Just Like Us staff open up about their #YoungerMe experiences

In case you've not heard yet, Just Like Us has launched a new campaign this December called #YoungerMe, raising awareness of the need for inclusive education and support for LGBT+ young people at this difficult time.

If you would like to support our work please donate or lend your voice to our #YoungerMe campaign.

As part of our campaign, we asked some of the Just Like Us staff team to share their #YoungerMe experiences and how the charity would have helped them growing up, if it had existed then.

Our Chief Executive, Dominic Arnall

#YoungerMe spent far too long worrying that I was the only person in the world that felt the way I did. It is a feeling of loneliness that I would not wish on anyone.

I can't imagine how thrilled I would have been to have Just Like Us visit my school and tell me that who I was wasn't something to be ashamed of. Sometimes, just knowing you aren't on your own is enough.

Our Programmes Assistant, Malik Haddington-Ahmed

#YoungerMe didn’t know that LGBT+ people like me existed outside of the damaging depictions I saw in the news and on TV – education (or lack of) played a massive role in that.

Just Like Us is working to make sure young people across the UK are shown what’s possible for LGBT+ people today! You can donate to support our vision for better representation and equality in education at www.justlikeus.org/donate.

Our Director of Education, Emma Fay

#YoungerMe had a great time just being me, but didn't know there were other people who were the same. If Just Like Us had existed when I was at school, I would have known I wasn't the only one feeling the way I did about gender.

Hearing from all kinds of LGBT+ people would have helped me understand myself better, and would have shown my peers it was totally normal to be LGBT+. That's why I'm taking part in Just Like Us' #YoungerMe campaign this December!

Our Head of Volunteering, Taz Rasul

#YoungerMe didn't know how to feel about myself, or explain myself, when I realised that I was LGBT+. If LGBT+ Asians were as visible to me growing up as they are to me now, I would have approached the world with less defensiveness, and with loads more light and pride.

Our campaign allows people to share illustrations or photos of things that represent their #YoungerMe experience instead of a photo if they prefer as we wanted to ensure everyone is safe to take part. So here's #YoungerMe, as illustrated by my younger cousin!

Our Schools and Colleges Officer, Anthony Melia

I know that #YoungerMe would have seen the world and his place in it very differently had my school been able to work with Just Like Us. Growing up and realising I was gay was, at times, an isolating experience and I felt I would never be able share that side of me with anyone.

If I had the experience of a LGBT+ person speaking openly and positively about their lives, sharing parts of themselves that I wrongly felt I might never be able to, it would have made a world of difference to my mental health. That's why, this December, I'm taking part in Just Like Us’ #YoungerMe campaign.

Our Head of Comms and Media, Amy Ashenden

#YoungerMe grew up with a nearly constant feeling of shame. I had a tough time but I know that if Just Like Us had spoken in my school, it would've reassured me that my sexuality and gender expression weren't shameful but something to be celebrated!

Please do take part in our #YoungerMe campaign or donate to support our work improving the lives of LGBT+ young people this December.

Thank you for supporting Just Like Us!

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