Teenage years can for many be the toughest of their lives. Facing the struggles of fitting in can be hard enough without the added anxiety of gender or sexual identity confusion.
Some young LGBT individuals also have the added complication of being Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) on top of this.
As a way of supporting these individuals locally, The Proud Trust have been running a Black and Asian LGBT youth support group. The group has been running since July 2015 and meet in Manchester monthly.
Chloe Cousins runs the group and she told TNT about why the meet-ups benefit young people in the community:
“Young people commented that it was great ‘not to feel like the only one’ and to meet other young people with similar backgrounds to them.
“The group is a space where young people can talk about, moan about and celebrate their shared or similar racial and cultural backgrounds”.
She discussed some of the additional difficulties that BAME LGBT youth tend to face:
“Racism, whether low level or direct is something that often goes unchallenged within LGBT spaces and LGBT groups and spaces are often not very racially diverse.
“There are also fewer out black and asian LGBT people in the mainstream and who have been properly documented in the history we are taught”.
The Proud Trust has plans to run an ‘allies project’ this year. This will involve encouraging straight people in BAME communities to do their part in challenging homophobia. They want these people to play a more active role in BAME LGBT work within the community.
“We plan to deliver training on LGBT awareness and training on how to be an ally which will enable people to learn more about the experiences of LGBT young people”.
They will also offer suggestions, “about how they feel they might be able to use their job or position within their communities to start conversations with people around gender and sexuality in a positive way.
“We want young black and asian LGBT people to know that there are people in their communities who are supportive and who actively speak out against and oppose the assumption that our communities are ‘more homophobic’”.
If you want to know more about The Proud Trust and the work they do with BAME LGBT youth, visit www.theproudtrust.org.
TNT LGBT Natasha Dunn