It’s important to remember that lesbian, gay and bisexual young people may use any youth provision, not just lesbian, gay and bisexual services and that they should feel welcome and safe at any youth service.
Having no ‘out’ young people in your group doesn’t mean that none of the young people are lesbian, gay or bisexual - they may simply not be ready to come out yet. There also may be young people with gay or lesbian family and friends who could be offended by the use of homophobic language. Whoever the young people you work with are, it’s important to challenge homophobic bullying and language like 'That's so gay' or 'You're so gay'. This doesn't have to be difficult. For example you could display posters or run workshops dealing with sexual orientation. You should also have a look at your bullying policy and the young people's code of conduct to make sure it explicitly states that homophobic bullying and language won't be tolerated.
Stonewall has produced many more reports and awareness raising resources you will find interesting and useful such as our Some people are gay. Get over it! posters, stickers and postcards. All these resources can help you create an inclusive environment and can be ordered for free from our website.
Stonewall's guides Supporting lesbian, gay and bisexual young people and Challenging homophobic language provide practical advice very relevant to anyone working in the youth sector. Furthermore, Stonewall was commissioned to write guidance for the Department for Education on preventing and tackling homophobic bullying, much of which is also relevant to youth settings.
You might also want to organise a screening of Stonewall's film FIT, a great film which is all about friendship, coming out and fitting in. With fantastic acting, music and street dance it engages young people and makes it very easy to discuss issues around homophobic language, lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships and also covers friendship in general, domestic violence, and alcohol abuse.Top recommendations
If you are a youth worker who would like to get the young people you work with involved with Stonewall or would like to talk to someone about tackling homophobia and promoting an inclusive environment at your youth group then please contact Stonewall’s Youth Coordinator Laurie Oliva.
Laurie Oliva - Youth Coordinator
020 7593 1882