Voices of Just Like Us

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

School Diversity Week launch 2019: Alex's speech

When I was 14, I realised I liked girls as well as boys. At the time, I had a very limited knowledge of LGBT+ identities, but knew enough to work out I was bisexual. It was scary, and exciting; for me, it was an important part of understanding who I am. Coming out was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. My parents were very supportive which I’m so grateful for. When I came out to my friends, they supported and accepted me, but unfortunately some of my classmates overheard. Suddenly, everyone in my year knew I was bisexual when I’d only just come to terms with it myself. People wanted to know more, but they asked awkward questions and didn’t realise they could be really intimidating. O

School Diversity Week launch 2019: Malik's speech

Our ambassador Malik delivered this speech at the parliamentary launch of School Diversity Week 2019 , at Speaker's House in Parliament. Good evening, Thank you all for being here to help celebrate the launch of School Diversity Week 2019, and thanks Taz and Tim for asking me to speak today! My name is Malik, and I’m an Ambassador for Just Like Us. According to a recent study commissioned by JLU, only 51% of LGBT+ young people feel optimistic about their future. School Diversity Week is here to show these young people that there is a light at the end of a sometimes seemingly long and dark tunnel. I started volunteering with Just Like Us in October 2018, and the past 9 months have been nothin

"I want to be the representation I needed to see when I was in school, and again at work."

In June 2019 our partner Ascential hosted JLU's first ever Ambassadors' Day, a day of skills development and socialising for our LGBT+ ambassadors nationwide. As a tribute to the courage of Just Like Us LGBT+ ambassadors who share their stories in schools, Ascential Pride's co-chair Faye delivered her story growing up LGBT+. Faye's story - growing up bisexual Growing up, I didn’t realise I was bisexual. To be honest, I didn’t even know what bisexuality was. I grew up in a good household with a good family, of course with our share of family problems (because, who doesn’t?!). I had crushes on boys at school and fancied Gareth Gates, Dom from ‘Dick and Dom in da Bungalow’ and Darius. But as I

Pride Groups at Myton School

Myton School is an all-genders comprehensive, with approx 1600 students aged 11-18, including 300 students in sixth form. It is based in Warwick, with a diverse intake of students, some of whom come from the poorest wards within the local area. We have a diverse body of students, with 20 percent from Sikh heritage. Simon Jones is the school’s Deputy Head, and Mitchell Burns-Jackson is a Year 12 student who runs the school’s Pride Group, named H.E.R.O (Helping Educate Regarding Orientation). Simon: I’ve been the curriculum deputy for seven years, with a wide range of responsibilities including PSHE and RE. There has been a movement for inclusivity in the curriculum over recent years, and I wa

Pride Groups at Highgate Wood School

Aude LaCroix is the Head of Languages at Highgate Wood School in Haringey, London. Haringey Wood School is a all-genders comprehensive school, with students from 11-18. It’s a large school with around 1500 students from a diverse range of backgrounds. I started running our group in September 2016. I left it to the students to choose the name, and they went for The Skittle Club. I wanted students to have a space where they could enjoy being themselves, have a safe place and know I’m here to speak to them. It came about from a conversation with a student who was struggling with their non-binary identity. They were facing prejudice and finding it hard to cope with, so wanted to talk to me, as t

Pride Groups at The Co-op Academy Swinton

The Co-op Academy Swinton is an all-genders state school in Salford, with 800 students from ages 11 to 16. I work as a lab technician at the school, and I’ve been here for the last two years. In the school, pupils are quite understanding, but the word ‘that’s gay’ is still used. Even though we’re near Manchester, there’s still stigma if you’re LGBT+ and prejudice is still a problem. We had some training last July - two people from The Proud Trust came to the school to speak to us about LGBT+ and key terms, vocab, and ask how LGBT+ people felt in school. The students said they had no safe place and they didn’t have anyone to speak to. It was a shock and it made me think we needed to do someth

Pride Groups at Cockermouth School

Mat Richards is a Personal Development Teacher at Cockermouth School in rural Cumbria, and also works as an inclusion consultant. Cockermouth is a relatively large state school, with 1400 students aged 11-18. The student intake reflects the community in the local area - there are a low number of students entitled to FSM. Many come in with scores above national average, and leave with results above national average. I’ve been at the school for 11 years. They’ve always had a good personal development programme, teaching citizenship, PSHE and RS together in one subject with dedicated specialist teachers. We always taught about sexuality in the curriculum. I arrived trained in Citizenship and PS

Even in London, inclusion doesn't just magically happen

As a child in Ecuador, I didn’t really have access to anything LGBT+ related. I also didn’t know anyone who was openly gay, bi, lesbian or trans. Back then nobody even talked about it in terms of LGBT+ issues, and anything associated with it was just stuffed into a big taboo box labeled “gay”, either at school, at home or with friends. Strangely, I didn’t even have a problem with that, to be honest. LGBT+ was, for a long time, one of those things that I knew existed out there in the world but I believed had no relation to me whatsoever, so why even bother opening a discussion about it? And, when you grow up in complete absence of awareness of what gender identity and sexual orientation are,

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