Prince William Becomes First Royal to Pose for LGBT Magazine

By | On June 15, 2016

Prince William is speaking out on homophobic bullying – and is now the first royal ever to cover an LGBT magazine.

William recently opened his Kensington Palace home for a discussion with British LGBT magazine Attitude and met with a group of nine people who have endured homophobic bullying.

After the palace chat, William released a statement to the magazine saying, "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."

The royal's appearance on the cover of the magazine comes just days after the mass shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub, Pulse. William and wife Princess Kate paid their respects in the wake of the attack Tuesday when they signed a book of condolence at the U.S. Embassy in London.

William's efforts are part of the joint campaign on combating mental health difficulties that he has started with Kate and brother Prince Harry. William has also highlighted the plight of male suicide – something he has come across in his work as an air ambulance pilot.

"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," he added.

He praised "their sense of strength and optimism," which he said "should give us all encouragement to stand up to bullying wherever we see it. You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of."

The young people and families he met explained how bullying had led to low self-esteem, suicide attempts, eating disorders, depression and drug addiction.

Attitude editor Matthew Todd tells PEOPLE, "He put us all at ease despite the fact that we were talking about some intense and sometimes harrowing things. One of those was a mother, Mena Houghton, whose son Mark Houghton died in 2010 at age 27 from an unintentional overdose after years of being homophobically bullied at school. He was great with her and with all of us."

"He said he wants to help and wants people to stop being unkind to each other," Todd continues.

Todd – whose book Straight Talk: How to be Gay and Happy is out this week – got a sense of how deep-seated William, Kate and Harry feel about the issue.

"I was completely bowled over by him," he says. "He was absolutely passionate, compassionate and relaxed. Someone got upset during the conversation and he said, 'It's oay to cry. You can cry and be strong.' " 



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