Am I still alive? Where did I go?!
Thank you for your interest in supporting me. I’m grateful for your kindness – whether that support looks like ‘cheering me on’ with a kind message, or sending a donation to help cover my costs, or keeping me in your prayers, it all means more than I can say.
My involvement in the equality movement used to be very public until a couple of years ago when I became too unwell. Previously, I would regularly do national media on TV and radio (BBC One, Sky News, Channel 4, ITV), write for national newspapers like The Guardian, and give keynote speeches at large diversity events.
I seemed able to ‘pull it together’ for these TV appearances, or to give short conference speeches, but behind the scenes my health had been deteriorating for quite a while. Any public engagements I did were typically followed by pain and fatigue so intense that it left me stuck in bed for days, or even weeks, at a time as a result of the impact on my chronic illnesses.
Launching my book in the summer of 2018 was the last big thing I managed before stepping back from the public eye – it basically finished me off.
I’ll always be glad I wrote and published the book. The cost to my health was high, though. I was already chronically ill during the writing and editing process and frequently thought I wouldn’t manage to even finish it. When 2018 and publication day finally arrived, it was a very intense period of book-related media, interviews, events and pressure. Although this was well-intentioned by all involved, it triggered a massive health crash for me by the time autumn of 2018 arrived and I haven’t really emerged since.
With hindsight, I now understand that my health never fully recovered from my first autoimmune disease, Scleroderma. More diagnoses have stacked up since then – Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, MECFS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS), Fibromyalgia and more.
So, it had been a gradual decline year by year, then a huge crash from pushing myself beyond my limits to get the book out into the world. Now in 2020, I’m mostly housebound because of the chronic nature of my illnesses. I’m also now a part-time electric-wheelchair user because pain and fatigue affect my mobility. It’s all a lot to get my head around, but I’m trying to stay positive despite the challenges.
What am I still able to manage?
Although my capacity is pretty small due to illness, one thing that gives me meaning and purpose is continuing to help individuals on their ‘coming out’ journeys as they come to terms with their own identities and as they bravely share with their community that they are LGBTQ. Also, helping church leaders to navigate pro-gay and pro-trans theology and move their churches to a fully affirming position.
So, what I do nowadays for LGBTQ equality is behind the scenes instead of in the public eye. Being there on email or by phone when an individual or church leader needs help, or just someone to listen, or to seek advice from. I also give support and theological guidance to denominational leaders in the UK and USA, as well as to politicians and Special Advisors in the UK when they need to reach out to someone for an LGBTQ-faith perspective on an issue or situation.
Even with my limited energy and capacity, I still see incredibly meaningful transformations happen and feel so grateful to get to play a small role. For example, someone I’ve supported on their journey for months finds the courage to ‘come out’ at last and says they “feel alive for the first time”. Or, a church decides, after a year of conversations with me, that they will take a stand for LGBTQ equality even if it costs them hundreds of members. Or, the UK government take an issue onboard like banning “Gay Conversion Therapy” because so many of us raised our voices and told our stories and advised MP’s and refused to give up.
So, even though I’m battling chronic illnesses, I’m continuing to pursue my vision of a more equal society and more equal faith-communities.
What could you do to help?
Before my health declined, I didn’t realise all the expenses that went into keeping this part of my vocation going. A few of you (very kindly) have asked if you could donate to help. After some thought, I figured I’d create this page with links to Paypal and other ways you can help.
I’ve always been a very independent self-sufficient sort-of-person, so it’s hard to admit needing help, but it’s something I need to get better at!
If you’d like to donate to my ongoing mission for LGBTQ equality, it will help contribute to the practicalities that enable me to do what I do: basics like a working mobile phone to speak to those who reach out for help, decent WIFI so that I can Skype people who need ongoing support, postage costs for sending resources like LGBTQ theology books to people who need them, keeping the heating on so I don’t freeze, and something to cover my time as I pour myself into being there for others and still try and make ends meet. It’s these basic practicalities that either keep my mission alive or force me to stop.
Despite all the challenges, I refuse to let ill-health stop me from pursuing this aspect of my life as it’s a mission that I will always live and breathe, however weak or limited my body may be.
(On a slightly different topic — a couple of people told me they were very concerned about my worsening health, but that they couldn’t “in good conscience” donate to support my equality work as their “personal beliefs do not affirm LGBTQ equality and see same-sex relationships as ‘sinful'”. Despite this, they said they’d still like to donate as long as it “only went toward my medical expenses” and not anything related to LGBTQ campaigning. If that’s your situation, then just include a note with your donation saying “For medical expenses” and I’ll know what you mean.)
How can someone donate?
If you’d like to donate – thank you from the bottom of my heart!
An easy online method to use is Paypal – using this Paypal link. (My Paypal address is email@example.com).
Paypal allows you to include a message with your donation, so do say hello there.
Another option is to send a cheque (or ‘check’ in the American spelling!) via post made out to Vicky Beeching. If you would like this address, get in touch via the Contact Page and ask for the address to mail a cheque to.
If you’d rather give via online banking, I can send you my details including IBAN and SWIFT codes for those overseas. (For that bank information, or if you have any other questions about supporting my work, drop me a line via the Contact Page on this website).
Thank you for supporting me and my ongoing vision to see LGBTQ equality spread far and wide. Your kindness means more than I can say.