Suzi Ruffell presents BBC Radio 4 Appeal for Just Like Us

by Just Like Us
June 2024

Suzi Ruffell holding up a Just Like Us postcard with her script

Celebrated comedian, writer and actor Suzi Ruffell is the voice of a new BBC Radio 4 Appeal for Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity.

Suzi Ruffell discusses the challenges she faced growing up as a lesbian, parenting as a lesbian mum, the realities of being a LGBT+ young person today, and how LGBT+ inclusion in schools can create a brighter future for all children, whether or not they are LGBT+. 

The BBC Radio 4 appeal is in aid of Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity. 

The appeal will air at 07:54 and 21:26 on Sunday 30 June and at 15:27 on 4 July on BBC Radio 4.

Donate to Just Like Us

You can donate to the appeal until 23:59 on Saturday 6 July. 

Your donation will be doubled by a Just Like Us corporate partner (up to £10,000).

Lesbian comedian Suzi Ruffell in the studio

The charity works with thousands of schools and young people across the UK to empower LGBT+ young people to thrive, while educating their peers on allyship.

“I’m so pleased that Just Like Us exists, as it helps every child to feel celebrated and heard”

– Suzi Ruffell

Showing her support for the campaign, Suzi Ruffell said: “As lesbian at school in the 90s under Section 28, I didn’t hear anything positive about being LGBT+.

“In fact, being called ‘gay’ was the worst possible insult in the playground. It made me grow up believing that it was impossible to be happy and gay. 

“Things have massively changed since I was at school but there’s still a lot of work to do. And that’s where Just Like Us steps in.

“They provide leadership training, resources and advice, and they help young people feel that their stories are important, that their journeys are important, that they matter. 

Suzi Ruffell recording her appeal for Just Like Us

“As a mum to a young child, I’m so pleased that Just Like Us exists, as it helps every child to feel celebrated and heard.”

Tristan, a young trans person, received support from the charity when he set up a Pride Group while at school.

He said: “I’m so proud of that group for not only growing into the largest club my school had, but also for the community we created, the support it gave to both LGBT+ young people and allies, and the opportunities we received from Just Like Us. 

“We had members who came and went, but I made sure we had a regular meeting time twice a week to provide a safe space for everyone in what could at times be a very toxic environment for LGBT+ students and allies.

“I wholeheartedly believe that our group helped, and permanently changed our school community for the better.”

Tristan says Just Like Us helped improve inclusion in school

Since school, Tristan has joined the charity’s Ambassador Programme, getting further support, building community, taking part in opportunities to have his voice heard in the media, and speaking in schools about his experiences growing up LGBT+. 

He added: “Having LGBT+ ambassadors is crucial to ensuring young 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.”

Laura Mackay, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, said: “Our research has shown that 42 percent of LGBT+ pupils have faced bullying at school – twice as many as their straight or cisgender peers – and 91 per cent said they’ve heard homophobic language at school in the past year. But Just Like Us is working to change that.

“When schools are LGBT+ inclusive it improves the wellbeing of all pupils, whether or not they are LGBT+. I would like to extend my thanks to Suzi, the BBC, and in advance to everyone who I hope will give generously to support LGBT+ young people.”

Donate now

Please donate to Just Like Us’ BBC Radio 4 appeal so we can improve the lives of LGBT+ young people.

Donations to the appeal will be match funded up to £10,000 by one of Just Like Us’ corporate partners.