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s2 e11: "Would like to stay" transcript

The Log Books - transcript - Season 2 Episode 11
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Season 2 Episode 11 - “Would like to stay”

Date: 25.01.2021

Season: 2

Episode: 11

Presenters: Tash Walker, Adam Zmith

Contributors: Sunil Gupta, ‘Louise and David’, Femi Otitoju, DJ Ritu, Sami,

and all the speakers, Switchboard volunteers and callers who made this episode possible.

Producers: Shivani Dave, Tash Walker, Adam Zmith

Music: Tom Foskett-Barnes

Artwork: Natalie Doto

[telephone dial tone, music]

Speaker 1 (0:35): This is a log book entry from August 1st 1984. The volunteer who took the call was Ken. ‘Caller is Spanish and wants to find a sympathetic male who will marry her. She is a lesbian. She knows the ins and outs of this, pardon the metaphor. No disparagement intended. She's seeing a lawyer about a visa and work. Would like to stay. This is deliberately vague, but you know what I mean.’

AZ: It's really hard if you can’t live where you want to.

TW: Definitely, and can’t live in the same place as your partner.

AZ: Yeah, just because of borders and rules and visas and regulations and immigration policies.


TW: You're listening to The Log Books, stories from Britain's LGBTQ+ history and conversations about being queer today

AZ: In partnership with Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline. I'm Adam Zmith

TW: And I'm Tash Walker. In this season, we're reading through the notes made by the volunteers who took calls between 1983 and 1991. Episode 11: “Would like to stay.” Some of the voices that we’ll hear include contributors with different perspectives on borders, cultures, countries and LGBTQ+ identity. From 1983 to 1991 in the log books, we've seen so many more people wanting to come to the UK, move to the UK, and reach out to Switchboard to ask for help.

AZ: Mmhm and even people who already live in the UK as well. There’s a lot of those entries talking about their experiences of being in this mix of cultures and identities and backgrounds, and it's just something that you see on almost every page of the log books from this period.

TW: To start, we’re gonna hear from Sunil Gupta on cruising.

Sunil: And I’ve been a gay man ever since I can remember, and quite a lot has happened ‘cause I’ve been around for 66 years now, yeah. In India, there was a lot of sex but it didn't have a name because nobody spoke about it. People just did things. I was in a boys’ school. I was in an Irish Christian Brothers’ boys’ school, believe it or not, (laughs) so… but in the school, I was quite careful to not- I knew there was something to be hidden about it, in that sense, so foolishly I missed all the boys’ school stuff because I was so busy being proper. (laughs) — On the other hand, everything happened outside so I became very streetwise. By 15, my family- my parents moved to Canada. The move to Canada though was a shock because I hadn't encountered anything that suggested that white people did this kind of thing. I was slightly regretful that my teenage sex life had suddenly come to an end. (laughs) I was surrounded by all these white Canadians, who didn't seem to do that kind of thing, and also this kind of social distancing thing was so much bigger, you know, ‘cause I was used to this hot climate and a million people jammed together, you know, so a lot of stuff happened in those places in India, so- but in Canada everybody was like all wrapped up and kept all this distance so it looked like- I don't know they would- and then the winter was so cold anyway even if you’d want to spend any time outside, (laughs) so it took me a while to figure out that- yeah things were happening. I found a buddy and then he introduced me to this game of- we walked down the high street together, and eventually some guy is gonna follow us and then because I was a dark and he was blonde, he said, ‘we're gonna split up at the next corner, and go ‘round the block different ways and see which one of us he really wants,’ and that was our entertainment after school and sure enough, we’d always catch somebody at this (laughs) so I kind of began- but I couldn't tell him, you know, and then we became kind of buddies but I couldn’t share that I was- actually had this gay interest, but he kind of led me to recognise it.


Sunil (cont’d): I’ve learned from travelling that public cruising is very culturally determined. You know, when I first came to Canada, everybody looked really straight, so (laughs) until I kind of figured out the gaydar thing, and then when I first came to London, I see everybody looked really gay and I thought, ‘That can’t be possibe,’ ‘cause (laughs) guys would stand around you, you know, posing macho and, you know, with their legs apart and all this (laughs), and much later when I finally got back to Delhi, I couldn’t spot anything again. I’d lost my way of figuring out in a crowd who was who, ‘cause suddenly, you know, in India everybody stares at you and I couldn't tell who was just staring and who was staring with some intent [laughs].

[music, sound of a page turning]

Speaker 2 (6:09): This is a log book entry from June 6th 1991, made by the volunteer Alan. ‘Would any women be interested in a mutually convenient arrangement with the interested male being a 23 year old Jamaican, who is my partner? He has had enough of studying and therefore marriage should be the way ahead.’

TW: That's just an example of one of the many log book entries that we have found throughout this period of time, 1983 to 1991, that reflect that topic

AZ: And we spoke to someone with a story about this, about solidarity in the face of the borders that divide us.

TW: The person who told us the story asked us if we could conceal her identity, so we’ve changed her name and used an actor to voice her words.


‘Louise’: I’m Louise. When I was living in London around 27/28, I was working in London. I had a partner, and I was having a very good time. We were all going to the Drill Hall and there were lots of things going on at Islington Town Hall at that point, loads of clubs and pubs. We used to go to those quite a lot and I had some friends who lived in a squat and I used to go there sometimes for my supper, and one evening two of my friends who were Americans, Marsha and Kay, sat me down and asked me if I would help with a problem that they had, and I said, ‘Yes, if I can.’ I had no idea what they were talking about. They told me someone they knew was trying to stay in this country and if he couldn't stay in this country, he would be sent back to his country of birth and would be drafted into a very brutal military situation. He was a gay man and would probably not survive this situation. They said they had tried a couple of times to find someone but, ‘Would I marry him?’ I wasn't expecting it. I was expecting them to say, ‘Will you drive a van somewhere?’ or something like that, and I hadn't met David at all, so then the arrangement was made to meet, which was very strange.

Speaker 3 (8:33): This is a log book entry from March 28th 1990. ‘Don Watkins phoned to say he has a friend (male) from Sierra Leone, who will be deported in 1 month unless he can marry a woman with an easy passport. He is prepared to pay for such a marriage if you know of any women who may be interested.’

‘Louise’: I'm there, sitting in the corner with this chap I'd never seen before, and I thought, ‘This is like an arranged marriage, and there he is!’ As I walked in, he got up and we were introduced, and then we sat down and had something to eat and we chatted and we got on very well, and we decided to go ahead with this. I did believe it was important that he had the opportunity to stay in this country because he wouldn't have survived, and he was desperate and I could see how desperate he was. I remember looking at him very closely and thinking, ‘There's no way in heaven or earth I would ever find you attractive,’ which is really weird. I'm a gay woman, but I can appreciate an attractive man, but it was like, ‘No, not for me.’ The sorts of things we talked about were the sorts of things that any new relationship would talk about. The first time we kissed. The first time we met. ‘I liked him but I didn't think he liked me,’ this, that and the other. About our families, parents names, our dates of birth, what food we like, just those sorts of things and we went over it and over it. If you tell a lie over and over, then you start to believe it yourself and you can act it out. That's what we did. We never imagined we would have any problems with this.


TW: It strikes me as such a selfless act. It’s the ultimate form of allyship.

AZ: Yeah. She's taking a big risk as well, right? And at least you could have a little bit of fun with it, you know, these- making up stories about where you met and, you know, the beauty of the sunset on your first holiday to Mykonos or wherever.

TW: Yeah like the first time we kissed in the studio.

AZ: [laughs]

[sound of a page turning]

Speaker 4 (11:01): This is a log book entry from June 1982. ‘Help. A young Ghanaian male wants to live in this country. Under the terms of the Nationality Act, he may do this if he marries an EEC citizen who resides here, i.e. French, German etc. If anyone can help with advice, please leave a note for me. Thanks, Peter.’

‘Louise’: Oh the big day was wonderful. There was a bottle of vodka in the freezer in my house. I was force-fed this. You don't really have to force feed me vodka, so I was well-oiled by the time we got to the registry office, and then- how? I don’t know. The registrar didn't realise there was something amiss ‘cause the assembled crew was like something out of the bar scene, out of Star Wars. They were just extraordinary. People dressed in drag, feathers, ballroom gowns, and it was packed. There were people waiting in the corridor.

[sound of a page turning]

Speaker 5 (12:07): This is a log book entry from March the 3rd 1990, made by the volunteer Kerry. ‘My boyfriend’s about to get sent home to the States. He married one year ago to obtain residency but now, after a year, when he has to obtain the full visa, his wife is chickening out. She’s threatening to call the Home Office to try and wash her hands of him. Has anyone been in this, or a similar situation? We’ve been to the JCWI, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, and they can only give legal facts. I’d so much appreciate anyone who might have advice or know of someone in the know. Thanks.’


‘Louise’: About 5 or 6 months after the wedding, I was at work and David called me and I could tell he was upset, and he said something like, ‘I don't want to frighten you but the Home Office have been in touch,’ and I thought they’d been ‘round to look at the toothbrushes, and he said, ‘They want us to go for interviews.’ I said, ‘What does that entail?’ and he said, ‘I don't know. They won’t tell me,’ so we had no idea what we were walking into. So we met and went over our stories and made sure we were on the same page with that. On the day, we turned up. I tried to femme up as much as possible, and I think he wore a tie. I'd never seen him in a tie before, but we turned up and they separated us immediately to interview us separately, which was really scary and you thought, ‘Oh shit. This is serious.’


‘Louise’ (cont’d): We had about a half an hour interview separately, then maybe an hour with this guy who was so worried I’d married someone without telling my father, he kept asking, ‘Will you tell them?’ and I said, ‘Yes, eventually we will,’ and then he said, ‘I need the phone numbers of people who can verify your story.’ One of my very good friends who lived in the squat, who I’d been at university with- she knew the story and David's partner knew the story, so we gave them those numbers. We thought, ‘Oh, we’ll nip in the pub and phone them and tell them this is gonna happen.’ By the time we’d got out and phoned them, it had already happened, and they both had performed adequately enough.

[sound of a page turning]

Speaker 6 (14:40): This is a log book entry from November 10th 1991. ‘A good friend of mine (female) wants to meet a gay guy for mutual help. Suits an unemployed person as she is prepared to help financially. If anyone is interested, do give me a call at home, early evenings.

‘Louise’: After the Home Office interview when obviously we’d passed the test, I think he then got permanent residency. When he got his passport, we had another very big party, and that’s it. We stayed married for 25 years, until David decided he wanted to marry his partner. Oh the other thing is, no money ever exchanged hands between us. This wasn't a commercial thing, but when I went travelling and I came back from America without a job and ‘cause I was married, I couldn't claim benefits, David supported me for three months until I got a job. Now, just thinking about the situation today with immigration and refugee status, it's such a shame that we still need to do this, that we ever needed to do it and it’s got worse. The hostile environment is worse. It’s appalling quite honestly, especially what's going on with refugees getting in small boats. I always maintain: people should be able to live and work wherever they want.


‘Louise’ (cont’d): The bond I have with David now is probably unlike any other I have, because he's eternally grateful to me. He feels I saved his life and to have somebody feel like that about you… and we really like each other very much.


TW: I feel like that’s such a unique experience that Louise and David have together, that incredible bond. What does the story make you feel?

AZ: It’s probably like making a podcast with somebody, Tash.

TW: I think so.

AZ: [laughs] I think it's such an incredible act of solidarity and it's also nice to see, like- gay man and a gay woman or lesbian solidarity as well including, like we saw in the earlier episodes in this season, where lots of gay women and lesbians helped and cared for gay men living with HIV.

TW: Totaly, and I just can't stop thinking about what the wedding would have looked like. It was an amazing description.

AZ: It sounds like a good party.

TW: Shall we say a little bit more about the interview, and why David isn't speaking?

AZ: Yeah and, of course, David isn't his real name either. When I was speaking to Louise about sharing her story, she checked with him if he was okay with that. He said yes but he didn't want to share his side of the story just because he didn't want to revisit it. I can respect that.

TW: As well as entries talking about marriage or ways to come to the UK, there were lots of log book notes in this period of time, from callers reaching out to Switchboard for support and wanting to know about different gay groups across the UK-

AZ: Yep

TW: -inclusive of the Black and Asian Gay Group in London, which volunteer, Femi, was also a part of

AZ: And here is a clip from a documentary about the Black Gay Group from 1983

Presenter: Two and a half years ago, a number of Black and Asian homosexuals in London got together to form the Gay Black Group. It's the only one in the country and was set up to meet some very specific needs. These are just a few of its members, and they have regular meetings here in this bookshop.

Group Member: One thing that I find all gay organisations have in common- they often- lots of different kinds of services, be it telephone, befriending, or social- the one thing they have in common is a lack of gay Black empathy. There’s no black people.

[sound of page turning]

Speaker 7 (18:48): This is a log book entry from 13th March 1991. ‘A black lesbian called Leslie called today. She's moved from Birmingham and is living with a straight white woman in south London. She's 19 and slowly coming out. She’ll definitely ring on Monday night to speak to Femi.’

[sound of a page turning]

Speaker 8 (19:04): This is a log book entry from August 30th 1987. ‘Enough shit. London lesbian and gay Switchboard is a mixed organisation. Many of us women are pissed off by the stereotypical images of women being used on our promotional material. Oh and, by the way, we have black volunteers too, and training group is trying hard to increase this number, so let's have it reflected in material. I mentioned this to members of PR group after the badges were issued last year, and Lo! Look at the annual report. It stinks. The Black volunteers work as hard on this organisation as anyone else, harder sometimes because we have to be your tokens too, so I’m demanding some acknowledgement. Femi.’

[sound of page turning]

Speaker 9 (19:46): This is a log book entry from November 14th 1986. ‘Asian girl from Solihull wanted to tell Pat that she went to Gay Youth Group in Birmingham and it was brill. Much happier now. Ahh… makes it all worthwhile. Ray.’


DJ Ritu: Then in 1988, I was booked to become resident at the very first ever gay world music club, which was called Asia. That was gonna be opening at the Paradise Club in Islington, which is now the O2 Islington Academy, so it was a huge huge venue and the promoters that were setting up Asia, Don and Andy, rang me up- they got my number from somewhere- they rang me up and they said, ‘We need a Bhangra DJ to play at this world music club we’re opening,’ and I said, ‘Well I don't really have any Bhangra.’ They said, ‘You’re Asian, aren't you?’ and I said, ‘Yeah…’ thinking, ‘God I hadn’t really noticed, but yeah,’ but I said, ‘The thing is I- you know, I’m into, like, soul and disco and Motown and pop. I’m an Abba woman, you know,’ and they said, ‘Well, we don't know who else to ask, so can you just try and do it? Erm put together a demo tape and we’ll work from there,’ and so I rushed off to Southall, in west London, which was known as ‘Little India.’ It's where my parents used to go and buy a lot of their Asian food stuff that they couldn't get over in east London, as I was a child. I went into one particular record shop. I bought probably 30 LPs in there, took it all home, didn't know what the hell I was doing with it, created the worst demo cassette you can imagine in the entire world and then posted it off to Don- er Don Tyler and he loved it because, to be frank, he didn't know whether it was good or bad either, so- (laughs) and so I became resident at Asia, and it was an incredible club to work at, really so wonderful. I'm DJ Ritu. I consider myself a music lover, a music maker, a DJ and a broadcaster. We had 300 people downstairs on the world music floor. Upstairs there was another 300 people. That was the house and techno floor with Peter Thomas and the Sleaze Sisters DJing over there. They were residents at the Bell as well, in King's Cross, but down stairs, the DJ lineup was myself, Don Tyler and David McCalmont who at that time was known as Habib, the African music DJ. We also had a Latin music expert and we’d play in 45 minute sets and the cultural mix that gradually started to come to Asia every Thursday night was amazing. I mean it just became one of the most diverse dancefloors on the LGBT scene, and then what ran in parallel with Asia was Shakti, the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Network- was set up in the same year, in 1988. By the end of 1988 we- because I became part of the founding committee for Shakti, we set up a Shakti disco in order to fundraise for the actual organisation. That became the second world music type residency that I had on the gay scene.


Sunil: At first there was a fledgling gay Black group that met in the back of Gay’s The Word bookshop on Marchmont Street. You can imagine it was tiny ‘cause there were- (laughs) only six people could fit in there (laughs). There were a couple of benches that you could- and it was billed as the African, Caribbean, Asian: South Asia, East Asian, basically anybody who wasn’t white, there was a whole list of it.

Speaker 10 (24:03): When I joined the group- I mean I’ve got quite a few, like, white gay friends and even the most kind of, like, liberal were surprisingly kind of reactionary, and so being in the group has made me more aware of kind of racism and how subtle it is and, you know, it’s extremes and that.

Sunil: It was called Gay Black Group but the problem with Indians is that half of them don’t want to be black. It's always been our problem. It's all coming out now with the Black Lives Matter that half the Indians don't wanna be black, and so (laughs) the South Asians oh but- ‘Asians’ they called it, kind of went off to London friend and- because somebody had come along with a youth worker and he had more experience, so he was trying to say to us, ‘There's a lot of young closeted Asian guys in the suburbs who are kind of unreachable and they're not going to come to something called Gay’s The Word bookshop, and notice something that's called Gay Black Group, but they might come to something that says ‘Tea and Samosas’’ and so- (laughs) at an address, you know, like London Friend or something more neutral? So people would come there, so it was held on a Sunday at 4 o'clock. It’s the time that young Asians could escape from their families and not have to explain, ‘Where have I been?’ So it was the- and then after they’d been to some of these, they might feel confident enough- the idea was to kind of build some confidence. It was, like, chit chat and erm- and then sometimes I would escort about 7/8 of them when they felt okay about it, to the West End and we’d go to a proper gay pub (laughs), and that was quite something ‘cause we would- our arrival would cause a kind of reaction because people hadn’t seen this, like, eight Asians arrive together, you know, so the crowd would just part. It was like Moses, and you know (laughs), and these slightly scared Asians would kind of walk through and try not be noticed but they were the centre of attention briefly so- (laughs) and then once we were in, we’d look around and we would see a couple more like hiding out in the crowd, you know, passing for white, and we’d try and bring them out and that didn’t always get a good reaction, so I discovered there was a kind of race problem on the scene, which I hadn’t been personally so aware of, I mean, I’d come across it in a kind of… People would say weird things to me but they were so silly, I thought it was funny. I didn't think it was offensive. You know, like- I don’t know, people would say, ‘Oh, you’re Indian,’ like, you know, ‘Your people have too much curry. Why do they have so much curry?’ (laughs) But they would say it in a kind of chat up line kind of way, so they wanted to sleep with you, but I thought (laughs) ‘Okay!’ (laughs) So it was… like that, so, but then, you know, it was- so this thing was happening where there were these slightly scared young Asians trying to come out into a scene that I think probably didn’t really want them, and also I felt slightly strange because I began to also realise that British Asians have a different context and experience for growing up than I do, partly because my secondary school years and before that was spent in India, so I didn’t grow up being different. You know, I wasn’t marked out by race, and then in Canada, everybody was basically a migrant.


AZ: It's great to hear stories like that one from Sunil, and also from Ritu and Femi because experiences like theirs’ so often get sidelined in histories

TW: Especially because of Britain's colonial past, certain stories have been white washed out of history, even our British LGBTQ+ histories.


TW (cont’d): You can read these old log book entries and hear these old stories about the struggles, due to nationality, borders and cultural differences.

AZ: Yeah, and the thing is that they're all still relevant to Sami, who brings this episode right up to date for us. Sami is a gay Syrian refugee in the UK. He wanted to share his story but remain anonymous, so an actor is voicing his words.

Sami: I grew up in Syria in the 90s, and I lived in middle class educated family. Relatively, the country was quite conservative, although it's a multi-cultural and different religions live there, Christian and Muslims, but relatively speaking it was a conservative in practice and traditions. Hello. I'm Sami. I'm a London-based refugee from Syria. If you meet anyone in the street and you just have a chat for 5 or 10 minutes, you will definitely know somebody in common. If not a family member, maybe a friend of a friend. With a very brief chat, you will find someone in common because the city is quite small and the relationships, the friendships, the family connections are very strong. Since I was maybe 15 or 16, I always dreamt to go somewhere else. I just knew that if I stayed there, I would maybe eventually either be forced to get married to a woman, or if not forced, I would struggle to be a single man growing up in my 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. Without being married to a woman, because traditionally everyone is getting married to a woman, having kids, and everyone would question, ‘Why this person is not in relationship?’ so I knew that if I needed to stay there, I just needed to act all my life. I just needed to be an actor, and it's so difficult to lead a life acting. I grew up in a city where everyone knew everyone. I was just fearful that I- if I said to anyone, ‘I am gay.’ Hence, I wasn't able to access any community and being online felt so dangerous. There was a website that everyone used, I was told, Manjam, like Grindr, but I wouldn't dare to download it or put it- any profile there. I would just be fearful of people knowing about it. Before the war, a guy and myself started seeing each other in Syria, but we weren’t sure what's happening. We would just, like, touch each other, sit next to each other, maybe just do some cuddling without any words. We would just meet as a friends and sit next to each other and cuddle. There was one day when he requested that I do more and I didn't feel comfortable because I never did anything of that before. I was in my early 20s and then he started shouting. The house we were was empty, and he started hitting me all over my body and spitting on me, hitting me on my face and my body. He would just say, ‘If you leave now, I will shout in the street and say you are a gay man and your coming to touch me,’ which wasn't the case. It was a two way direction. It wasn't like I was doing anything to him.


Sami (cont’d): A lot of people romanticise life in Syria, or they would say there is a queer culture, but when it comes to human dignity and human freedom and rights, there was nothing. It was all bullshit. I couldn't have my rights. I could be killed and nobody would care. That's the most fundamental thing why I don't want to turn back to that place. The war started in 2011, as a part of the wider Arab Spring, across many other countries in the region. Tanks started entering cities. Snipers were put on the building tops. Checkpoints dividing people across different neighbourhoods. Peaceful protests were, at that time in March, April, May- early months- early years of the revolution, but the regime was very brutal to face these peaceful demonstrations, and over time, the conflict become just more intense and more violent in its form. I would walk in my neighbourhood, see the blood on the streets from the day before where people were killed. I would walk, by the time. I know that they might shoot me, so every day felt, ‘This could be the last day.’ I lived in earliest part of the revolution. I never returned for almost a decade now. I arrived as a student with a student visa to UK, and I stayed with the visa for a few years until there was a time when my passport would expire, and we don't have a Syrian embassy in the UK. It’s closed because of the war, so expanding my expired passport and carrying on with my life, my work, my education would be such a nightmare to deal with, and I knew I was not going to return, so I applied for refugee status and I'm currently a refugee in this country. I love the UK for many reasons. I love exploring the queer spaces and geographies in the city, in Soho here, or the Canal Street or the gay village in Manchester, or even beyond these centralised areas. You just see in the Southbank guys holding hands, so it was just so beautiful to see how much the community has struggled to be where they are now. I struggled with the concept of the relationships here because I lived in a place where people would have job and be in that job forever, and people would have partner and live with that partner forever, so there's almost a sense of eternity when you choose, and here, suddenly you find with online systems, that's almost like you are shopping on Amazon. You are- you have endless amount of options of men, and because all these options, I felt it's so easy of people to break up and rejoin other person and break up. The options are unlimited, you feel. That was one of the main challenges, just trying to adjust my mind about what relationship is, and to build a meaningful and sustainable relationship with somebody. It took me years and years to find my place in the gay community here. I still see Syria in my dream. I dream a lot when I sleep, and almost all my dreams, usually in geography, they take place in my city and almost in my home. So even now after almost a decade, all my unconsciousness is there, and I have a lot of family and friends still there. This separation just kills. You have to grow up knowing your country is ruined, your life is ruined, your family stuck in poverty, and it's a very difficult situation. I don't really believe in borders. I just feel human beings should just flow and move in the way that they wish to. I don't know if there will be a day at all without the need for passport, or to be not allowed into certain countries based on our nationality. It's just a nightmares as a Syrian to travel to many countries now because nobody wants you. I always feel unsettled. I always feel like I am on the move. I see things as an outsider, because in Syria I lived my whole life in secret. In this country, they would always see you as a Syrian, as a different. I put some roots here, but I always feel almost living a life as a traveler. I'm a refugee. I just feel like I'm on the move and I just feel like always ready to pack my bags and go, even I'm not going. I like to pack my bags and tidy things up and throw things away, as if I was certainly going to be told, ‘You should go,’ or, ‘We must go.’ I think it's a inherent feeling inside me that it will never disappear. Somehow there is a sense of happiness about that feeling, because I don't have a strong attachment and I feel always like being lighter is a strong thing. I just want to feel like I'm ready to go and it's a very liberating.


AZ: Sami’s words bring Season 2 of The Log Books to an end. Don't worry! We will be back with Season 3, reading through the notes of Switchboard volunteers from 1992 to 2003.

TW: We dedicate this season to all our queer elders, including those who have called and volunteered for Switchboard, our contributors and all those who are no longer with us.

AZ: Thank you for listening to this podcast, and for all the messages of support we received. It really means a lot to the three of us, and everyone who shares their stories, to know that somewhere, someone is listening.

TW: To help with Season 3, you can share your story via email on and if you've enjoyed our work and are able to contribute any funds, no matter how small, then you can support us via the Acast supporter link, in the episode notes.


AZ: Calls to Switchboard are confidential, so to bring The Log Books to life, we've changed the callers’ names. The Log Books is produced by Shivani Dave, Tasha Walker and Adam Zmith, in partnership with Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline.

TW: If you think other people would like The Log Books, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. These ratings and reviews really help others to discover the show. You can send us your feedback and stories to or join the conversation on social media with the hashtag, #thelogbooks.

AZ: Our music is by Tom Foskett-Barns, and our artwork is by Natalie Dotto.

TW: Thanks to Stef Dickers and team, at the Bishopsgate Institute

AZ: The BFI National Archive

TW: The folks at Acast

AZ: MACE, the Media Archive for Central England

TW: Peter Zacaroli at West Digital

AZ: Content is Queen

TW: The staff and volunteers at Switchboard

AZ: And all the contributors who shared their stories.

TW: Switchboard continues to take phone calls from 10am to 10pm every day. If you're affected by any of the issues in this podcast, or need to discuss anything to do with your gender identity or sexuality, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630, email or instant message via, where you can also donate money or time to help.

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