OutLife in April 2019, although the site has been up since late 2017 we wanted to take our time before we went public with it. This was to make sure we had enough basic content to cover the topics we want to address. OutLife was born from a needs assessment of over 1500 LGBTQ+ people who told us what they wanted from an online service. We listened and OutLife was born.
OutLife offers information, advice and support for LGBTQ+ people. Its main topics are mental health, sexual health, sexuality and gender identify but will widen its reach over the coming years. Although OutLife only officially launched in April it already reached over 642,000 people this year with the top 10 articles on www.OutLife.org.uk being:
1. What are the signs of depression? | OutLife | 55,207
2. Five ways to improve your mental health | OutLife | 54,579
3. What is sexuality? | OutLife | 33,301
4. Being transgender | OutLife | 31,199
5. Smoking and your health | OutLife | 24,790
6. Which countries criminalise homosexuality | OutLife | 22,257
7. How risky is having sex without condoms | OutLife | 21,051
8. Conversion Therapy - the facts | OutLife | 9,514
9. Are you dependent on alcohol | FS magazine | 8,925
10. Safe sex guide for lesbians | OutLife | 8,695
In January of this year, OutLife launched a new online peer-support forum, a platform where LGBTQ+ people can come to talk, share and support one another in a safe non-judgemental environment. The forums are funded by the Government Equalities Office and provide LGBTQ+ people a place where they can talk about their worries, concerns and LGBT life in general. The forums are run by trained moderators who can help support anyone going through a tough time. Since its launch we've had over 17,426 visits with 385 engagements / sign ups. You can visit the forums here; www.outlife.org.uk/forums
In 2017, LGBT HERO was funded, along with Consortium, by City Bridge Trust to map LGBT services in London with the end goal being we develop an online hub where LGBTQ+ people and service providers can go and find what services there are for LGBTQ+ people in London. The hub, which we now call FindOut, was launched on OutLife in July of this year. We also launched an in-dept report of our findings so far. You can read this report in full here. Since we launched FindOut, over 2500 people have used it to find LGBTQ+ services in London. We will be running a brand new campaign to highlight FindOut in 2020. You can visit FindOut here: http://findout.outlife.org.uk.
Even in its short life, OutLife is fast becoming a valuable resource for LGBTQ+ people. By providing a service that offers info, advice, peer-support and a service finder we are fulfilling the wishes the 1500 LGBTQ+ people asked us for. Watch LGBT HERO's CEO, Ian Howley on London Live talk about why the LGBTQ+ community needs OutLife
This is only the beginning for OutLife and we're excited to see where it goes in 2020.
And LGBT HERO itself has had an amazing year, we've been working behind the scenes with the LGB&T Partnership and the HIV Providers Network to build on policies and advocate for better rights for LGBTQ+ people such as access to PrEP and reversing cuts to sexual health services, along with standing by trans community as they came under attack within the media and on social media.
We've also been working very close with Lambeth Council on a whole systems approach. As part of this LGBT HERO facilitated trans awareness training for 60 frontline staff and ran a round table event in September to find recommendations that Lambeth Council can introduce to improve how they support LGBTQ+ people in 2020.
On the fundraising side, we also had our most successful RVT Sports Day since we relaunched it in 2007. We raised a whopping £12,000 between the teams, the auction, raffle and donations on the day. All the money raised will go towards supporting both GMFA and OutLife to tackle suicide. You can read about the day here.
In total LGBT HERO has reached over five million people in 2019 through both GMFA and OutLife and we've supported thousands of LGBTQ+ people directly. We couldn't be any prouder of what we have achieved.
And that's the highlights from 2019.
What can you expect from LGBT HERO in 2020?
Well we can't announce anything major (yet) but here's some of what you can expect;
Me. Him. Us. to return
New OutLife campaign to promote FinOut, the Forums
New OutLife campaign focused on preventing suicide in the LGBTQ+ community
New Chemsex awareness campaign and booklet in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
RVT Sports Day 2020
LGBT HERO returning to Pride in London
And much much more.
We just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported us in 2019, including our funders and everyone who donated. LGBT HERO relies on community donations to survive so your support is very much appreciated. You can donate to LGBT HERO here: www.lgbthero.org.uk/donate. You can also donate directly to either GMFA and OutLife where your money will go towards supporting each project directly.
Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating and a happy 2020 to all.
The LGBT HERO team.
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