Lesbian Visibility Week: Lesbians most likely of young adults to feel ashamed of being LGBT+
The majority of (79%) of lesbian young adults have felt ashamed of being LGBT+, according to new research by Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity.
In a survey of 3,695 young people aged 18 to 25, lesbian young adults were the most likely of all LGBT+ identities to say they feel ashamed of being part of the LGBT+ community.
One in 20 (5%) of lesbian young adults say they ‘always’ feel ashamed of being LGBT+, one in 10 (9%) said they feel this way ‘very often’, and 38% said they feel ashamed ‘sometimes’. 26% said they ‘rarely’ feel ashamed of being LGBT+, and just 20% ‘never’ feel ashamed.
Overall, 70% of LGBT+ young adults said they feel ashamed of being LGBT+. After lesbians, the LGBT+ identity most likely to say they had felt ashamed was transgender young adults (78%), followed by non-binary people (76%), gay men (74%), asexual young adults (72%) and pansexual/ bisexual people (71%). Those least likely to feel this way were those questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation (49%).
The data forms part of a new report by Just Like Us (the LGBT+ young people’s charity) called Positive Futures, due to be published on 1 June. Just Like Us’ research was carried out independently by Cibyl in January 2023.
The report will look at the experiences of LGBT+ young adults in the UK, covering a range of topics from their wellbeing, home life and time in school to their experiences in the world of work, as well as taking into account intersections like faith, race and disability.
“Lesbians still face complex challenges, stemming from a double hit of homophobia and misogyny.”
— Amy Ashenden, interim CEO
Amy Ashenden, interim CEO of Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, said: “It is heartbreaking to see that so many LGBT+ young adults feel ashamed of who they are.
“This is why we need every primary and secondary school in the UK to take part in School Diversity Week – no young person should be ashamed because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans. We need to make change happen and inclusive education is the best place to start.
“I’m incredibly saddened to see that young lesbians are the most likely in our community to feel ashamed of who they are. I know from working with young lesbians, and our previous research, that there are serious lesbophobic stereotypes delaying lesbians from coming out and lesbians still face complex challenges, stemming from a double hit of homophobia and misogyny.
“If you are a teacher, please get in touch with Just Like Us – we have resources and training to help you make sure that LGBT+ young people never have to feel ashamed of who they are again.”