Review: Riyadh Khalaf - Yay, you’re gay! Now what?

By Lauren Buxton

A sense of warmth enveloped the room, as Riyadh arrived happily mingling and chatting to  the audience members, before the event officially was underway. Once the chitchat had lulled it was time to begin, hosting the afternoon’s in conversation WoW’s project manager Ciarán Hodgers took to the mic to introduce our former project participant, Lee Evans performing a rousing rendition of his impassioned and thought provoking poem ‘Rainbow People’ celebrating the history, strength & diversity of the LGBTQI+ community, which still never fails to leave goosebumps on my skin no matter how many times I’ve had the pleasure of hearing it. Ciaran kicked of the main proceedings as he introduces Riyadh Khalaf (YouTuber, Documentary filmmaker) to the stage, who received a warm Liverpool welcome.

The natural rapport between them both is evident to see as they jump right into conversing about what it’s like growing up gay in Ireland, especially as a teenager since there was only one place you could go in Dublin, ‘The George’, to experience for the first time what it’s like to be part of the LGBTQI+ community. They also spoke about Riyadh filming his honest and raw, conversation with his parents, his coming out story and their reaction on his YouTube Channel.

From the overwhelming response of this video led him to write his book. Ciarán so rightly said, 'It is a radical and quite powerful book especially for a young queer person in today’s society', as it not only addresses fundamental topics from coming out to relationships, it tackles sex education, which is sorely lacking in today’s education system.