Out Proud And Confident Peter SmithPresentation Transcript
Out Proud and Confident Pete Smith Senior Public Health Development Advisor Public Health Development Service Manchester Community Health
The needs of Young LGBT’s
Ways of working
Key Issues facing LGBT Young People
Invisibility / Visibility Paradox
143,000* pupils have experienced anti – gay name calling.
64,000* have been physically attached.
65%* of Gay & Lesbian pupils have been bullied because
of their sexuality.
*Source: Stonewall school report.
Homophobic language is endemic in schools.
Bullying affects pupil attainment, attendance and emotional health and wellbeing.
Coming Out – Continuous process for LGBT people
Fear of telling parents and problems after coming out
Other minority groups can often rely on empathy and support from family
Many LGBT young people already know that their parents / carers are homophobic
Religion and cultural issues, general homophobia and parents expectations of grandchildren
LGBT young people are vulnerable to homelessness and problems associated with premature independence from home
Can become the defining aspect of school life
Most common problem cited by LGBT young people calling ChildLine April 2006
Friends are more likely to be unsupportive, joining with the bullying or even initiating it
Research by the Peer Support Project in Manchester found:
Teachers often do nothing to stop homophobic bullying
Young people are very reluctant to seek help
Young people calling ChildLine reported being in ‘Catch 22’ situation
Homophobic bullying affects heterosexual young people
‘ Gay’ has become a by-word for rubbish or ridiculous
Research in Calderdale- LGBT young people experienced high levels of truancy, school drop out and low exam results
National Context continued.
“ Homophobic insults should be viewed as seriously as racism. Even casual use of homophobic language in schools can create an atmosphere that isolates young people and can be a forerunner of more serious forms of bullying.” Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families.
Advocacy Homophobic bullying is so gay!
41% reported physical abuse*
7% have experienced death threats*
13% have been threatened with a weapon*
12% reported sexual assault*
58% attributed self harm to their sexuality this suggests that LGB young people are between five and eleven times more risk of self harming**
65 % of young LGB pupils have experienced direct bullying***
This rises to 75% in faith schools***
97% of LGB pupils have been subject to homophobic remarks***
*= Mason and Palmer (2007) **= ‘Something to Tell You’ LGBT Youth Scotland (forthcoming) ***= Hunt and Jenson (2007)
Homophobia and Heterosexism can contribute to young people feeling bad about their sexuality
Internalisation is the process of internalising negative messages about LGBT people
Internalising these negative messages has implications for mental health, self confidence and self esteem
A survey of young lesbians in Manchester found that 43% self harmed, 45% experienced depression and 21% attempted suicide
Research with gay/bisexual young men in Hertfordshire found that over half had attempted suicide/suicidal thoughts and a quarter had self harmed
Internalised homophobia decreases as people are able to accept themselves for who they are
Invisibility / Visibility Paradox
Invisibility is a big issue for LGBT young people
Repercussions of ‘coming out’ means LGBT people often hide
Young people often don’t know any LGBT adults to validate their sexuality or act role models
LGBT young people often don’t have LGBT peers to mirror or reflect themselves or to share experiences with
Visibility paradox – If young people ‘come out’ they face homophobia and lack of support but if they don’t ‘come out’ their ‘invisibility’ justifies a lack of service provision
Inappropriate coping strategies
In the face of a lack of family support or domestic hostility LGBT young people are often reluctant to seek support from groups and organisations, or they aren’t aware of support they can access
Young people often turn to the LGBT community – dubbed a ‘family of choice’. Can be a positive experience: shared sense of identification, reinforce understanding of own sexuality
LGBT community can be mistaken for and intertwined with ‘the scene’ – can be an enjoyable experience, opportunity to be ‘out’ in a predominantly gay environment
The scene can be a frightening and uncomfortable place for vulnerable, sexually inexperienced, unconfident, lonely and isolated young people. Bars, clubs, saunas, cruising grounds can be intimidating and unsafe.
Sexual exploitation, unsafe sex and drug and alcohol use are all potential risks for LGBT young people on the scene
For LGBT young people, adolescence can be an exercise in learning to hide, experiencing rejection and coping with a stigmatised identity
Homophobia and heterosexism make LGBT young people vulnerable to mental health issues, educational disruption and low achievement, homelessness, drug and alcohol use and sexual exploitation
Considerations for working with LGBT young people
Workers need to take homophobia seriously and know how to actively challenge it, this includes more subtle forms of homophobia (gender stereotyping/ jokes etc.)
LGBT young should be made to feel safe.
Young people should be reassured that being gay is ok.
Don’t ‘out’ young people.
Publicity and resources should include relevant information for LGBT young people and it should not be segregated from everything else.
LGBT workers should feel confident enough to be visible.
All young peoples’ spaces should include positive images of LGBT young people – it’s not all alcohol, drugs, sex and the Village.
Sexuality is about more than just sex (relationships, identity etc.).
Workers should have an understanding of the specific issues around being young and LGBT e.g. coming out, visibility, homophobic bullying, internalisation and the scene.
Don’t make assumptions about young people’s sexuality: Not all young people are heterosexual, sexuality isn’t always fixed, young people don’t always know how they identify, ‘coming out’ is a process.
An HIV prevention and sexual health promotion project.
Aimed at young gay men aged 16-25
Online interactive soap opera
It is a social group on face book which people are invited to join and they meet the boys.
A group of young HIV + gay men were recruited with a view to produce a HIV prevention campaign for non + gay men
Issues around creating a clear prevention message while not stigmatising + people
The group highlighted that the campaign had to be engaging, sexy, stylish, in no way preachy and hard hitting.
Why Face Book?
Face Book has over 10 million users – mainly young people.
Enable to engage a large amount of the target group in a short time
A lot of gay male related sites we were able to link into.
Research & Data
Challenging sexual behaviour
Safer Sex practise
Changes in attitude
Changes in sexual behaviour
Research and Data Collection
We will have the following data of everyone who joins the group.
- Discussion Boards
- Numbers accessing
We will through online questionnaires monitor any changes in attitude, knowledge and behaviour.
Advocacy What is Exceeding Expectations?
Exceeding Expectations is a three year unprecedented cross sector partnership to address the issue of homophobia in schools and also some informal youth settings. The city wide, three year, initiative aims to support schools with appropriate:
Three-year initiative that aims to support schools in tackling
Multi-agency, cross sector partnership.
Funded by Manchester City Council and supported by
Manchester Primary Care Trust.
WHAT IS EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS?
Engagement with schools about homophobia
– including policy development .
Workshops with young people.
Theatre in Education.
Newsletters to schools.
KEY ELEMENTS OF INITIATIVE
The initiative has commissioned a theatre production called
Staff training sessions 4.
Theatre in education 21 performances in 8 schools.
Young LGBT peoples workshops 6.
Teaching Staff questionnaires 60.
Young peoples questinnaires 1800.
The second phase roll out will be in June.
I’ve never seen our pupils so rapt in their attention, they were
totally enthralled and actually listening!”
John O’Brien, Deputy Head, Southern Cross School.
“ The production is very powerful, especially the Matthew
Shepherd story, and the actors are very professional. We could
actually see on the faces of the girls, the powerful impact which
the production had on them.”
Marian Catterill, Head Teacher, North Manchester High School for Girls.
FEEDBACK FROM SCHOOLS
“ OUTLOUD was really good and I hope it will make people think
- I think if we all try, we can make a difference. You should keep
this up, Homophobia is unacceptable, and it upsets me that people
laugh and use the word gay.”
” It’s horrible how people can be hurt for just being themselves,
you don’t say nigger, so why say faggot?”
Chorlton High School Pupils.
FEEDBACK FROM PUPILS
Developing work with Primary Schools.
Delivering the work in non–school settings.
Monitoring and measuring success.
Spreading the word…
What is all this worth?
HOW DO YOU SUPPORT THE EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS INITIATIVE?
Advocacy But is it a problem in Manchester?
The teachers say no…
“ We have no homophobic bullying in this school”
“ We have no record of homophobia – we teach love and respect in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church”
The pupils say yes…
If someone was to get teased or bullied at school, what would be the most likely cause?