Article written by Peer Mentor Coordinator Steven Barkess
Since 2005 February has been seen as a month of the year when LGBT history is remembered and celebrated with events held throughout the UK and awareness around LGBT issued is challenged within educational establishments.
This Year a member of the Expert Citizen group and peer mentor coordinator where invited to a Hereward College, which specialises in psychical and learning disabilities, to talk to staff and students about their experiences of both positive and negative within various aspects of life and society. By using their own lived experience of homophobia within aspects of their life such as employment, health care and family they were able to develop an awareness of how people can be affected by homophobic abuse doth directly and indirectly.
Both staff and students were also able to recognise how by using the word “gay” to describe something as bad, or in a negative manner, could affect someone who has any confusion about their sexuality.
Feedback from the students who took part in this has been really positive. Following the visit to the college one student was able to discuss LGBT issues openly with staff and pupils and said
“I have a cousin who has come out as gay, and it really helped me to understand” (Anonymous)
Others students have now started to ask questions about LGBT issues and this is now becoming something that is being talked about openly. Another student who is currently in transition described meeting with the Expert citizen as “as one the best days of her life”
The fantastic work of our friends at Hereward College can be read about here.