I never set out on a path to be different. At school it was beaten into us (sometimes quite literally) that boys were boys, we did boy things played football, rugby and did metalwork and technical drawing. Girls on the other hand played netball, did Home Economics and needlework.
The world I grew up in didn’t recognise that not all boys wanted to do ‘boy things’. If my teachers had had a time machine and zapped forward to 2017 their brains would fry with any understanding of trans, intersex and gender neutrality.
From around 12-years old I became a young carer for my mother; she suffered from a horrible, debilitating and cruel disease with no cure and not much understanding at the time; Multiple Sclerosis. I grew up very quickly, and was an adult at 14.
She knew I was gay, but never said anything but we had that bond that means we didn’t have to say anything. The thing is that coming to terms with that after losing my mother at age 16 was impossible, nothing around me suggested anything other than conventional relationships.
Now just imagine, in that same time machine we went back to the 1970’s and added to my extensive corgi toy collection at the time a replica rainbow bus. The very same one that I helped put on London’s streets for 18-months until October last year. Perhaps that conversation could have started earlier? I don’t know, I’ll never know.
So why did Corgi do it? I can’t speak for them but it’s absolute recognition that the world has changed and small (and big) boys can at least have some understanding of diversity. Never have I been so proud that my life has gone full circle, from big bus to little bus – LGBT diversity is not only being recognised – it’s being celebrated!
There’s more to come too; self confessed bus geek Rhys Mccollin – an exceptional young man has produced an online simulation for people to drive buses on London’s streets. ‘OMSI-2 add on London’ will give the white knuckle feel of being a bus driver on London’s streets, but he didn’t stop there. He added in the virtual version of the rainbow bus, so if you’ve ever fancied driving a bus during the Pride in London parade – now’s your chance. Even cooler is that if you look at the bus shelter adverts you’ll also see OUTbound posters, that I commissioned with the London Transport Museum.
I never imagined for one moment, something so simple would go on to inspire other people, companies and cities but it has. This is mainstreaming diversity at its very best and I’m proud to have been a part of it.
Thanks to Corgi and Rhys for taking my inspiration one step further – and of course to Transport for London and Stagecoach London.