Divina De Campo backs campaign highlighting issues LGBT+ young people face this winter

by Just Like Us
December 2022

Maxine Heron, Char Bailey, Dom&Ink, Benjy and Cairo Leon back

Divina De Campo is among several LGBT+ supporters backing Just Like Us’ new campaign, raising awareness of the issues LGBT+ teenagers face this winter.

LGBT+ young people need extra support this winter as many face going home to unaccepting families and dread the return to school in January.

Divina De Campo, Ian ‘H’ Watkins from Steps, Char Bailey, Cairo Leon, Dom&Ink and Benjy Kusi and Maxine Heron have backed the campaign, calling for donations to make sure LGBT+ young people have safer, more accepting school environments to return to in the new year.

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 LGBT+, you need it to be accepted at school so you know it’s OK.”

One young person, a year 10 pupil from North West, says: “The bullying at home affects me a lot.”

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.”

“I’ve had panic attacks. You need it to be accepted at school so you know it’s OK.”

Matthew, 14

LGBT+ teenagers are twice as likely to face bullying as their straight peers – 42% have been bullied in the past year and 91% have heard negative language about being LGBT+.

The charity is calling for supporters to donate so they can help more schools create safe and supportive Pride Groups, and give young people hope that the new year will look more positive for them at school.

Being LGBT+ in school right now

Grace (they/them), a teenager from Essex, says: “I shunned away my sexuality and hid it from most I knew, but by having a Pride Group at school, I became much more open about it and less alone.

“I constantly hear negative things about being LGBT+, slurs and saying it’s stupid.

“It could, quite easily, save someone’s life if a Pride Group were available in every school.

“​​I think all schools should take an approach of teaching about LGBTQ+ community.”

Mia (she/her), 15, from Liverpool: “It’s important for teachers to be supportive because it makes a big difference to students’ mental health and stops us feeling alone.”

Just Like Us helps secondary schools across the UK set up lunchtime and after school Pride Groups where LGBT+ and ally pupils can go to get support and acceptance.

“I constantly hear negative things about being LGBT+, slurs and saying it’s stupid. It could, quite easily, save someone’s life if a Pride Group were available in every school.”

Grace (they/them), a teenager from Essex

Divina De Campo has backed the campaign

Drag Race UK artist Divina De Campo has backed the campaign to support LGBT+ 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.”

Divina De Campo has encouraged supporters to donate to Just Like Us this winter.

She added: “Just Like Us help to counter that and create supportive environments for young people to see themselves.”

Ian ‘H’ Watkins from Steps adds his support

Steps band member Ian ‘H’ Watkins added his support. He says: “We need to create more inclusive classrooms where LGBT+ young people can thrive.

“Being gay at school was really difficult and research shows LGBT+ young people are still twice as likely to be bullied. Please donate and give what you can to help LGBT+ young people have a brighter 2023 – every pound helps.”

‘The last thing young people should be worried about is being themselves’

Lesbian influencer Char Bailey has also backed the campaign. She says: “This winter is set to be a tricky one, regardless of who you are. The last thing young people should be worried about is being themselves.

“Being a lesbian growing up, it was really hard to find people who understood me at school and I was too scared to come out at home. So I spent a lot of time feeling isolated and anxious.

“Just Like Us is making sure that kids in school feel safe, supported, and they’re tackling bullying. If you can, please donate and help to make sure LGBT+ young people feel safe to be themselves while they’re in school.”

‘A lack of awareness around trans issues’ in many schools

Trans woman and 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.

This winter is going to be an extremely challenging one for people all across the UK, and the last thing that young people need to be worrying about is their safety with being the most authentic version of themselves.”

Trans bodybuilder and influencer Cairo Leon (he/him) has backed the campaign and says: “It’s a known fact that LGBT+ students are more likely to experience bullying, and we can’t let the bullies win. So, we need to make sure that these young people feel safe and supported, so they are nurtured in an environment where they can thrive and be their best selves and their authentic selves.

“Make sure you support these young people, they need you now more than ever. So, if you can spare any change, make sure you donate to Just Like Us, that would be greatly appreciated.”

‘Vulnerable, unsafe circumstances’

LGBT+ influencer Benjy (he/him) says: “Many LGBT+ young people will unfortunately find themselves in vulnerable, unsafe circumstances, and the least we can do is try our best to make sure they have a positive nurturing environment when at school.

“Just Like Us is the LGBT+ young people’s charity, and they’re making sure that LGBT+ kids in school feel safe, supported and don’t face bullying.

“Please give generously this winter to make sure that LGBT+ young people can feel safe to be themselves in school.”

Illustrator Dom&Ink (he/they) adds: “I can safely say I hated every minute of school. Me being me, during the times of Section 28 too, meant I felt very alone a lot of the time.

“Please give generously this winter to make sure the LGBT+ young people can feel themselves and feel safe in school.”

Support LGBT+ young people this winter

Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, explained: “This winter, we really need your support to ensure LGBT+ young people don’t dread going home or returning to school in January. 

“This is a tough time and the last thing young people should be worrying about is whether it’s safe to be themselves. School is far too often a place of dread and anguish for LGBT+ teenagers but with your help we can change that. We want to help set up Pride Groups in every secondary school across the UK so that LGBT+ young people and allies can have a safe place to go, where they don’t feel afraid to be themselves and they don’t have to hear vile slurs about lesbians or trans people.

“It’s a common myth that things have got better – in reality LGBT+ young people are facing horrific rates of bullying, tension at home and hearing that who they are is something to be ashamed of. This winter, please help us change that by donating to Just Like Us.”