In 1984, Bronski Beat released an aching, wistful New Wave tune called "Smalltown Boy". Daring for its time, it told the story of a gay youth who has to leave home to escape being bullied. The video illustrates how he has to face further dangers and challenges of life in the city, even though he finds friends.
It became a pop hit in numerous countries and has since become a classic LGBT anthem.
On the 30th anniversary of the song, singer Jimmy Sommerville has revisited it by re-recording an acoustic version of the song. Stripped of burbling synthesizers, the piano accompaniment foregrounds the soulfulness of the survivor conveyed by the lyrics.
While LGBT movements have made great strides since that time—particularly in the growth of visibility of LBGT people and issues in pop culture compared to the era when Bronski Beat was active—the story sadly remains true for many LGBT youth in smalltowns across Canada and around the world. There are still numerous men and women who remain closeted as well, even in urban centres, despite greater awareness and acceptance of LGBT issues.
The difference though is that now, there are many resources that LGBT people can access and use to help themselves. Some resources in Vancouver include Qmunity, B.C.'s queer resources centre, and the Health Initiative for Men.