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Duke of Cambridge appears on cover of gay magazine Attitude

Published 15/06/2016

The Duke of Cambridge has appeared on the cover of the UK's leading gay magazine, Attitude, as he spoke out against homophobic bullying.

William - the first member of the Royal Family to be photographed for the cover of a gay publication - told the magazine: "No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason."

The Duke revealed on Tuesday he would be appearing in Attitude after signing a book of condolence for victims of the gay nightclub shooting in Orlando which left 49 people dead and dozens of others wounded.

He had invited the magazine to bring members of the LGBT+ community to Kensington Palace in May to listen to their experience of bullying and the mental health affects it can have.

Speaking to Attitude, the Duke called on young people being bullied for their sexuality to seek help.

"No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives," he said.

"The young gay, lesbian and transgender individuals I met through Attitude are truly brave to speak out and to give hope to people who are going through terrible bullying right now.

"Their sense of strength and optimism should give us all encouragement to stand up to bullying wherever we see it.

"What I would say to any young person reading this who's being bullied for their sexuality: don't put up with it - speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need.

"You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of."

Attitude editor Matthew Todd, who led the meeting with William at Kensington Palace, welcomed the Duke's support.

"During my time as editor of Attitude I have met parents whose child has taken or lost their life after being bullied for being LGBT+ or even just perceived to be LGBT," he said.

"I am very happy that the future king of the United Kingdom agrees this must stop and I would urge parents in particular to raise their voices in their communities to ensure that every school protects - really protects - all children."

The colour cover shot, taken by Australian-born, London-based celebrity portrait and men's fashion photographer Leigh Keily, shows a relaxed William in an open-necked white shirt, laughing as he rests his chin on his left hand.

Nine members of the LGBT+ community told the Duke how being bullied had led to low self-esteem, suicide attempts, eating disorders, depression and drug addiction.

He was also told about one young man who died after an unintentional overdose.

Kensington Palace said William had been moved by the stories he heard.

"He knows that LGBT young people suffer unacceptably high rates of bullying and he was grateful to Attitude for facilitating such a serious conversation on this topic," his spokesman said.

"He was moved by the stories he heard and impressed by the positivity and courage of the people he met."

The Duke has set up a taskforce to tackle cyberbullying and, with the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, has launched the Heads Together campaign on mental health and well-being.

Research published in 2015 showed that a third of young lesbian, gay or bisexual people and 48% of trans young people in England had made least one suicide attempt, compared with 18% of young straight people.

Around 57% of LGB young people and 85% of trans young people had self-harmed at least once compared with 38% of young heterosexual people and 47% of cisgender young people - those born into the body that they feel they are.

Among those the Duke met was journalist, presenter and trans rights campaigner Paris Lee, who was once named the most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender figure in the UK in the annual Pink List, now known as the Rainbow List.

Ms Lees tweeted: "Proud to have discussed gender based bullying with The Duke of Cambridge. Thank you @AttitudeMag & @KensingtonRoyal".

William also signed a condolence book for Mena Houghton's 27-year-old son Mark, who was bullied at school because he was gay and who died from an unintentional overdose in 2010.

Photographer Keily said he was honoured to be chosen to take the historic cover photo.

He said of the Duke: "Though he hadn't done a shoot like this before, he was a pleasure to work with and we got along well, having a laugh whilst shooting.

"I'm sure you'll agree he looks fantastic. More importantly, I feel truly privileged to have been involved in such an historical moment, particularly in light of recent events."

Ant and Dec, Tinie Tempah, Liam Payne from One Direction and model David Gandy are just some of the celebrities Keily has worked with.

:: The July edition of Attitude magazine is available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude - or to buy in shops from June 22.

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