The voices of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people

Lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have the same needs as any other teenager and they know exactly how they would like to be supported.

  • Gay issues need to be talked about in school. Make it as normal as possible because being gay is normal and it’s part of most people’s life because everyone, in theory, should know someone who’s gay, like a family member or someone. 
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • I think adults shouldn’t just assume everyone is straight because not everyone is. All staff should represent all their students and they shouldn’t just say ‘oh there are no gay students here’ and they don’t know that – they don’t know every student’s personal life. 
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • If someone comes out, the teacher should say that it’s fine. Maybe they could say that lots of people are gay, lesbian or bisexual and that it doesn’t make any difference. The teacher definitely shouldn’t say this could just be a phase. They should ask how the student feels about it and also maybe ask ‘why did you feel the need to tell me this’? A lot of people are pretty comfortable with their sexuality unless they are being bullied so that might be a reason for telling an adult. Another reason could be because they need more information so maybe the teacher could also ask ‘do you have any questions for me?’
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • It's best to have someone to talk things over, like they do with other things. Someone who doesn’t tell you what to do but who’s prepared just to listen. It is good to have someone in school, college, or in the workplace to talk to and who can give advice on how to come out. They could say: ’I’ll do my best to support you and if anything happens come see me and I can address it with you.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • Teachers need to be better at talking to parents. If someone asks them to help talk to their parents about something, then they should be able to help you and maybe invite the parents to the school or something – it’s about having that safe space to come out.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • They could send a generic letter home to parents for example that says homophobic language will not be accepted inside school grounds to make clear that this is a safe environment. 
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • Homophobic bullying needs to be addressed the minute it happens.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • If teachers knew about local lesbian, gay and bisexual youth groups, that would help. Most of the time, they don’t know anything so people have to look it up themselves. If teachers knew about a group and someone comes out to them, they could just say ‘oh, you know that there’s a youth group in your area’.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • It’s great if there are campaigns in schools which are supported by external organisations – similar to my campaign with the Stonewall Youth Volunteering Programme. Through that, we meet other young people and form links with other schools where we can highlight the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual students.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • Sex and Relationship Education should be taught in a gender neutral way. My teacher only talked about ‘your boyfriend’. I just switched off because it didn’t apply to me at all. If they used ‘partner’ instead, that could make it so much more inclusive. The gay girls in my school didn’t think they could get STIs at all. Teachers need to know their same-sex sex education so that if students have questions, they would be able to give them that information.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • It definitely needs to be addressed in Sex and Relationship Education and not just when talking about AIDS. Teachers need to say, this is what actually happens in relationship, this is what a civil partnership is.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • They have a lot of leaflets everywhere on a variety of things, like teenage pregnancy or arranged marriage and it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of gay leaflets about. Or if at least teachers knew where the information was so they could tell the students where to access it. 
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • My school blocked every website which had lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans in the title so you couldn’t even access the Stonewall website or look for gay youth groups. This is valuable information people are trying to access and many aren’t especially comfortable accessing that kind of information from home. 
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • Books on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues should be in the library because that way people can learn about the history and that it’s not anything different because gay people have always existed.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • We studies Carol Ann Duffy but we were never told she was gay. And the same with Oscar Wilde. If all students knew that sort of information they might think twice about what they are saying because they would realise that gay people did some really good stuff and it would portray them in a more positive light. It is important to show that gay people can be successful. Let’s talk about gay artists, gay literature, and let’s celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans history month in February as a whole school
    event so everyone has to be involved.
     
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • Gay teachers and staff should be out wherever possible. It’s good to be able to talk to a gay teacher about gay stuff rather than talk to a heterosexual teacher because they have probably experienced bullying and coming out. But teachers don’t want to come out in school because it’s such a hostile environment. Stonewall Youth Volunteer

  • It would be good to have lesbian, gay, bisexual alliances or a council sort of thing. Representatives could then go to meetings and ensure lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have their own voice. Or something like peer mentors – it would be great if they were trained in anti-homophobic bullying work. Organisations like Stonewall can help a lot with that. The more support a school gets from the outside the better.
    Stonewall Youth Volunteer

Read the whole Education Guide Supporting LGB young people.

 


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