Attitudes still need to change according to Sheffield LGBT+ students who have shared that they are still not comfortable with opening up their identity in LGBT+ history month.
In response to the theme “Body, Mind and Spirit”, LGBT+ community and charities raised the awareness of the queer’s community wellbeing. Until this day, discrimination against LGBT+ people bothered a lot of queer people, especially the young ones.
Dylan Hadley, the lead of under-18s Youth Worker at SAYiT said: “You cannot just patch a crack in a broken dam and expect the whole system to change.”
Charlie Young, 24, a non-binary and bisexual student in the University of Sheffield, revealed that they were always aware of the fact that people don’t understand their identity and hate them for being opened about their identity.
Mx Young said: “Everywhere I go I always feel at least a little uneasy.”
Matthew Smith, 19, a cisgender and queer student in the University of Sheffield, expressed the difficulty to interact with his flatmates on a deeper level. He was constantly aware of his behaviour, whether he should act differently, or being too feminine.
Mr Smith said: “I have to navigate that space when I first came here.”
The Stonewall’s School Report (2019) stated that 45% of LGBT+ pupils surveyed are bullied for their gender or sexuality at school with 9% of the abuse towards trans students coming in the form of death threats.
Mr Hadley said: “School could be an incredibly challenging, stressful and perplexing period for some young LGBT+ people, when it should be an engaging and stimulating learning experience.”
SAYiT supports the emotional wellbeing of young LGBT+ people up to the age of 25 in Sheffield. The charity runs two youth groups, providing a platform for young people to meet and socialise with other like-mind members of the community.
Mr Hadley said: “We tried to make our service a safe space where young people can express themselves openly and discuss issues without the fear of being persecuted.”
In the meantime, the Sheffield City Council and SAYiT have worked closely for supporting the inclusion of young LGBT+ people. They had organised staff training sessions and set up mental health support services in schools.
Mr Smith said: “Not only Sheffield, but the nation should work harder to fight against casual transphobia and homophobia.”