June, for many young people, however they identify, is often full of making plans for PRIDE. Many young people I have worked with over the years have been part of Pride marches and events. They go for themselves, to support friends and family and some just to celebrate diversity. Only last year, Faversham had it’s first Pride event, with many saying it was the first time they had felt they had a community around them.
This year, there have been no official Pride parties, or marches.
On Friday we re-posted a picture from the charity SHOUT. It was reporting that 68% of young people aged 14-24 who contacted 85258 were LGBTQ+. Of these 55% were contacting SHOUT because they didn’t have anyone else to talk to, with many of them feeling distressed and depressed because of this.
Much as I (Lou, she/her Cis, Ally) miss the colours and sounds of pride, my concern is how young people might be feeling. Particularly I am thinking about those who have not yet come out or who have unsupportive families.
Just before lockdown, our friends at New House had two Be You Projects running. The BeYou Project is a safe welcoming and non-judgemental space where young LGBT+ people can meet to socialise, have fun and help each other.
Once lockdown is over, this might be a place for you to talk and whilst lockdown is on, you can meet with them online, more details are here https://thebeyouproject.co.uk/in-your-area
I am sure Pride Month will return in June 2021 with more colour and vibrancy than ever!
For now, we want to let you know that you are important to us. As our Laura (who made our latest Swale Youth make up post on instagram) says, whether you are out, still questioning, still not ready: you are still valid.
We offer free mentoring for anyone who want to talk; judgement free youth workers ready to listen to you. We also recognise that many young people don’t find words easy. 60% of the young people who were texting SHOUT said it was because they found texting easier.
If you want to speak (text) with a trained and empathetic Crisis volunteer through text then send a text any of the following words to 85258 for free. @giveusashoutinsta
‘SHOUT’ ‘Kent’ ‘YM’ ‘PRIDE’
You can also live chat via switchboard.lgbt
(this post has been copied from our Swale Youth Blog)