Thanks for your interest in finding out how I’m doing these days. A lot of people message me saying: “You used to be on social media, TV, and radio all the time, and we miss seeing you on those platforms. We wondered if you were OK?” In short, the answer, sadly, is no.
My work as a broadcaster, writer, campaigner and speaker used to be extremely busy and I was rarely standing still for a moment – until my chronic health issues became severe. I regularly appeared on national TV and radio (BBC One, Sky News, Channel 4, ITV), sometimes multiple times per week, as well as writing for national newspapers like The Guardian, and gave keynote speeches at large diversity events.
I seemed able to ‘pull it together’ for these appearances, but behind the scenes my health had been up and down for years as a result of an autoimmune disease called Scleroderma. Many of the public engagements I did were followed by pain and fatigue so intense that it left me stuck in bed for days as a result of my chronic conditions. I was then diagnosed with several other conditions too, including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes joints to painfully dislocate, and ME/CFS which explained the unmanageable levels of relentless fatigue and ‘brain fog’ I was experiencing, regardless of rest or sleep.
Launching my book with Harper Collins in 2018 was one of the last big public things I managed, spending months on media and promo-events for my publisher that took up the majority of that year. This worsened my chronic fatigue and autoimmune symptoms significantly and forced me to transition into doing equality campaigning that was behind the scenes rather than in the public eye, with less travel, less intensity and less crazy hours. Unfortunately, despite pulling back, each year my conditions have worsened.
Today, in 2023, I’m sad to say that I am now significantly disabled and reliant on an electric wheelchair for mobility the majority of the time. My health issues are severe enough that I’m signed off work and unable to manage much each day besides trying to follow doctors’ orders to cut back as much as I can on anything that induces stress or fatigue (both of which dramatically worsen my autoimmune symptoms). Currently, just managing the basic aspects of daily living takes everything I’ve got – and often even that is too much for me.
I live in hope that someday my health will improve as I dearly miss everything I used to do. I’ll always be glad I wrote and published “Undivided”. Many people have told me that it helped them in their own journey, which makes everything worthwhile.
Some of you have asked how you can support me during this very difficult time with my health. Firstly, the biggest thing you could do is to champion the causes that I love: promoting LGBTQ equality in society (especially in faith communities) and trying to change laws on issues like the harmful practice of ‘conversion therapy’.
In addition to that, some of you have asked if you could donate a few pounds/dollars towards my personal overheads as I deal with minimal capacity to sustain myself due to chronic fatigue and autoimmune issues.
You are extremely kind to offer and are welcome to do so via Paypal. You can use this Paypal link (my Paypal address is firstname.lastname@example.org). If you’d rather give via online banking or cheque, drop me a line via the same email address: email@example.com. I’m humbled by your kindness and am really grateful.
Thank you for supporting me – whether that’s by cheering me on and wishing me well, or championing the causes that I love, by offering up a few prayers for my health, or by more practical means. Your kindness and support means more than I can say.