June marks Pride Month and, although it is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, and the wonderful diversity within it, it’s also important to remember the reason why we mark this month.
The reality is that young LGBTQ+ are still struggling, despite how far we’ve come as a society.
If you or someone you know may be finding things difficult, there is help out there.
BeLonG To youth worker Sean Frayne shares some advice on what to do if you or someone you know is in need to support. .
If You Are Anxious About Coming Out
Sean says, “My advice is to remember that there is no time limit on coming out. Everyone always has a plan for themselves as to how they want to come out and what they will say but most of the time it doesn't happen that way. It happens when it needs to happen and when the time is right for you.
All the stress, anxiety and pressure come from the "What ifs?", such as “What if my friends/family don’t accept me?”
You have more support on your side than you think and we're here at BeLonG To if ever you need to talk.”
How to Offer Support to a Young LGBTQ+ Person
“The best piece of advice for anyone supporting a young person in this situation is that, until that young person officially comes out to you, it is not your responsibility to let them know that you are aware of their gender or sexuality.
This can make the young person retreat into themselves and affect how soon they come out. The best thing to do is be supportive and keep conversations going and make sure they know that you won't reject them.”
BeLonG To Services
“We provide peer support groups to any young LGBTQ+ person aged between 14 and 23 years old. As a way for new young people to get to know the service, the youth workers and each other, we ask anyone who is new to the service to attend our once-off, 30-minute session called "The New Young Person's Project".
This helps answer any questions they might have and to ease their nerves about attending face-to-face groups. After attending this they have the choice of attending our groups which are: Over 18's group, Under 18's group, Individuality (for trans, non-binary and gender questioning young people) and The LadyBirds group (for LBT gals and non-binary pals).
Our website also offers helpful resources and advice for people who are unsure of what to do when coming out.”
Learn more about BeLonG To and the services available here.Support our charities: For information on how to purchase a Gym+Coffee Pride Tote Bag or Water Bottle, with all proceeds going to BeLonG To + The Proud Trust, head here.