Voices of Just Like Us

Just Like Us staff and ambassadors, educators and LGBT+ young people make up the voices of Just Like Us

"Time really does change so much, it won’t always feel this way."

As with most people, my time in school is something that I look back with nostalgia, a formative period in my life with many happy moments- those moments that trigger a side smile and warm feelings when coming across pictures of non school uniform days and the effort that went behind what to wear, memories of long sunny sports days, Duke of Edinburgh award trips or two hour Art periods. However the experience wasn’t wholly positive and for me there certainly was a great anxiety about my sexuality, hiding it and how different it made me feel to others. It is ironic that at the age of thirty, the attributes that I celebrate about myself and enjoy are the same things that caused me to feel isol

"You're not the only LGBT+ person out there and you will find love and acceptance."

For all the very worthwhile work we do at JLU, I started volunteering on a total whim: a sign-up link was posted in the Facebook group of my university’s LGBT+ society and I thought it sounded like it might be fun. But I think the reason I followed through with it is because I felt bound by a sense of duty. When I was sixteen and closeted to everyone around me, a school assembly gave me the courage to begin coming out - first to my best friend as I walked home that evening, and then later to my inner circle of friends. So I feel that by volunteering with JLU, I am being that LGBT+ role model I was so lucky to have when I was sixteen for pupils in that same position now. In a sense, I’ve come

Just Like Us Ambassadors want to be the role models they never had at school

When I joined as staff three months ago, nearly every Just Like Us ambassador I spoke to said they go into schools because they wish an LGBT+ role model had come to their school. Many of them are fresh out of school themselves. Our ambassadors have different sexualities and gender identities. They come from rural and urban areas across the UK. Some were raised in other countries. We have ambassadors with brilliant experiences of being LGBT+, and ambassadors who feel they can never come out to their families and communities. Our ambassadors are diverse, but in nearly every case they are motivated by the same desire to be the heroes they themselves wanted to see. Why is it so special that our

"I never felt comfortable opening up about who I was; I felt like I could either be straight or

I think I always kind of knew. When I was young I never really knew what being gay was, but as I got older my mum always said that one of her kids was probably gay. It meant I was brought up knowing that my mum would never have a problem with that, which looking back now had a huge impact on my life. Even so, I never felt comfortable opening up about it; I felt like I could either be straight or gay and nothing in between. If I came out, I'd be branded as a lesbian, so I didn’t want to say anything until I was completely sure I was. I went to an all-girls boarding school which was a hostile environment for anyone that didn’t fit in. In the sixth form, I had a conversation with a girl who tol

Growing up gay can seem tough, but your real friends will stick by you.

I had an odd experience in school; it was neither bad nor good - more just challenging. Growing up in a school in an area where school robberies, fights and occasionally knife crime would take place, coming out or being myself was the last thing on my list. I never had the courage, support or encouragement to be anything other than what people thought I was: a straight teenage boy. There were frequent jokes about the way I walked or talked and the fact most of my friends were girls. It was clear that it was safer to keep being gay hidden away. That who I was would be too much of a burden on my school experience. So I stayed hidden. Being gay, I don’t recall there ever being anything at scho

"You're not the only LGBT+ person out there and you will find love and acceptance."

My name is Lupe Cruz Cardenas and I am a transgender, non-binary, pansexual person. I started questioning my gender as soon as I had an idea what gender might mean. At a young age, I refused to be label as a ‘girl.’ I loved being called a ‘tomboy’ and I noticed that I was not like other girls. Being Mexican and growing up Catholic, the idea of gender is aggressively reinforced. I hated doing things that girls did. Mexican girls are meant to learn how to cook and clean in order to become the perfect wife in the future. I never wanted to cook and clean in the kitchen for the men in my family. I never wanted to follow the rules of how to be a proper lady and to grow up learning how to please my

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