The charity is looking for support to fund much-needed Pride groups in schools

BY GEORGIA DIMDORE-MILES, IMAGE BY JUST LIKE US

Just Like Us, the LGBTQIA+ young people’s charity, is launching a winter campaign to raise awareness and tackle issues that queer teenagers face at this time of year, such as unaccepting families that kids are forced to spend time with in the holidays and the looming return of the school term in January. 

LGBTQIA+ celebs and influencers Divina De Campo, Char Bailey, Cairo Leon, Dom&Ink and Benjy Kusi and Maxine Heron have backed the campaign, calling for donations to make sure LGBTQIA+ young people have safer, more accepting school environments to return to in the new year.

While the media often reports life is much easier for LGBTQIA teenagers, they are in fact twice as likely to face bullying as their straight peers and 91% have heard negative language about being LGBTQIA.

Matthew (he/him, 14) from Coventry says: “I’ve had panic attacks. If you don’t have a home life where people are accepting of being LGBTQIA+, you need it to be accepted at school so you know it’s OK.” Another teenager, in year 9, says they are afraid to come out at school or at home: “I haven’t told anyone because I’m scared to.”

Just Like Us aims to combat this by calling for donations to make schools create safe and supportive Pride Groups for LGBTQIA and ally pupils. These are spaces they can go to get support and acceptance, giving young people much-needed solidarity and community.

Drag Race UK artist Divina De Campo has backed the campaign to support LGBTQIA young people this winter. She says: “Straight kids are given all the validation right from the start, every film, every cartoon, programme centres heteronormative relationships. 

“LGBT+ kids aren’t given that validation often, it’s hard to see yourself reflected on screen sometimes. Organisations like Just Like Us help to counter that and create supportive environments for young people to see themselves.”

Influencer Maxine Heron (she/her) says: “as a trans person, school was an incredibly challenging time. This was mainly down to a lack of awareness around trans issues and also bullying. By donating to Just Like Us, you can help improve the lives of young LGBT+ people across the UK. I personally would have really benefited from their support, had it been around when I was at school 12 years ago.”

Donate now at www.justlikeus.org.

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

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