Podcast of David

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Gina:
Welcome to the Seven Even podcast hosted by me, creator and CEO of the LGBTQ company Seven Even Clothing. Here on the seven even podcast, we talk to people of the LGBTQ community, aka sevens, about what they do for a living and how they're living their life to show that we're just like you. So sit back and enjoy today's guest and see how this seven is just like you. Hello. And for today's guests, we have a special person who's doing some amazing things over in the UK. His name is David Harborne. Hi, David, how are you?

David:
Hi. Hi to you now. Really good. Thank you.

Gina:
Oh, good, good. Well, we were just talking about how I messed up the times, and I had no idea.

David:
That pitch black here, over there. And it's.

Gina:
Only 8:00.

David:
In New York.

Gina:
So that's my.

David:
Bad.

Gina:
Oh, my gosh. I thank you so much for. Taking your time.

David:
And staying up late. It's my pleasure. I really enjoy your welcome. We spoke before about your work and what you do, and I've always been absolutely amazed by the passion that you put into what you do and are more than happy to to be a guest on your podcast.

Gina:
Oh, well, thank you. That means so much to me. Thank you. Well, I'm glad to have you on this time. You had me on last time, and now I get to ask you the questions to try to get to know more about what you do on the side for a living. So you want to start with where you live?

David:
Yeah. So I'm actually based in the UK. I travel all over the world a lot of the time, but with COVID I've been restricted to the UK and it's been quite good. You know, it's been actually good to just be in one place for a long time. So I live in the south west of England by the sea, so I'm really happy.

Gina:
Oh wow. I see the pictures that you've been posting and I'm just like, Oh, it looks so pretty.

David:
Yeah, with COVID, you know, at least I've been able to get out and cycle and do more exercise. Actually, it's been quite good.

Gina:
Right. Right. Is it cold.

David:
There? Yeah, it's warming up now. We're going into the warmer part of the year, but it has been cold. It's more wet at the moment. We have what we call April showers. We're not there yet. I think we've had the showers in March.

Gina:
Ah. The weather is all messed up everywhere, I guess.

David:
Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Gina:
Oh, well, that's nice. Yeah. You're my first international interview, so I'm very excited to. For you to be the first one.

David:
Fantastic. Yeah, me too.

Gina:
So what is it that you do for a living?

David:
So my background, I've worked in the health service where you have the National Health Service in the England, in England, the NHS. And I've been working in that probably for over 30 years. But what I've been doing ever since I started, I started off clinical and then moved into managerial director and now I've set up my own company. So that's it's absolutely, very, very busy because of COVID. We've never really seen the amount of work needed. You know, it's just been it's massive. And every day it's a struggle with staffing and things like that. So I'm much more of a silent partner than I work with a colleague and we set up the company about five years ago, but it's been doing really well. We've got outstanding, we've got some amazing staff and yeah, we provide care to people in their own homes and yeah, it's been really a challenge, but it's, it's, that's what we're there for.

Gina:
Oh, that's awesome. So they don't have to be in the hospital and you do home service, which is so much better. I feel like it's like back in the day when doctors used to come to the house.

David:
Yeah.

Gina:
To give you your medicine and see what was wrong and that I think that's that's awesome.

David:
Well you just think if you, if it's yourself and you get in older, where do you want to be? Where do you want to die? You don't want to go to a hospital. And to be honest, hospitals are probably the most scary places and probably the most dangerous places. I hate to say that working in them, but yeah, that's you're far better being at home.

Gina:
Right. Right. I guess you don't realize like it is probably worse because you're with other sick people and germs and things flying around. It's probably, you know.

David:
Yeah, it's, it's.

Gina:
Going in one thing and then they come out with another.

David:
That's it. Yeah. It's. What do they think? Do you think it's the safe place? But, you know, you're there for a reason. You're sick and, you know, and to to be in your own home is just so much better for your welfare, your mental health and things like that. But yeah, we all need to go to hospital sometimes, but where possible, we try and provide the care that's in somebody's home, which is just how I would want it. So.

Gina:
Right, right. Yeah. You know, I'd want it at home as well. I mean, you're most comfortable at home. You want to be home, so. Yeah, that's great.

David:
Yeah.

Gina:
So what is it? So we discussed. I was on your show that you were putting together called closeted gay men. Do you want to tell us about that? Yes, that's exciting stuff.

David:
Yeah. So I've been spending a lot of time revisiting my life history and doing my purpose, mission and vision and going back over my life. I spent probably 30 years in the closet as a gay man and I was working in the health service then. And obviously you live that double life, you live that really challenging, sort of got to be happy on the outside doing what you're doing, but inside you really struggling with Who am I? And that was a real challenge for me. And, and in recent times, because I've got more time on my hands now, is that I've actually gone back and looked at those moments and and I've opened them up again because I'd sort of put them in a box and thought, Yeah, let's forget about the past and let's not go there. Because it was a painful time, it was not a nice time. But I've opened up that box again and actually with with the support of my facilitator, we've reframed that situation. I'm 20 years beyond that point now. So I realized that I actually got through that. I actually came through that. And now what I do and my purpose is really very much to support people who are in that situation themselves.

David:
So whilst I know more nowadays, more and more people are out and you know, you've got the rainbow flags and everything else, not everybody subscribes to that. And I know on your website, you know, more human, less rainbow. And that's why I really connected with you, because actually I think there's a lot of people out there that are still and and I talked to a lot of men predominantly. So yeah. So I look after a lot of support, a lot of men that are in the closet and they may be married, they've got children and things like that. So that difficult place of like, you know, you can't win, you know, what do you do if I come out, you know, what's going to happen to my family and children, you know, and all those sorts of things. So yeah. So I recognise that pain and for me it's trying to support people before they get into a crisis situation because actually sometimes when you're outed suddenly without wanting to do it yourself, that can be very traumatic to somebody. And I have this belief very much that to connect with our self internally and very much to love ourselves for who we are and what happens.

David:
A lot as you as, you know, religion and lots of other things that get involved in our life that sort of put a layer on us, another layer and another layer that sort of masks who we truly are underneath. And we end up taking on those values of the society and a whole host of things. And yeah, and so my job really is to coach people in that transformation of getting connected with oneself. I'm not about coming out, you know, I don't necessarily think somebody has to come out. That's their choice. But at least being connected with themselves is probably, for me, the most important. If we're disassociated or we hate our self internally, that's when you see some of the issues of suicide and other things and the self-hatred. And I can say that because for me, I've experienced it and I know what that feels like. And so I wouldn't want anyone else to feel like that. And so I create that safe space where people can talk confidentially about who they are, you know, talk confidentially to express themselves basically. And maybe they've never talked about it to anybody else. And I think it's so important.

Gina:
And I've seen your interviews with people all over and. It's so different everywhere. People live like I'm in the United States. I'm from New York. So it's pretty much, you know, all is different here. All is okay. But you have people on different aspects and they just they can't come out. They're closeted. There's no way that they can come out. And their stories are just heartbreaking. It's just it's so sad.

David:
Absolutely. Yeah. Well, I spoke to Cody. Cody, who is one of the one of the people that you sponsored. And, you know, so and even sponsored him. And when when I got talking to him, you know, he shared that on his on his mother's deathbed, that, you know, she said, I love you, but you're going to still go to hell because of religion. And and, you know, for somebody like Cody to come out in a very, very he's an MMA fighter, as you know, a mixed martial arts fighter at the time. And to come out in that really sort of macho environment was a tough thing to do. But he did it. And so so you get somebody like Cody and then another person I spoke to worked for the US military and she, she, she actually joined the military before, before the law was changed where gay people go in and she, she actually sits, sat at the interview with the Army interviewer and he basically just told her to lie. And so she she had to just, you know, it was like, that's who I am. So she had to know who she was to join the Army back then. And obviously, that has its consequences in the long term. But you're right, all around the world we're facing you know, some of the people I've interviewed are from Uganda. You know, it's a death threat. Right. Right. So and the rape and everything else. So there's a whole variety. And I want to really bring the diversity of all the different stories out there to people's will, really to to inspire, to inspire those that maybe are in the closet. So to know that actually there is hope that actually you can get through this. And and your story your own your own story is absolutely amazing. You know, once you go through, you know, once you breach and speak to somebody, it's the first step, right, in self-expression to to connect with who you are.

Gina:
Right. It's just so hard to. Some people, a lot of people to accept who you are because it's so suppressed in the world like it's a bad thing. It's not a bad thing. We're just everyone's different. Everyone brings their own thing to the table, the sexuality or our color of our skin, our nationalities, our religions. Like what makes you think that people aren't gay? Animals are gay. And the animal and the animal kingdom. It's a natural thing. And there's no reason why I can't be with the person that I love. And this is my life. And what you're doing is important because you're giving these people an outlet to be able to get it off their chest, be able to talk about it. But it's also showing the world that. Like I'm in. I'm in New York. You're in the UK. We're in our own little houses. And we, we, we think that we got a bed, but there's other people that have it worse. And if they're doing it, it kind of gives you the courage. Like you kind of look at people like, oh, wow, they were able to to do it and they were able to accept it and come out. And that's something that I could do, too. And it inspires people to be able to live their truth. And, you know, we all come out at different points in our life. So it's just nice that we have people like you that can. Do something positive for the community to showcase everyone. And, you know, you never know who's going to see it, who's going to listen, who is inspiring, who you know, what difference it makes which is which is so awesome.

David:
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely true. Actually, I close this ancestors, I think the banana or the banana monkeys or something. And actually sex between monkeys who are our closest ancestors is, you know, girls with boys, boys and girls, boys and boys, girls ago. And it's just not an issue. Right. What I find, you know, one of the best one of the best people I interviewed was Walter. That's who wrote Out of the Shadows. And he talked about the social constructs in which we're being gay. Is that social construct that, you know, is being created by humans. Right. And actually, to love another is just what we naturally are. And I think so what I aim to do with my work is really to, like I say, I use secret gay men dot com as my website but to share those stories just to show that actually once you take off all those layers right. Underneath that is the true you. And that's who we are, deep at the heart and actually to love our self for that uniqueness that we bring to the world. Every single one of us. Everyone who's listening to this has something unique, a unique gift, a gem inside of them. And never forget that it's so, so important.

Gina:
You live once, so might as well be happy. You know, I joke because we have the same issues as heterosexual couples, all different couples around the world. We have the same issues. We got bills, we got work, we got home life, we have work life. We have activities and stuff. We do the same things. We take out our garbage, we cook dinner, we go out, we have fun, we go to concerts, do the same things as everybody else. I don't understand why we need to be looked at so different like we're aliens. It just drives me nuts. And it's like you see a heterosexual couple and I joke because sometimes it's like a really destructive relationship and it's like, but yet you won't let us get married. And we've been together 30 years and we're happy, you know, it's just it's messed up.

David:
So it's a classic minority majority, you know, it's that's how I see it. So when you've got a majority of people in a culture, it's going to sort of create a strong culture. And I think this is why people from the LGBT communities have to sort of connect together to work together, to to stand together and to to create that sort of environment that that you're not alone. Right. I think when I go back in my in my career, in my life, I go back to the AIDS era. And before you know, before that slightly there wasn't the role models on the television. There was nobody to see. And so for me, it was I know I'm different, but I don't know why. And so you walk it around and, you know, I just don't know who I am. And nowadays we're so fortunate that we've got these organizations that are there that's promoting and supporting people from our community, which and, you know, particularly like yourself, you know, somebody who's actually standing up for sportsmen and women who want to, you know, actively be in in an athlete, you know, in sports. And, you know, I heard from Cody that people will not sponsor you if you're LGBT. And it's so refreshing to hear that there is somebody out there that will and it's just, you know, and it's just it seems absolutely bonkers to me that that is still happening nowadays. And I just thought, why? Right. Why is that? And there is no logical reason in my mind for that. But yet we need to stand up and do something to support anybody who is struggling.

Gina:
I believe it's just the. This favorite athlete of yours is playing and they're killing it and they're in their profession in the game. And and then when they come out, we're like, Oh, my God, he was gay. Like, so what? Because you're now you're picturing this person as a different person, but it's the same person. They have talent, they have skills, they have, you know, it makes them no different, makes them no less. And it's just I just don't understand why brands would not sponsor an athlete just because of their sexuality. If you're doing your job and you're doing a job at a high level like that, there's no reason. It's just it's a hang up. And hopefully years and years and years from now, people will look back and be like, What? People weren't sponsored because they were gay and they didn't. They were athletes and they couldn't come out. Or it'll be like history. People lived like that, you know? So unfortunately we're living through it and hopefully we're doing the progress and the work for those people in the future that can look back and say, Wow, that was a really different life back then.

David:
You know, I think organizations are going to have to change because we're short of talented people in this world and organizations that are not inclusive are really not going to attract that talent. And so, you know, for any organization, if you've got somebody working, I can speak for myself here. But if you're working in an organization where you don't feel it's safe to come out or you don't feel encouraged to go out, then you're not performing at your highest. You're working you're working very, very hard. But you're exhausted doing right. And just imagine a world where you don't have to sort of be watching your back all the time and actually just doing your job. How much more you could give. And yeah, it's it's a really interesting thing. And I'm sure there's people who are listening to this who are going, Yeah, yeah, that's how I feel. And I think it's really about connecting with other people who you trust. So you're not alone. People have trod this path before.

Gina:
So what was your your pinpoint when you were like, yeah. I'm gay and I'm going to live my life to the truth. What made you do that hurdle to get to that point?

David:
Well, I was I really got into a difficult situation whereby somebody actually threatened me to out me to my family and work and things like that. And so it was like having a ticking time bomb. Wow, in my pocket, not knowing what was going to happen next and not knowing whether this person was actually going to. You know, it just sent me into absolute panic and. That was the point when I actually got some help and I found a wonderful person called Allen who gave me that place of complete confidentiality, complete, nonjudgmental. And the biggest thing he never he never labeled me. So it was so wonderful just to sit in that place. And I just thought, no, I'm not going to live like this anymore. And that's that's what when I got help and I thought that's when I came out to my parents because I thought, I'm not going to let anyone else do that. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to take control. But even then, I can tell you I could not speak. I could not say I was gay to my mother. I could not say it. I made a guess. Oh, it was that.

Gina:
Oh, well, how did that come about?

David:
I went through well, she recognized there was something and and I said, yes, there is something wrong. And she said, So what is it? And I said, There's something wrong. And then she, I think she said, number one, the gesture. I said, no, not that number to suggest. And I said, no, not that she said is it about I won't mention the name, but is it about my neighbor? I said, yes. My neighbor had recently come out to his parents and he basically had tried to commit suicide because his parents were very religious. And so. It was known in the area about this this lad, this neighbour. And so I said, yes, it's about. And then she clicked. Okay. And then she just sort of went into the usual hippie stuff. All right. George Michael and toilet stuff. And then she went away and like in a few minutes said, But I love you no matter what. And that was the one moment in my life that I just will always truly cherish. And then she just shared with my family. And after that, nothing just carried on.

Gina:
Right? Right.

David:
And, you know, brought boyfriends back and they were called friends. But yeah, that was. And I realized at that point there was a there was a point where we have to allow our friends and family to come out as well, because it's an adjustment for them as much as us. So I gave it time and it was the best thing, you know, because yeah, it was wonderful really. And I live my life just like everybody else now, I would say, right? And never really think about it. But this is why I now want to help and support others in that process. Because I know the value of it. Yeah.

Gina:
Oh, my God, that's a beautiful story.

David:
But I boxed it up. I'd literally boxed that up. Yeah. Yeah, for for nearly 20 years. Wow. Because I think what I didn't want to go there. Right, right. And this going back through my purpose and my timeline, looking at it, I went, someone said, Have you considered looking at it from the age you are today? And I'd realized I'd kept that with me in a box. And I was so scared to open it. But actually opening it up at a later date with where I am today, I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't gone through that. Right.

Gina:
It's amazing.

David:
And that's what makes me who I am.

Gina:
Where would you where would you have like where your life would be completely different. You wouldn't have met the people that you've met. You wouldn't be changing the world. You wouldn't be, you know, everything that you've done. It's just it's crazy when you think about back then. Yeah. This podcast is brought to you by the LGBTQ company seven, even clothing. Check us out at seven. Even clothing. Com for a subtle way to represent who you are. We feel that there's more to the LGBTQ community than just rainbows. Represent your pride through our logo seven and unique designs. Enter in Code Podcast at checkout to receive 15% off your purchase along with free shipping.

David:
So I always say to people, so when people are struggling about What is your passion, what's who are you, you know, what is it about? You know, what? You're going through life Monday and doing the same the same thing day and day. I would say, look back to those moments that you find the most painful and can you reframe them? Because if you got through that, you can certainly help other people do that because you'll be one step in front of them. Whatever it is that's happened in your life, it can be your gift. It's just there's a saying like the rough diamond. The diamond is formed by a bit of pressure and that's what happens inside of us. There is that diamond, but we have to sometimes go through this to find it.

Gina:
That, oh, my gosh, I love that.

David:
Wow.

Gina:
I love that. Yeah. Yeah. It's the truth. It's the truth. Well, thank you for coming out. We never would have met.

David:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And the world is for me, it's about the liberation. You know, the first time I saw two girls kissing. You know, I went to the club and I saw two girls kissing. And it was at that moment, I remember feeling absolutely liberated because I wasn't alone. And and it's so simple moments that just can change your whole life. And as I said, this is this is who this is. I belong somewhere. And yeah, that's the sort of thing that really sort of changed my life back then. Anyway, long time ago.

Gina:
Right. Well, it's not like now where we have social media, we have movies and TV, and it's. It's there's a lot. Shown people being their true selves. It's very different from how it used to be. Now we're watching. I was watching TV with my wife the other day and there was commercials, at least two in the same episode of whatever we were watching. And it was, I forget what commercial it was, but there was two men and then it was just like a day to day. I forget what, what, what it was for, which I can remember. I'm sure I'll see it again, but it's like you didn't even notice it because they were showing all these different couples. And then you just see these two men and and then it went to the next clip or whatever, whatever they were advertising. And I'm like, Oh my God, did you just see that? There were two parents, two men parents? She's like, Yeah, I saw that. So it's not even like. Showcasing, okay, we have gay people in this commercial. It's just it was normalized because they were amongst other couples and you didn't even catch on unless you were really paying attention. Being gay, I was like, Oh my God, that was amazing. And this is exactly what my brand is for is just we meld in with other people, meld in with the world. And it was just so refreshing to see a commercial like that where you didn't really see it if you weren't really looking at it or paying attention. But you don't pay attention to commercials with heterosexual people. And that it just it was so refreshing to see that it was like, oh, there was two gay guys with a family in that commercial.

David:
Next.

Gina:
It was no big deal. No big deal.

David:
Yeah, I think it's wonderful, isn't it, when you start to see these pictures on the television and because it really you can see yourself sometimes in those pictures. But I'm also mindful that there are still even nowadays, as a 17 year old recently who still being was being blackmailed and it's like you can't believe it. So you we're definitely making progress, but we're not there yet. And I think we just need to keep that effort up to to support those that are struggling out there and to because I think for me, I don't know about you, but I really find there's this there's a logical thing about coming out, but there's a huge emotional challenge to it. That and emotions. It's really hard to find the words sometimes for that to happen safely and yeah. And that repression that we can go through if we don't express ourselves fully and be yeah, no. It's so good to see some of these commercials and organizations like yours that are more humanity and less rape. I think I've got it right. Right.

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