Working with young people who identify as LGBT is an area of our work that has continued throughout all the turmoil and change over the past 18months. This is an area that is set to grow however in order to do this we need to continue to identify what their needs are and how best we can address them.
As we all know, being a young person growing up has its own challenges however this can be even more so when when you’re lesbian, gay,bisexual, trans or questioning your sexuality and/or gender identity (LGBTQ) – or at least that’s what everyone says.
The reality is, however that there’s very little robust data currently available on LGBTQ people in the UK in general, even less so on young people in particular. According to recent reports:-
- An alarming 65% of 16-25year old LGB people have experienced homophobic bullying at school in England.
- The rate of attempted suicide is twice as high among the LGB population as the national average
- In the US at least, LGB record significantly higher drug andalcohol use.
This evidence suggests that there are tangible issues here and that they have a very serious impact on all aspects of young people’s lives and outcomes. The data,however, is still missing and the response from services – therefore unclear.
So - the question a ground-breaking new study is attempting to answer by surveying 15,000 16-25 year old LGBT people across the country is how hard is it really and what are the specific challenges that make it so? Youth Chances – a social research project led by the Metro in partnership with the University of Greenwich and Ergo Consulting, and funded by the BigLottery, is inviting 16-25 year olds from across England to share their story by completing the survey – here are some of them, speaking out about Youth Chances andhow it will make a difference to their lives.
The evidence collected will help to inform and influence the work of service providers and commissioners all over England and help them identify how their policies can be improved to address the real concerns of young LGBT people today. So, if you’re working with young people, especially those who may identify as LGBTQ then please, please, encourage them to fill in the survey!
The LGBTU strategy working group met recently and we’ve definately started to move forward. I have been working with two other colleagues to draw together the threads of the strategy and we’re almost there! We’ve also had some good discussions about how we might move this forward and how we will engage young people who identify as LGBTU in its development. As well as involving them in developing the strategy we are keen to organise some county wide events and look at how we brand our LGBTU work here in West Sussex.
Some interesting areas that came up for discussion were the age range of the
Courtesy of David Paul Ohmer
young people involved in the groups we are looking to develop and the policies we might want to have around this area of work. A colleague is undertaking some research into policies and good practice and I would welcome any feedback anyone may have with regards to these. In particular we are looking at age range, location and ‘entrance’ to the group.
At the moment I think that we will be looking at potentially working with 2 age groups (13-18/19 and then 19-25yrs) due to the differing needs. With regards to access and publicising groups, it appears that good practice is to advertise a telephone number and then the individual can arrange to meet with a youth worker before taking part in the group. I also like the groundrules / group agreement format that Outreach Youth have posted on their website.
If anyone else has any other suggestions please do post them or contact me. And for those of you still learning and understanding the need for work in this area have a look at this blog post.
We have just had our youth service conference and it dawned on me that a year ago at the 2008 conference I was so inspired by DKs presentation from Mediasnackers that I decided to start blogging…..and what an adventure it’s been! Today I was at a meeting when someone asked me if I was the ‘billybean’ writing this blog (which they would have known if they’d checked out the about page!) I admitted that I was although I have to say that for some reason or other I am still somewhat embarrassed when I admit to blogging. I”m not quite sure why….sometimes I think people think that you have to be a bit odd or computery to blog, or perhaps you’ve got no friends etc. Naturally only a part of this is true!!:)
My blogging adventure has been a wide ranging and fascinating one and has really opened up my eyes to a whole new resource that I can use in developing youth services here in West Sussex. I mentioned how it had impacted on me in this post here six months ago. I get frustrated on a daily basis that I am not more computer literate as I love the designs and looks of other blogs and wish I could add more ‘bells and whistles’ (Mikes, Tims and Jons are just some examples) but I guess the key thing isn’t so much the design as what you’re writing.
More than writing though is (more…)