“This is necessary because they tell us it’s necessary”
Why I run a support group for LGBT+ youth.
By Phil McClure, Multi Skill Young Person Worker at Addaction Halton
One of the people I work with, a young trans woman, initially came to us in year 10 and was having a terrible time at school. She struggled with all the issues you often read about young trans people facing — the girl not allowed to wear a dress to her prom.
She’s attended GLOW, our LGBT+ youth group in Halton, for longer than I’ve run it. My background is in youth work, often working on projects aimed at tackling prejudice and discrimination. But mostly it was that I had Tuesday nights free.
Every week we run two back to back sessions at the local youth and community hub, one for 11–16 year olds and one for 16–24 year olds. For the first half hour people drift in. They get a cup of tea or some toast, chatting about their week. Often we do much of our best work in this time. It gives young people the chance to talk about things that matter to them, as well as for staff and other young people to provide support.
This peer to peer support is really important. Many young people attend for the first time because they feel isolated. We notice they’re generally really supportive of each other and happy to share their experiences. Some topics come up time and again — I can’t tell you how often we respond to conversations about inflexible school uniform policies or gendered changing facilities. Where we can we listen, support and encourage young people to build their own strategies for dealing with the challenges they face.
Read the full article on Addaction’s Blog.
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