“The fact that our young people are still having this experience in 2022 is outrageous”


New research commissioned by LGBT+ young peoples’ charity Just Like Us has found that, dishearteningly, anti-LGBTQI bullying may be on the rise. The new study finds that LGBTQI adults are half as likely to have fond memories of their time at school, with 36% reporting being bullied compared to 42% of current LGBTQI school students. Analysed together, these suggest a worrying increase in anti-LGBTQI bullying, marking a rise of 6%.

Surveying more than 3000 LGBTQI adults, the results are concerning. More than one in five – or 22% – of LGBTQI adults agreed with the statement: “I do not have found memories of school. I have blocked it out of my memory.” The figure for non-LGBTQI adults was 12%.

Furthermore, LGBTQI adults are more than twice as likely to have felt lonely at school with one quarter reporting having very few or no friends. The figure for non-LGBTQI respondents was 11%, with 55% of LGBTQI adults reporting feeling that they had “no role model.”

Sadly, the figures don’t stop there. LGBTQI respondents were almost twice as likely to do everything they could to get out of going to school, and a further 12% reported having a “terrible relationship” with teachers compared to 5% of non-LGBTQI people.  

These findings arrive as Just Like Us readies itself for the launch of this year’s Ambassador Programme, training young LGBT+ volunteers to speak about their experiences and bring positive LGBT+ representation into secondary schools. Those aged between 18 and 25 and living in the UK are particularly encouraged to apply.

Just Like Us Ambassador talk. Credit: Just Like Us

Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, states: “It’s devastating that so many LGBT+ people had such an awful experience at school that they’ve had to block it from their memory. The fact that our young people are still having this experience in 2022 is outrageous. 

“Sadly things haven’t really changed as much as we might like to think, as LGBT+ school pupils are still twice as likely to be bullied, struggle with mental health and are much more likely to feel unsafe in school. 

“LGBT+ representation is desperately needed in schools, which is why we’re asking LGBT+ 18 to 25 year olds to come forward and volunteer with us. We’ll train you to become an ambassador and speak in schools, and you will be helping to bring that much-needed visibility to struggling LGBT+ pupils. Please sign up to volunteer with Just Like Us so that the future can look brighter for LGBT+ young people.”

LGBT+ people aged 18-25 and living in the UK can sign up now to Just Like Us’ Ambassadors programme here: Volunteer – Just Like Us. Training starts this autumn in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and online.

Interested in the work Just Like Us do? Follow them on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. To donate to their cause, visit their website.

DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 


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