LGBT+ young people in North East are loneliest in England, research finds

by Just Like Us
November 2021

Angel of the North statue in the North East, which Just Like Us' research report covers

LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) young people in the North East are the loneliest in England, according to new research by Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity.

Over half (57%) of LGBT+ young people in the North East report feeling lonely and separated from the people they’re closest to on a daily basis since the pandemic began – more than anywhere else in England.

In the UK generally, 52% of LGBT+ young people are feeling lonely on a daily basis, compared to 27% of young people who are not LGBT+.

In addition, a third (32%) of LGBT+ young people in the North East report experiencing daily tensions in the place they’re living during the pandemic, such as arguments with family, suggesting an increased chance of LGBT+ homelessness.

This is higher than the UK average of 25% of LGBT+ young people experiencing daily tensions at home, and compared to 15% of non-LGBT+ young people in the UK.

In addition, three in four LGBT+ young people (72%) in the North East say their mental health has ‘got worse’ since the pandemic began – higher than the UK average of 68% of LGBT+ young people saying their mental health has deteriorated.

By comparison, just half (49%) of non-LGBT+ young people in the UK say their mental health has got worse since the pandemic started.

The independent research commissioned by Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, surveyed 2,934 secondary school pupils (including 1,140 LGBT+ young people) in Years 7-13 (ages 11 to 18) across 375 UK schools and colleges in December 2020 and January 2021.

Half (48%) of secondary school pupils in the UK say they have received little to zero positive messaging at school about being LGBT+ at all in the last 12 months, the independent research has found.

How schools can help

Chief Executive of charity Just Like Us, Dominic Arnall, has called for schools in the North East to send a positive message of acceptance to their LGBT+ pupils, who are particularly struggling at this time.

“This is the biggest risk to the mental health of LGBT+ young people since Section 28,” says Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us.

“The pandemic has been a difficult period for everyone, but our research clearly demonstrates the impact of coronavirus and lockdown has not fallen evenly. We cannot afford for progress made in LGBT+ education to be swept aside during coronavirus.

“LGBT+ young people living with families who are unaccepting or unaware of their children’s identities in lockdown need to know there are teachers they can turn to.

“For LGBT+ school pupils, hearing that it’s OK to be themselves is the single most important thing they need right now to turn around this mental health crisis.

“It’s important the pressures of this time are not passed on to schools who are already overburdened with work. Sign up to School Diversity Week and we will ensure you have everything you need to support your pupils.

“There are some fantastic schools in the North East that are already doing this work for their pupils’ wellbeing, such as Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy and Park View School, and we hope many more will take part in School Diversity Week this year – whether in person or online.

“We have free, LGBT+ inclusive resources available for all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges available, all they need to do is sign up for School Diversity Week, or get in touch and talk to us.”

School Diversity Week is the UK-wide celebration of LGBT+ equality in primary schools, secondary schools and colleges. Sign up to take part and receive a free digital resources pack.