Allsorts Youth Project and our community members were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jamel Myles, a 9-year-old boy from Denver, Colorado, who ended his life last week as a result of homophobic bullying. Our hearts go out to Jamel's family & friends and everyone effected by this tragedy.
Jamel's brave mum, Leia Rochelle Pierce, was incredible on this mornings Victoria Derbyshire programme expressing her feelings that young people need to be told that "...they're beautiful and they're special and there's nothing different about them that should be pointed out and make them feel anything other than loved..we are all different and it's our differences that make us equal, because it's the one thing we all have in common."
"He wanted to make a change in this world and he wanted to show people love. And he can't speak right now so I am speaking words he said for everyone to hear, because a gentle kind soul just left this world because of something so cruel. And I want my son to know he made a change for the better."
We couldn't agree more.
I feel that it is a privilege to be a part of an organisation like Allsorts that exists to improve the lives of LGBT children and young people or people who are Unsure (LGBTU) of their sexuality and/ or gender identity.
We were asked to contribute to the programme as we've been working with LGBTU children & young people for nearly 20 years and in the last 10 years we've been working closely with schools in the Brighton & Hove area and beyond.
To see our children & young people thrive in a positive, welcoming, warm and safe space. For some of our young people, Allsorts is a place to make friends and have fun and, for others, it can be a life line.
We aim to improve the lives of LGBTU young people via a two pronged approach- by providing specialist LGBTU youth services and through the training and education of the wider community and professionals so all spaces can be better LGBTU safe spaces. Young LGBTU people deserve to feel safe and thrive at home, at school and in their communities.
There is strong evidence that shows LGBTU children and young people are vulnerable to bullying and subsequent mental health issues, and we feel that positive education is key in making our world a safer place for everyone. For more information on LGBT bullying in schools, follow the link below to the Stonewall Schools report, 2017.
Allsorts Youth Project is a partner in the Rainbow FlagAward, a Government Equality Office and Department for Education funded scheme that encourages a whole community approach to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (HBT) in schools, focusing on the following areas:
“I really enjoyed our workshop to do withLGBTU because it has made me realise being gay isn’t a choice, it is part of your identity! It has made me look at all aspects of life and how everyone should be treated the same. I think everyone should do this workshop!” Young person, 14
Allsorts also continues to deliver our own best-practice training, having achieved a reputation for spearheading positive cultural change since we were established nearly 20 years ago.
It is not enough to hope for change, we should all do what we can to be the change for LGBTU young people and beyond. Everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, suffers when minds and hearts aren’t open to diversity, acceptance and love.