Want to bring positive representation to your community?
BY KRYSTA MCKENZIE, IMAGE BY JUST LIKE US
Whether you came out as a young person or only started to understand your sexuality later in life, if you’re a part of the LGBTQIA community you know how important it is to see queer people around you when you’re growing up. Without that, it is often very difficult to come to terms with who you are and to know that you have a place in this world. Just Like Us is the LGBT+ young people’s charity, and they have young ambassadors across the UK who volunteer to bring much needed represesentation to LGBTQIA people in schools. Right now, they are calling for 18-25 year old volunteers in Wales who are interested in speaking in Welsh schools.
All ambassadors receive training to speak in schools, gain access to skills workshops and have the opportunity to build a community of LGBTQIA people.
Volunteers in Wales are urgently needed because, according to a report from Just Like Us, queer students in Wales are the loneliest in the UK — with 60% of LGBTQIA young people revealing that they feel lonely on a daily basis. To help combat this, the charity is seeking more volunteers in Wales, as research has shown that positive representation in schools leads to students having much better wellbeing. It’s important for young queer people to see that their lives are important, and that there is a world possible where they have a community that embraces them.
Tristan (he/him), a Just Like Us ambassador in Wales, said: “Having LGBT+ ambassadors within Wales is crucial to ensuring young Welsh LGBT+ people see that they are represented and that there are people like them! Being an ambassador is so rewarding, as you get to be the representation you didn’t have growing up. Reaching Welsh students is critical to ensuring that access to LGBT+ education is available within Welsh schools.”
Amy Ashenden (she/her), interim CEO of Just Like Us, said: “Young LGBT+ people in Wales who decide to volunteer with Just Like Us will join ambassadors across the UK in using their voices and sharing their stories in schools, helping to stop anti-LGBT+ bullying. Our ambassadors form a strong and supportive community with one another, and can take advantage of other opportunities in the programme, including skills workshops, LGBT+ career mentoring and taking part in media opportunities, while also being the LGBT+ representation that is so vital in helping young people to feel seen, valued and hopeful about their futures.”
If you’re interested in being a part of this, sign up to volunteer with Just Like Us by 10 April 2023.
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.