Wed 06 Jun, 2024

LGBTQ+ experiences in prison on NPR Talk

Around one in twenty (5%) men and more than one in five (22%) women identify as either homosexual or bisexual in prison – higher than the general population.

June is Pride month, a month that honours the LGBTQ+ community; the history, achievements, and ongoing fight for equality.

To commemorate Pride, we want to shine a light on the story of ‘A’ – a prisoner residing in HMP Brixton who is one of a small minority of openly gay men living in the male prison estate.

For this interview, he was joined by John Sydney, who works for the Safer Custody team in HMP Brixton. Together, they discussed the issue of homophobia in the male estate.

Like most new prisoners, A’s first time inside was a shock. His first experiences of prison were tougher than most.

Having been openly gay for more than 20 years, A was shocked to be told on his arrival at HMP Wandsworth that he should not, under any circumstances, reveal his sexuality to his fellow prisoners. This seemed extreme, but soon A understood why, experiencing homophobia far beyond anything he could have imagined.

After hiding his true identity for his entire time in Wandsworth, A was then moved to HMP Belmarsh, where he was placed on an over 50s wing. Here, he noticed attitudes towards homosexuality were far better, and he was finally able to be himself.

Unfortunately, his stay at Belmarsh was short, and soon A found himself at HMP Brixton.

Arriving at Brixton, he received the same advice as before – tell nobody – which he stuck to. However, tired of staying quiet, A decided recently to be open about his sexuality, and is now one of just a handful of openly LGBTQ+ prisoners in HMP Brixton.

Now, A wants to fight the stigma that still exists around homosexuality in the male prison estate, and so he joined National Prison Radio recently to tell his story on NPR Talk. He talked about how he believes things can change for the better.

A has also helped set up Brixton’s first ever LGBTQ+ Forum, where prisoners can meet up to discuss issues relating to their sexuality, gender, identity etc.

A’s story will broadcast on NPR Talk on Wednesday 17 June 2024.

National Prison Radio is the world’s first national radio station for people in prison. It’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on in-cell TV.

NPR Talk is our talk show helping listeners find their future. The show focuses on issues in prison and features news, interviews and banter. NPR Talk broadcasts every Wednesday at 12:00 and 18:00 on National Prison Radio and reaches over 80,000 people behind bars across England and Wales.

National Prison Radio was founded by the Prison Radio Association – a registered charity. Shows like NPR Talk help people to cope with life inside prison and thrive on release. If you would like to support our work, and enhance the futures of people in prison across the UK you can make a donation at