Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘lgbt youth’

LGBTQ Young Peoples’ Survey Live

 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!

    
 
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Homophobic Bullying

Get Over ItI was in London yesterday at the Stonewall Education for All conference. I hadn’t realised that it’s the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots from which the organisation takes it’s name. Stonewall was founded in 1989 by a small group of women and men who had been active in the struggle against  Section 28 of the Local Government Act. For those that don’t know, Section 28 was legislation designed to prevent the so-called ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools. Ultimately, as well as stigmatising gay people it galvanised the gay community and brought about an organisation to lobby and campaign on equality issues for gay people.

As Sir Ian McKellen says “The legal situation is better now but there is still a hangover from Section 28 in schools. Gay issues are not discussed. Gay kids and teachers feel isolated. That’s why I go to schools — faith, comprehensive and private — to talk. And think about it, more and more of the parents who are sending their children to schools are gay themselves. They are not “pretend” families, as Section 28 called them.” From The Times June 23, 2009

The conference built upon the shocking facts about homophobic bullying presented in the School Report. There are some interesting facts in the Teachers report. What I found interesting regarding the facts about who experiences homophobic bullying outlined below is how much gender stereotyping plays such a large part in the bullying that goes on. Whilst those young people who are openly lesbian, gay or bisexual are being bullied boys, in particular, who aren’t conforming to their gender stereotype are bullied more. I am keen to ensure that we tackle homophobic bullying in our youth centres as part of the LGBT Strategy we are developing and will make sure that we pick up on this when we finalise the draft. I am also interested in these statistics as they appear to point to the need for more work on gender. It made me reflect once more on some of the sessions we run at youth centres which have the potential to conform to these stereotypes (the all womens dance groups, the young mens football sessions, the ‘beauty’ sessions) and how we need to ensure that colleagues are clear as to why they are running single gender sessions. An unexpected outcome from today is that I am now reflecting on what further training and support we may need to give in order to ensure that we are not perpetuating gender stereotypes in our work, how about you?

From the Teachers Report, Stonewall

From the Teachers Report, Stonewall

LGBTU Strategy Development (2)

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

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.

One Year On

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!!:)

Courtesy of stuart~'sMy 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…)

Moving forward with LGBTU strategy development

We’ve got our next working group meeting on Friday and having had a lot of input concerning equalities during our recent Staff Conference I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ve progressed from the last meeting and where we might end up.

photo courtesy jglsongs

photo courtesy jglsongs

For those colleagues reading who are interested in working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or unsure youth (or are already doing so) a recent commentator who works here has set up a new blog here. The blog is hoping to support youth workers working with LGBT young people who want to share and discuss youth work issues.

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