TEN YEARS AGO this month, the UK’s longest running LGBT youth group* produced a short film about their experience of being lesbian, gay or bisexual in Liverpool.
The 18 minute film aimed at 13-19 year olds uses drama, animation, original music and research to present issues around coming out, bullying at school, harassment at work, love and relationships.
The message in the film is that young lesbian, gay and bisexual people are equally deserving of support for the issues they face in the important years of adolescence from 13 to 19.
The project gave group members the opportunity to grow in confidence with the issue of confronting homophobia – the fear and dislike of lesbian, gay and bisexual people which can lead to bullying, harassment, violent assault and, in extreme cases, even premature death.
The title ‘Are We There Yet?’ arose from the group’s reflections on significant events such as Holocaust Memorial Day, LGBT History Month, and the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 2007.
Reflecting on the past, alongside more recent landmarks such as the equalisation of the age of consent in 2000 and the introduction of civil partnerships in 2005, helped the group to appreciate how much has been achieved in working towards equality.
At the same time, their experiences of prejudice in the home, school, workplace and community shows we still have work to do.
At that time, GYRO saw an increase in enquiries from children as young as 12 – our society had changed enough for them to seek support in early adolescence, perhaps even to ‘come out’ while still at school.
But too many young people still experience fear, rejection, isolation and bullying because of something they cannot change any more than their ‘straight’ tormentors can – their sexuality.
I designed a resource pack to accompany a DVD of this film, which we sold to raise funds to start a group for 12-16 year olds. The resource pack included 10 activity sheets plus a glossary of useful vocabulary, a timeline of LGBT history and a list of useful websites. The content is a little dated now, but a limited number of copies are still available. Contact me if you’re interested.