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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Back to Bolton

Last year, novelist Matt Cain went back to his hometown of Bolton, a place where he endured relentless homophobic bullying as a child, as the town celebrated its first gay pride event and to see what’s changed – and what hasn’t…
Matt Cain in his childhood bedroom, aged 16

It was something I’d never imagined would happen; my hometown of Bolton was hosting its first ever Pride. It was a big day for the town – and a big day for me.

While I was happy and excited to see Bolton finally celebrating its LGBT community, I was also anxious and a bit apprehensive. After all, this place was where I’d been the victim of horrific homophobia. It was where I’d been unhappiest.

Matt Cain now at Victoria Square, Bolton
Photography: Simon Taylor

I told myself that what I was feeling wasn’t unusual; gay men often have difficult relationships with their hometowns. For years an essential part of any gay experience has been moving away from the place where you were brought up. “Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away,” sang Jimmy Somerville in Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy. I ran away from Bolton as soon as I could. And now I was back to confront my past.

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About Attitude

The new issue of Attitude features Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy on the cover, with an exclusive interview in which he discusses life since coming out. Inside we have a Valentine’s special where we look at the broad spectrum of gay relationships, plus columns and advice on dating as transgender, HIV positive, masc, femme, and everything in between. There are also interviews with British actor Douglas Booth and Australian singer songwriter Josef Salvat. Our writer Matt Cain goes home to Bolton for the city’s first Pride, and we chat to our new columnist Juno Dawson about her transition. We also have a feature on the forgotten gay language, polari.