You’ve probably noticed a lot of rainbow flags flying around lately, hell you’ve probably got one in sight right now. So, in honour of Pride Month, and in respect to all that, and all those, it represents - I wanted to share something a bit more serious than my usual science-based brain waffle.

Whether you do or don’t have any LGBT people close to you - chances are you do have someone close to you that’s been discriminated against in some way, and that is far from ok. So this week is all about how to be a good ally, partner or friend to those people, and the lessons within are useful, actionable tips for anyone struggling with marginalisation, and the resulting impact on their mental health.

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Because over 52% of LGBT people in the UK experienced depression in the past year. 

Here are some more fairly terrifying stats:

  • up to 50% of LGBT teens experience a negative reaction on coming out to their families, with 26% being kicked out of their homes

  • 30% of LGBT children have missed school because bullying made them feel unsafe

  • job applicants affiliated with a gay organisation are 40% less likely to be asked for an interview (more on that study here)

  • don’t even get me started on the figures around suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm

And yet…

One in seven LBGT people avoid getting help for fear of discrimination from a healthcare professional.

So, how can youhelp?

It’s 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, and slowly but surely, the Pride movement has been gaining momentum and making more and more progress each year.

So, even though blood-boiling stats like those above prove that there’s still a long way to go -  there are a lot of ways to do your part, and show your support in the effort to end discrimination and positively impact mental health.

Five ways to be a LGBT ally from

  1. Educate and empower yourself - Confront your own assumptions, prejudices, and biases. Hit Google, YouTube and the LGBT media to expand your knowledge (more tips at the bottom of this email too).

  2. Listen - Ask how someone is doing and be aware that other people’s lives and experiences will be completely different to our own, especially in terms of discrimination and prejudice.

  3. Be visible and challenge - When you hear people making negative comments or using hurtful or abusive language towards LGBT people, challenge it. If it’s online, report it.

  4. Influence others - Use your platforms to amplify the voices of LGBT communities and share other people’s stories.

  5. Being an ally goes beyond just LGBT - someone might be bisexual and also black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), or trans and Catholic, gay and disabled, non-binary and dealing with a mental health issue. This may mean they suffer multiple levels of discrimination in their life. Being an ally is about listening to and learning from someone else's experiences and showing your support for them.

FOR THE ALLIES: Ally Up [Source:]

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Poké is to hipsters what cheese sandwiches were to your grandparents - equal parts essential and on fleek. And after 5 years of working in Shoreditch, I know a hipster when I see one. Sometimes he's in the mirror.

Perfect for a solo couch dinner, or a build-your-own kind of gathering–– poké bowls are a heartier alternative to salads, while still pulling some serious weight in the nutrition department.

This vegan version from Mind Body Bowlis delicious, but for the carnivores, poké traditionally includes raw fish, so you could add in salmon or tuna ceviche to up the ante.

Why is it good for my brain?
That “eat the rainbow” stuff isn’t just for pride. Essentially, the more colours you can cram into a meal, the more balanced and nutritious it will be for your body. But here, we’re all about the brain, so the heavy-hitters in this recipe are; brown rice- excellent whole grain goodness for cardiovascular health and improved blood flowall over the body (including the brain), edamame- high in protein, omega-3 and iron which areessential for brain form and function, and miso- which, as a fermented food, improves memory and is protective against dementia and Alzheimer’s.

What you’ll need:brown rice, miso paste, apple cider vinegar, red cabbage, cucumber, edamame, portobello mushroom, carrots, radishes, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, sesame seeds, mirin, tamari, maple syrup, lime  (You can click the button below to automatically add all these to your usual food shop.*praise hands emoji*)

Cooking time: 30 minutes

  1. Cook the rice according to packet instructions, adding 1/2 a teaspoon of miso paste and a dash of apple cider vinegar for extra flavour.

  2. Boil the edamame for a couple of minutes. Once cooked, drain and run under cold water, then leave to one side.

  3. Half the mushroom and slice thinly, then gently fry with the minced garlic and ginger in the sesame oil until brown.

  4. Cut the carrots into matchsticks and finely shred the cabbage. Slice the cucumber and radishes as thinly as you can, and then pop all of this to one side.

  5. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

  6. Assemble your bowls, adding the rice first, then the cabbage, before arranging the veg on top.

  7. Pour over the dressing generously to serve.

Here’s the full recipe.



Watch: Hit the couch with these 10 great LGBT films. (Yep, it includes Paris is Burning, which is ALWAYS worth revisiting.) [pinknews]

Read: Fiction, memoirs, or historical guides, expand your bookshelf with the 20 best LGBT reads of 2018. [attitude]

Listen: Boost your podcast bank with thesebingeable LBGT listensto add a little Pride to your commute. [pinknews]

Look, I know there are a lot more letters out there than just LGBT, (check this handy guide from the NY Times for the definitive list) but it would’ve doubled my word count. So I hope you’ll excuse any omissions.

If having a platform is for anything - surely it’s for doing some good wherever we can, so it provided some colour into your day.

Back to brain matter next week, but in the meantime - Happy Pride 🌈 

PS: What did you think about this week? Good for special occasions? Not the right tone? Keep it simple? I'm all ears and always learning cos #neuroplasticity and all that.

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