7 June, 2018

Being LGBTQ+ isn’t a choice, homophobia is.

Recently, as a North Yorkshire Youth Commission member, I got the opportunity to attend the 'Yorkshire and Humber LGBTQ+ Youth Event' in York, where people from the LGBTQ+ Community could gather and share their past experiences with other young people.

Not being from the Community personally, I was nervous to get involved but found that I was welcomed by everyone as an equal.

Events such as this are important when it comes to breaking stigmas and building relationships with people of status, in my opinion. The police attended and discussed ‘Hate Crime’, where they taught young people what can be done if they ever feel they have been targetted with bigamy or hate, for reasons even beyond their sexuality. Organisations such as ‘Barnados’ were in attendance, also: to speak about how they can help people struggling with their sexuality, as well as how they can help people who aren’t struggling; those people who could volunteer to help other young people that are struggling.

I learnt a lot about the LGBTQ+ Community and gained valuable experience talking with people my age about their experiences of ‘coming out’ and being proud of who they are. It filled me with pride to know that we are in such an understanding county – one in which hate is never tolerated. With York Pride coming up, I was able to work with people from the Community and talk to them about their excitement for the event (which is said to be even bigger than last year – so it’s going to be massive).

The event, overall, was successful. It brought young people from all backgrounds in Yorkshire together in one room – where they could talk about issues that they felt needed confronting – whilst enjoying themselves and making positive relations with people of the same age range. I learnt a lot, from a Commissioner’s point of view, and now have a lot of input to share in further Youth Commission meetings in order to help make Yorkshire the best county it can be.

Personally, as an aspiring Police Officer, I liked learning about the ways in which North Yorkshire Police tackle discrimination against the LGBTQ+ Community. All public sector industries are involved in the plans, which is a positive step towards an inclusive county. In addition, I loved discussing the plans for the North Yorkshire Youth Commission as we move forward to support the Community and young people in the county. I applaud the North Yorkshire Youth Council and other organisations who helped to run such a great event; it was so insightful and filled everyone there with pride. There’s no room for discrimination in our county.

“Being LGBTQ+ isn’t a choice, homophobia is.”

NYYC member

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