Slide Amnesty International UK / Media Awards AWARD CATEGORIES

Breaking Free During Lockdown

Veronica Kontopoulou – Edinburgh Napier University


“Breaking Free During Lockdown” is a 850-word profile feature, that tells Pedro Lorenzo Menendez’s coming out story. The feature was published on the International Angle (a student-led news website). Pedro had been living a double life full of secrets. He would never wear the extravagant outfits he loved in front of his father. After struggling to be himself around his parents -especially his father- his entire life, the Spanish lockdown provided him with the unexpected opportunity to face his fears. Despite his mother’s (María Nieves Lucia) warm support, Pedro had long grappled to receive any sort of acceptance from his father, Andres, a man of tradition. By shedding light to some of the past but also pondering, realistically, on a post-coming out future, Breaking Free After Lockdown aims to open the discussion about the hardships and intricate issue that the LGBTQ+ community face, via a very personal, grassroots point of view.


“Breaking Free During Lockdown” received very warm support upon publication. From people that knew Pedro personally, to complete strangers, many expressed their gratitude for Pedro’s bravery to share a very personal story. Some of the audience confessed to developing a whole new understanding of how real and relevant LGBT+ discrimination is today, and how even the people who shine the brightest may be torn by conflicts in their homes. The support was often communicated via comments and messages, either to me personally or the International Angle’s media accounts.

Pedro admitted that the process of bringing the article to life was certainly an emotional roller-coaster, yet at the same time, it constituted a bonding experience for his family. He also mentioned that people reached out to him personally upon reading the piece, and even some broken friendships were re-ignited.

The story was well-received on the International Angle’s website (146 views) and has received the most engagement on the news site’s Instagram (91 likes, 446 accounts reached, 78% of which weren’t following @theinternationalangle and 556 Impressions) to date. The story was also published in the print copy of Rewind Magazine, which came out in June.