AND BISEXUAL YOUNG PEOPLE
P.O. Box 8
In a letter to Alice Mahon,
MP, dated 20th March 2000, Ms Jacqui Smith, MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of
State, Department of Education and Employment, states:
"Thank you for
your letter to David Blunkett of 9 February enclosing the report from ACTION for
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale.
It is helpful to have
sight of reports such as the Calderdale study in order to discover what
individuals are thinking and experiencing, which can inform the development of
effective and appropriate policy.
My Department is in the process of
consulting on the shape and content of new sex and relationships education (SRE)
guidance. Sex and relationships education should not be delivered in isolation.
It should be firmly rooted in the new framework for Personal, Social and Health
Education (PSHE), issued in November.
The guidance will therefore set sex
and relationships education within a broader base of self-esteem, respect and
responsibility, and will give young people a clear understanding of the
arguments for delaying sexual activity. It will ensure that teachers are in a
position to offer information and support to all young people as they develop
into adults and to address incidents of homophobic bullying. Pupils have a right
to develop without being subject to any physical or verbal abuse about sexual
orientation. I hope that this revised guidance will enable schools to avoid
experiences of bullying and isolation described in the Calderdale report. The
objective is to help young people learn to respect themselves and others and by
so doing move from adolescence into adulthood with confidence."
This Booklet has been produced by
Lesbian Information Service in collaboration with Calderdale Community Education
Service; Calderdale Health Promotion; Calderdale Youth in Partnership Scheme;
Dashline; GALYIC (Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale); MSM Project; Sexual
Health Services; West Yorkshire Police.
The ACTION Report(1)
identified the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people in Calderdale and
gaps in service provision, in particular a lack of information. This publication
has been produced as a direct result of these findings.
The aim is to
produce accessible information about the specific issues facing lesbian, gay and
bisexual young people so that workers can provide appropriate
The Booklet is an introduction to the needs of this group and
further information, a literature review of relevant research and extensive
references are available in the ACTION Report.
The Booklet covers four
Main Issues Facing Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People,
includes multi-oppression; effects of homophobia* on lesbian, gay and bisexual
young people; why some lesbian, gay and bisexual people are vulnerable,
identifying those who are most vulnerable and responses from support
Homophobia: The recognised or unrecognised fear or
hatred of homosexuals or homosexuality that is present in individuals
(heterosexuals and homosexuals); everyone is taught to be homophobic.
Heterosexism: Discrimination against homosexuals based on the belief
that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality. All of our institutions are
Once we are aware that we have internalised homophobic
beliefs we can begin to challenge them; similarly, once we acknowledge that our
institutions are heterosexist we can begin to change them.
and Misinformation Which Stops Support For Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young
People, discusses percentage of the population who are gay; homosexuality as
a sin; homosexuality as a sickness; the law; origins of sexual orientation;
identity development; effects of denial; coming out; fear and lack of knowledge;
need for support.
Providing Help Checklist, provides information
on how you can support these young people and a Resources section
provides a list of relevant agencies, useful telephone numbers and addresses,
The Booklet will be distributed to all those in
Calderdale who work with young people, e.g. youth workers, teachers, school
nurses, doctors, social workers, housing workers, voluntary agency staff, etc.
It is hoped that you will read the Booklet and discuss its contents with
your colleagues. Feed back on its usefulness is welcome. Please send your
comments or any enquiries for further information to: Lesbian Information
Service, P.O. Box 8, Todmorden, Lancashire, OL14 5TZ. Thank you.
was originally produced with financial support from Calderdale MBC, Calderdale
& Kirklees Health Authority (Joint Finance - Small Grants) and West
Yorkshire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Policing
Thanks to: Liz North for proof-reading; Pauline Nash for
encouraging me to submit it to national publishers; Russell House Publishing;
the original funders; members of the Inter-Agency Group (IAG) for comments, in
particular Angela Hodgson; GALYIC and the young lesbian, gay and bisexual people
who took part in the research project.
© Lesbian Information Service June
MAIN ISSUES FACING LESBIAN, GAY AND BISEXUAL YOUNG PEOPLE IN
We live in a society
which conditions people to believe that women are inferior to men, black people
are inferior to white people, minority ethnic people are inferior to English
people, disabled people are inferior to non-disabled people, poor/working class
people are inferior to rich/middle class people and homosexuals are inferior to
Adolescents are more vulnerable to these messages.
Adolescence is a time when the 'norm' is of utmost importance and when peer
pressure is at its greatest. Belonging to an oppressed group can be very
painful, especially for adolescents who do not have the support of their
families. Whilst all young people depend on their families for economic and
emotional support, unlike others, young lesbian, gay and bisexual people rarely
receive emotional support and acceptance with regard to their sexual
They have never threatened to throw me out but my
mother did make a suggestion like that if I wanted to live like that I'd have to
have a flat on my own. I can't have any publicity or anything at the house.
Really, I want to move out from that. They are more suspicious when I go out. I
have to tell them where I am going. Because most of the time I tell them a lie,
they wonder about the people I am with and suspect them of being gay. I know my
mother does because she asks me if one of my friends is. I have to live like a
double life as I have to lie about where I am going. (M)
I think it is
more difficult being young and lesbian because you are so insecure when you are
young. Where to go? Who to see? You think you are the only one at the time; it
did for me. It made me so sad and unhappy at the time. It seemed that there was
no-one there, no-one to talk to. (F)
Lesbian, gay and
bisexual young people are oppressed because of their sexual orientation and
because of their age; young lesbians and female bisexuals are further oppressed
because of their gender whilst those lesbian, gay and bisexual young people who
are poor/working class or disabled or black or minority ethnic have extra layers
of oppression to contend with; this makes them even more vulnerable.
I told my mother first. I said, 'I've got something to tell
you.' She said, 'Come on then, spit it out.' I said, 'I'm gay.' She said, 'Thank
god for that, I thought you were going to say you'd got some slapper pregnant.'
I couldn't have asked for a better response. The following day we talked about
it, she asked if I had a boyfriend. She knew a few lesbians from work.
I was depressed when I was 14 through to earlier this year. I think
my sexuality had a lot to do with it and because of my sexuality I didn't want
people to find out, I shut myself off. (F)
At school I felt anxiety and
fear; in the common room, frightened of people finding out I was a lesbian.
My dad found out and didn't speak to me for about five years. I feel
as though I missed out on a lot of important things because of this. ...I wish
my dad would have given me the chance to say what I wanted to say.
Effects of Homophobia on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young
The following information is based on national and
international research as well as the ACTION findings and on-going research
within Calderdale.(2) Not all young lesbian, gay or
bisexual people growing up in Calderdale will go through all of the experiences
highlighted; most, however, will experience depression, isolation and lack of
A minority will have the active support of their parents and
family; the difference this can make can not be under-estimated.
The majority, if not all, young
lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience a period of crisis and depression
before and/or during acceptance of their sexual orientation. Depending on their
circumstances, i.e. exposed to negative messages, without support and being
rejected, this can be worse and can extend into
Going through the coming out
process inevitably involves periods of anxiety; sometimes this can be extreme,
especially for young people.
10% of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people are positively accepted by their
families; about 10% are thrown out of home; the response for the remainder is
usually one of shock, horror, tears, followed by gradual acceptance, but even
then the issues are rarely talked about. Sometimes acceptance can take months or
Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth
are between two and six times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual
youth; they may consist of up to 30% of completed youth suicides. The majority
of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people will have thought about
Lesbian, gay and bisexual
young people are disproportionately represented amongst young people with eating
disorders; this is becoming more visible among young gay men while young
lesbians with eating disorders are remaining
Between a quarter and a
third of homeless young people are likely to be lesbian, gay or bisexual; again,
these are disproportionate figures in relation to heterosexual young
About a third of lesbians
and gay men have serious alcohol/substance misuse problems which is
significantly more than heterosexual people; this usually starts in
HIV Infection/Sexual Health
people are vulnerable to HIV infection, however, young gay and bisexual men are
particularly vulnerable. Some young lesbians, contrary to general belief, are
also vulnerable, as are young bisexual women. Research has shown rates for HIV
and sexually transmitted infections to be highest where a group do not have
access to information and advice which relates to them, as is often the case in
In an effort to make themselves straight, some young
lesbian and bisexual women sleep with men; there is, therefore, a likelihood of
Most lesbian, gay and bisexual
young people experience either verbal, physical or psychological violence.
Calling someone gay/lesbian is one of the main taunts in school. Recent research
shows that bullying of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils is
suggests that there are high truancy and drop-out rates for lesbian, gay and
bisexual young people at school, as well as under-achievement and poor career
opportunities. At the same time, some young lesbian, gay and bisexual people
concentrate exclusively on school work as an escape from having to deal with
their emerging sexuality.
[I had suicidal thoughts when I was
aged] 21-25, also when I was at school but it wasn't as bad. At least 20 times;
cutting my wrists with anything really, overdoses. I ended up in hospital.
...Have also tried tieing things around my neck. Looking for an easy option.
I was depressed when I was 22, because of bulimia. I felt a bit fat
and when I was ill with flu once I lost weight, it went on from there. I wish
there had been counselling available. F
I used to be in a homeless
hostel. ... The caretaker used to make comments about me and the way I dressed
because it is a bit over the top. (M)
I used to drink every day. It
helped me feel better. Sometimes when I drink I don't know when to stop. I drink
and drink and drink. I get carried away. ... Get drunk once or twice a week.
I ran away from home and went to my friend's house. We
went to this chap's house and he had a load of booze. I got drunk and was out
cold on the floor. I woke up and he had raped me. I felt dirty, horrible and
I had sex with a man when I was 15 due to pressure from my
friends and maybe to prove to myself and others that I was not lesbian.
[I got] queer-bashed outside the Town Hall in Halifax... Got beat up.
They called me a 'Faggot' and other names. I complained to the police. They gave
me the number of victim support and investigated it thoroughly. They came to my
home and checked up on me. I felt they did all they could. I was shaken up at
the time but I am over it now. (M)
Was suicidal when I was 16 and 22.
Cause? 'A' levels, school - wasn't turning up, my sexuality and not having
support in my local area. I was trying to sort things out in my own mind. Sat by
the railway lines in Mytholmroyd. (M)
Why Lesbian, Gay and
Bisexual Young People are Vulnerable
Invisibility, bullying, taunts, lack of support and stress at
* Wall of silence surrounding the subject.
Negative messages about homosexuality.
* Extreme social isolation.
* No/few positive role models.
* Discrimination they face
when open about sexual orientation.
* Rejection/negative reactions by
* Homophobic attitudes of authorities in
* Poor access to facilities. This is particularly
relevant to those who live in areas like Calderdale.
* Emphasis on
alcohol, drugs and sex on gay 'scene.'
* Forced to become independent
too early and without the necessary skills.
* Lack of opportunities to
develop peer group support.
* Lack of access to accurate
When I was 12-15 I'd have suicidal thoughts due to
my sexuality. Not out as a lesbian. No-one for support. ... If we had
information in schools then I don't think I would have got into that situation.
Not enough support and information available. This contributes to
mental health disorders and suicide problems. (M)
There are a lot of bad
things said about homosexuals. "The Sun" wrote that all homo-sexuals are
perverts - people will believe this. We banned it at work because of this.
When I went for an HIV test the doctor wasn't particularly helpful. I
had to see a counsellor and she was very good and helpful. When I went through
to see the doctor he was horrible. He made me feel like dirt. Very unfriendly
and I found this the worst part. He was very blunt and disapproving it was
awful. In total it made me feel in the wrong for having gay sex.
* Adolescence is a vulnerable time for all young people but
particularly for homosexual youth as it often coincides with awareness of sexual
* Bleak outlook for the future.
* Despair of being
unable to meet others like themselves.
* Emotional stress about being
homosexual when everything around them tells them that it is wrong.
Feel separated affectionally and emotionally from others, especially from
* Feel alone in every social situation with family, peers, in
* Pressure of trying to hide their sexuality: feel they
need to be vigilant at all times, increasing their emotional distance.
Trying to force themselves to be heterosexual.
* Guilt caused through
religious beliefs that homosexuality is a sin.
* Guilt caused through
breaking the law.
* Low self-esteem.
I wanted to put
myself down a lot. I wasn't doing very well at school. I found it difficult to
come out. I was 15/16 and I didn't like myself at all; I wasn't happy with my
appearance or personality. (M)
I did have problems accepting my
sexuality. I can't put my finger on it. It is difficult. A lot of it is born out
of feeling bad about it. You hear all the bad messages about it - everything is
I used to think it was a defect. I just think it is not the
dominant sexuality so it is classed as abnormal.
Those Who Are Most Vulnerable
Not all young lesbian, gay and bisexual
people are vulnerable to all of the above. Those most vulnerable
* those who remain isolated and without support
who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual at an early age
* those who are
gender non-conforming (butch/sissy)
* those who belong to other minority
* those who come from poor backgrounds
* those who
I would like to be able to contact other
people. It can be very isolating being young and lesbian. (F)
I was on a
paper round and was harassed by people in the same year at school. I was bullied
by my friend at school. My brother used to bully me too. Then again, at school,
by older children. It was mainly verbal. I got beat up once. [I didn't complain]
you are expected to stick up for yourself. (M)
I felt very isolated as
though there was nobody at all and when I did contact a service they couldn't
help me. I just felt at a loss. It made me feel terrible.
Responses from Support Systems
intervention by agencies such as the youth service, education service,
counselling services, doctors, nurses, could significantly reduce the effects of
homophobia but, all too often responses from these agencies are either
inadequate or homophobic.
Whilst a few lesbian, gay and bisexual young
people in Calderdale will have had positive experiences from individual workers
within voluntary and statutory agencies, it is important to stress that this
support is extremely limited and, with the exception of a handful of
organisations, is often only available from one or two individuals within an
The current picture facing lesbian, gay and bisexual young
people in Calderdale is, on the whole, depressing and sad. It is up to us all
to change this.
Production and distribution of this Booklet,
funded by Calderdale MBC and Calderdale and Kirklees Health Authority, is an
acknowledgment that services within Calderdale need to be improved. It is hoped
that this Booklet will, as the Department of Health recommends (back page)
"promote open discussion....which can help to influence professional opinion and
service practice" and will enable agencies to
- make their services more
- be more responsive to the needs of lesbian, gay and
bisexual young people and that they will
- provide clear information on
topics which lesbian, gay and bisexual young people see as
I went for a smear test. The doctor was talking
about sleeping with men - I never told her that I didn't. (F)
[I came out
to my doctor] when I said I had a drink problem about five years ago. Didn't get
much response but they did want to help me with my drinking problem. Sent me to
see a psychiatrist but I didn't feel it was the right thing for being gay. I
didn't open up much as he said it was probably a phase. Talked more about my
childhood and asked if I had been abused. Didn't have much information about my
sexuality. No link between my sexuality and drinking problem. Didn't get much
help at all. Didn't go back. Maybe counselling would have been better not a
psychiatrist. [I] did not seem to get the help I wanted at
BELIEFS AND MISINFORMATION WHICH STOPS SUPPORT FOR LESBIAN, GAY AND
BISEXUAL YOUNG PEOPLE
"There are no lesbian, gay or bisexual
youth in Calderdale."
Between 5% to 10% of all adolescents may be
lesbian, gay or bisexual.(4) This means that there are likely to be
between 1,410 to 2,820 lesbian, gay and bisexual young people aged between 13
and 25 years living in Calderdale.(5)
Few of these young people
are visible because they dare not be open about their sexual orientation and are
unable to discuss it with their friends, family, school or work mates. This is
1. Young lesbian, gay and bisexual people fear rejection should
they be found out and
2. There is very little specific support in
Calderdale directed at those young people who identify as lesbian, gay or
Without an acknowledgement of their existance it is hardly
surprising that this group of young people are invisible. It is young
lesbian, gay and bisexual people who are most isolated and without support who
are most at risk.
Growing up in a small town I felt I was
in complete isolation, it was depressing. (F)
It's a small rural area and
everybody knows you. I used to feel that you really have to make the effort to
find a girlfriend and that. I felt scared. I suppose it made me want to 'blend
in' as much as I could, I felt that everything was outside of Halifax and there
was nobody there for me in Halifax. (M)
When I was coming out there was
nothing for me, nothing that I could relate to. I was angry, nowhere for lesbian
or gay people to go. (M)
I think more leaflets should be made available
in public places, especially in the Education Department.
"I cannot support a young person who comes to me
and tells me that he/she is gay because my religion tells me it is a
It is true that several religions still condemn
homosexuality as sinful whilst others are more accepting. Some say it is okay to
be homosexual but not to practice it (i.e. love the sinner but not the sin).
However, most of these religions are based on ethical codes which were written
over 2,000 years ago; they may have served a useful purpose then (e.g. emphasis
on procreation within marriage) but few of these codes are adhered in their
entirety now. For example, men should not shave or cut their hair; you should
not wear a garment that consists of both wool and linen; divorced persons who
remarrry should be put to death, and so on.
In any discussion about
religion and sexuality there is debate. What cannot be disputed is that there
are lesbian, gay and bisexual people in all faith communities and that there is
debate as to how these people should be treated.
It has also to be
recognised that there are many caring individuals within faith communities who
show considerable care and courage in supporting lesbian, gay and bisexual
people because they do not believe that it is wrong.
This Booklet is
about workers and the service they provide. If a worker's religious views
prevents them from supporting a lesbian, gay or bisexual young person in a
positive and accepting way then they should refer them to someone else who
Can you deny these young people the right to grow up with a
positive self identity? Can you perpetuate homophobic attitudes, beliefs and
behaviour which inevitably causes pain, hurt and sometimes
I did go and see a priest and all he said was as
long as you haven't done anything we don't mind people who are gay.' Something
like that. Kind of negative. (M)
I had a friend who knew I was gay and
when she became a Jehovah Witness she decided not to talk to me anymore because
her religion told her that you make yourself what you become. A gay is not born
a gay he becomes a gay. That was her indoctrination and she followed that. It
makes me feel angry and annoyed. I feel that I should have the right to have a
religion and no-one should have the right to take that religion away from me.
My family ... are Catholic. Catholics think it is an abomination
basically. It makes me feel that if that is the view of one person it shouldn't
come down to this. ... My grandma is very Catholic and rejected me a bit for me
being a lesbian. She has mellowed a lot now. She is very strict Irish Catholic.
"It's a Sickness"
condemned when it was believed that it was simply a sexual act people chose to
pursue. In the late 19th century it was recognised that homosexuality was an
integral part of a person's make-up (and therefore could not be a sin). However,
homosexuality as a sin was now replaced/juxtaposed by the belief that it was a
sickness which, with the right kind of therapy, could be cured.
evidence which strongly suggests that one's sexual orientation can never be
changed (it is possible to change lifestyle, public identity and behaviour but
not one's sexual orientation) and despite the majority of medical expertise
agreeing with this, there are still some therapists, in particular those who are
religious, who believe that they can help lesbian, gay and bisexual people
become heterosexual. Not only is this impossible but it is likely to result in
serious mental health problems.(6)
In 1999 the American
Psychoanalytic Association financed a comprehensive review of scientific
research on homosexuality. It concluded that "there is no evidence that any form
of therapy, including psychoanalysis and the Christian therapies, can change
sexual orientation." It also concluded that "homosexuality is not associated
with psychopathology in any way."(7)
A cure is only needed when
there is a problem. Homosexuality should be seen as simply one of a range of
sexualities, alongside bisexuality and heterosexuality, which is equal but
[I did come out] to one doctor once. I don't
know if it is on my records. I had just had enough and I was having panic
attacks. I asked for testosterone to try and turn me straight. He talked to me
for ages. He was really kind. I was shocked. It made me feel free to talk. My
doctor was trying to convince me that I could be straight. I told him I was
bisexual. He asked me about girls. I told him I wanted to be straight. I don't
think he understood. It did help to talk but I think I helped myself which is
what you should be doing. (M)
"I'd like to support them
but my organisation say that this is illegal under section
Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 states that 'a
local authority shall not intentionally promote homosexuality' nor shall it
'promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of
homosexuality as a pretend family relationship.' What does 'intentionally
promote' mean? Does it mean someone saying that homosexuality is better than
heterosexuality? How does the discussion of homosexuality compare with the
frequent manifestation of heterosexuality in provision of services, media,
education, law, public places, religious services, etc?
'pretend family' mean? The majority of lesbian and gay people grow up in real
families; children of lesbian and gay people grow up in real families: lesbian,
gay and bisexual people in Calderdale grow up in real families.
Government circulars insist that teachers can still talk about
homosexuality and support lesbian, gay and bisexual young people, that local
authorities can fund lesbian and gay support groups and activities. Other
policies have specifically included lesbian and gay people (e.g. The Children's
Act, 1991; Health of the Nation, 1992).
In effect, however, section 28
has been very successful in that it has been used by some local authorities to
refuse to fund lesbian/gay support groups. Furthermore, teachers who are
confused about the law have been unsupportive when young people have approached
them with concerns about their sexual orientation.
It is likely that
section 28 will be repealed and new guidance is to be given to schools about Sex
and Relationships in Education (16th March 2000 DfEE Draft consultation document
- see inner front page, letter from Department of Education and
The new Human Rights Act, which becomes part of the British
constitution in October 2000, means that local authorities will, by law, have to
provide equal services to everyone. "Equal rights before the law" is a basic
tenet of the new Act, as is the "right not to be discriminated
The law prohibiting the promotion of
homosexuality by local authorities affected me as there was no information made
available in schools where I live. There was a complete lack of information.
[Being at school] made me suppress a lot more than just my sexuality.
It made me aloof. When we did sex education it put pressure on me to be
heterosexual. The pressure was on. [I] bottled up [my feelings].
There was never anything mentioned about it at school. Nothing on the
notice board. No-one to talk to. It makes me feel really disappointed. School is
supposed to make people prepared for life. (F)
The biggest thing for me
would be more information available at school. Personally, that would have
helped me. (F)
My concern really is the rule that you are
not allowed to promote sexual health, section 28. They have created a problem
because the help and support wasn't there. I am an example of that. They don't
have to promote it, they can talk about it at least. There should be something
done around religion. The door is shut. (M)
people who say they are lesbian or gay are really confused. It is a phase that
most young people go through. You cannot know that you are gay until you are at
least 25 years old."
It is likely that one's sexual
orientation is present from early childhood and has a strong biological
basis although environmental factors may also contribute. The origin of
homosexuality remains unclear, however, most experts believe that sexual
orientation is not a choice. Negative experiences like sexual abuse or
dysfunctioning parenting are not shown to influence sexual
One's sexual identity (i.e. that which we
believe we are - either homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual) evolves
over time and depends on various factors.
In other words, it is likely
that we are born with our sexual orientation, be it homo- hetero- or bi-
sexuality which means we are sexually and emotionally attracted to either
members of our own sex, the opposite sex, or both sexes. However, depending on
our own, individual circumstances, we may or may not develop a homosexual
(heterosexual or bisexual) identity.
Several models have been developed
to help us understand the stages homosexual young people may go through in
developing their sexual identity.(10) These include the following four
1: Sensitization and awareness
Lesbian and gay young
people often begin to feel that they are 'different' from their peers before
puberty; this sometimes takes the form of gender non-conformity e.g. boys
playing with girls toys and vice-versa.
2: Identity confusion
With the development of same-sex thoughts and feelings after puberty,
many realise that the 'difference' is that they are lesbian/gay. However,
because of negative images of homosexuality and lack of positive role models and
accurate information, these young people are often confused: they respond by
developing coping behaviours, hiding their homosexuality or developing a
3: Identity assumption
adolescence or early adulthood they begin to acknowledge to themselves that they
are lesbian or gay and start to tell other people (come out). With access to
peer support, positive role models, accurate information and positive
experiences, the self-esteem of these young people begins to strengthen and
negative stereotypes are dispelled. They begin to learn different ways to manage
their stigmatised identity. This can take several years.
Finally, sexual identity is incorporated into all aspects of one's life,
people share their identity more and more with non-gay friends; this usually
happens during adulthood. Not all lesbians and gay men consolidate their
identity; this depends on access to support and positive role models, personal
strengths and vulnerabilities and experiences of discrimination.
important for workers to understand that by telling a young person that 'It's
just a phase," they can severely damage the development
[I first felt different when I was 8]. Me and my
friends were looking through my dad's porno magazine and I was looking at women
and my friend said, 'Hey, you're not supposed to be looking at them.' That's all
I can remember. I remember actually kissing my best friend when I was about
thirteen. We were pretending to be boy and girl at the time. I suppressed my
feelings. I was 16 or 17 when I first admitted it to myself. (F)
was eight when I thought I was different. I put a name to these feelings at
secondary school when I was about 12. (M)
I always played with girls and
girls' toys when I was younger; my parents pressurised me to be more masculine
when I got a bit older. (M)
I was 7 when I first thought I was different
but I didn't come out until I was 18. I did have problems accepting my sexual
orientation because of the negative attitude of my parents who I would describe
as being homophobic and not liking anyone gay. That, and all the people at
school made me feel that I don't want to be someone that nobody likes. That is
what has caused it, other people's opinions. (M)
I had my first kiss with
a girl when I was 8 and then I blocked it out of my mind and refused the word
lesbian. I was homophobic really. Then when I was around 13 or 14 I just
thought, 'No. I do like girls, but I like boys as well.' Thought I was bisexual
then, but I never told anyone about it. (F)
I knew I was
gay but I just didn't want to come out. (F)
I've not lived my life yet.
I'm still going through school and I've yet to go to university and I know that
it is hard to be accepted... I'm glad really that I had the support when I first
accepted myself. I accepted myself a couple of years after really thinking about
it. I always thought I was bisexual. I'm glad I had the support there as I don't
really think I would have been able to cope. (F)
When I was around 17 I
had sleepless nights just thinking about it. I didn't want to be and I had not
experienced gay sex as such. I was just trying to accept that that is what I was
destined for. I couldn't accept it at first. (M)
I don't think I ever had
any great problems accepting my sexual orientation as I have had the support
from the start otherwise I think I would be still in denial.
"It is dangerous to accept that these young people
are gay because that only encourages them to become gay. They could regret that
for the rest of their lives."
There are very few people
who come out as lesbian, gay or bisexual in their youth and then decide later
they are heterosexual. There are tens of thousands, however, who do not
come out, who try to suppress their true sexual orientation and who suffer the
consequences of this.
Until lesbian, gay and bisexual people reach stage
3, of the identity process - identity assumption - they are highly vulnerable.
It is not surprising that many people do not arrive at this stage.
initial realisation of one's homosexuality usually creates great inner conflict
- who wants to be this person that, it seems, everyone hates, this pervert, this
sinner, this sick person...? The constant message that homosexuality is wrong
leads to these young people feeling extremely isolated, lonely, depressed and,
The most common factor which leads to identity
assumption and acceptance is contact with other lesbian, gay and bisexual people
and support from the larger lesbian, gay and bisexual community. In areas like
Calderdale, where there is little visible community, this does not always
Until young lesbian, gay and bisexual people make contact with
other lesbian, gay and bisexual people they are likely to remain extremely
isolated and lonely. Without positive role models, accurate information and
appropriate support they are more likely to regard themselves negatively. This
can then create a whole range of mental health problems including depression,
anxiety, attempted suicide, eating disorders, alcohol and drug abuse.
In circumstances like these support, acceptance and understanding
from parents and friends can help significantly. If this is not forthcoming then
the support of workers is critical.
[I had problems
accepting my sexuality]. Meeting guys and pretending. Drinking gave me more
confidence at the time to pretend to be heterosexual. It made me a lot more
confident really. (F)
Personally I wouldn't wish it on anyone as I
wouldn't want them to go through what I have been through. Some people are gay
and happy and I envy that. If I had a choice I wish I had been a woman or been
straight....I feel that sometimes I can't defend my sexuality as I have problems
with it, but that has come about as I didn't have the support and the negative
input - how do you get round that one? (M)
The more I realised I was gay
the less I liked it and wanted the wife and children and all that kind of stuff.
I suppose I pretended to be someone else going out with loads of men
just trying to be accepted by friends and family, to be one of the crowd.
"Why do they have to tell everyone? Why can't they
keep it private?"
Heterosexuality is expressed everyday in many
ways. For example, simple conversations at work include references to family,
friends, weekend trips; photos of partners are often displayed on desks.
Heterosexual couples walk down the street holding hands. When a loved one is in
hospital, heterosexual partners are acknowledged by hospital staff and are able
to express their affection by holding hands, hugging. Some heterosexual couples
express their love for each other by getting engaged and married, when their
relationship not only receives the blessing of their faith and families but it
is also legally recognised.
By not expressing who we are - in the same
way that heterosexuals express who they are - we are harming ourselves: we are
lying about who we are, we are denying the very core of our being. We are being
forced to remain isolated and invisible. We are being forced to hate
Coming out, or telling people about our sexual orientation, is
probably the most self-empowering act a lesbian, gay or bisexual person can do
because it begins the process of getting rid of internalised self-hatred and
replacing it with self-love.
The early part of coming out can be a
highly dangerous time when rejection could mean a return to self-denial. It is
imperative that it is the individual's choice to come out.
someone to deal with the negative responses of others whilst they are still in a
period of inner conflict is highly dangerous. It can result in acute crisis and
possibly major psychological problems including suicide. As well as damaging the
young persons identity development process this can result in verbal or physical
abuse, ostracism, condemnation, rejection by family and sometimes being thrown
out of home.
Ideally a lesbian, gay or bisexual person must first accept
who they are (and feel good about this), read accurate information, acquire a
network of support and gradually, as and when appropriate, come out first to
friends then supportive siblings and then parents - but only as and when it is
safe to do so. Patience, understanding and support is what is most needed
when a young person is going through this process.
himself into a state. He got into a bad crowd and did heroin. He's dead now. He
shot himself. (M)
As lesbians you can't act like a normal couple because
you would get strange looks and that. (F)
I pass as heterosexual at
school - only for my own protection and in a pub, for example, as it is more
acceptable. Passing can be mentally bad as you are lying to yourself; this can
be quite damaging. (F)
If you pretend to be heterosexual you are building
a barrier up; there will always be a false wall there and a false image which
you are trying to put on. (M)
I pass as heterosexual most of the time, at
work and when I go out.
Sometimes I go into my shell because really I am
pretending. When I actually talk to gay friends I know I tend to let everything
out but when I am with my straight friends I don't let my whole self out.
"If I give support to young lesbians/gays, people
might think that I am gay."
People will not think that you are gay if
you, as a worker, are known for supporting all young people whatever their
In any event, what if they do? Unfortunately, many of
the people who voice their homophobic beliefs are, themselves, people with a
homosexual component of their personality ('closet' lesbians and gays) who have
If you are lesbian, gay or bisexual and are not
out you should be aware that being in the closet places an enormous stress on
your emotional well being as well as on your relationships (with partners,
family and friends).
There are many lesbian, gay and bisexual workers in
Calderdale who are out with their families and friends and would like to be out
at work but fear discrimination. This fear is well founded: people have been
sacked from their jobs or refused promotion simply because they are homosexual,
especially those who work with young people.
It is likely that employment
legislation will soon make it illegal to discriminate against lesbian and gay
people in the workplace. The more out lesbian, gay and bisexual people there
are in Calderdale the less people can say that we are an insignificant
Within my tutor group I was out as a bisexual.
There was quite a lot of interest and nobody was talking about me behind my back
because I basically was quite confident. I stood up and told them that I had a
girlfriend. They were really glad I told them and were very positive. Someone
then came out to me in private; had a cry and talked to me. [It made me feel]
fantastic. A huge weight had been lifted. (F)
[I first told] My partner
and then friends at work. It was a wonderful reaction. They were very
supportive. A few were shocked but pleased. It made me feel good and made it
easier to be myself around them. (M)
I told my mum, told her everything
and talk to her everyday on the phone. My dad doesn't say much; he supports me
financially and emotionally: he could see I was feeling isolated and suggested I
go to a social group he saw advertised in Gay Times.
"We're not like them."
and bisexual people are white, black, Asian, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant,
Muslim, Hindu; they are rich, poor, working class, middle class, upper class.
Some are disabled. Some are married. They are young and old. Many are mothers
and fathers. They live in the country and in cities. All come from families.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are daughters and sons, brothers and
sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins. They are factory workers, solicitors,
teachers, bus drivers, police officers, politicians, film stars, carpenters,
artists, office workers. The only difference between lesbian, gay, bisexual
people and heterosexual people is that they are emotionally and sexually
attracted to members of their own sex.
There was a teacher at
school who everyone knew was gay but he never came out to anyone that I am aware
There were teachers at school who I thought were gay. It probably
would have made a difference to me because it may have changed the attitude of
some people. (M)
There was a male teacher who was gay; when someone asked
him he just clammed up. (M)
There was a tutor at university who was out
as a lesbian. It was good because if a student was worried about coming out then
it would be good to know that the tutors would accept it. (F)
been out gay teachers] the chance would have been there for someone to approach
them if they wanted to. (M)
I have an aunt and an uncle who
are gay. They are very supportive; they see me as this baby dyke because they
were in their forties when they came out and I am young and out. (F)
have a cousin down south who is gay. (F)
My dad's sister is a lesbian.
It is more difficult being young and gay. I feel like I am in a box
and every so often I can reach out to people. I'm alone really. I don't enjoy
it. I don't really focus myself around it. I talk to someone now but I used to
bottle up my feelings and keep them quiet. I used to write letters to myself
just to let my feelings out on paper. (F)
"Why treat them
If there was no homophobia then the answer to this
question would be, "No, they should not be treated differently." However,
because of individual homophobia and institutionalised heterosexism, lesbian,
gay and bisexual people (like other people who belong to oppressed groups such
as those who are minority ethnic, disabled, young/old or poor) do not have equal
access to services that heterosexuals do; nor do these services meet their
needs. Furthermore, because of the effects of homophobia, they are in greater
need of services. This is why lesbian, gay and bisexual people, along with other
oppressed groups, should be treated differently. When there is a level
playing field then there will be no need to treat anyone
Doctors always make an assumption that you are
I wanted to talk to a gay counsellor. Went to the doctor.
Referred me to a counsellor. I never went back. I found it really hard but she
was very nice. I would have felt more comfortable with a lesbian woman.
I have been about drugs and everything. There was a woman asking
really pathetic questions. I only went once and I couldn't be bothered after
that. I didn't think they did a right good job at all but that was about a drug
issue. They didn't really talk about me being gay. (M)
I wanted to talk
to a sexual therapist but when I was seeing someone for depression my sexuality
was pushed aside. (M)
"I would like to give support to
those young people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual but I don't know what they
want. My training did not include working with this group and I feel out of my
depth (as well as embarrassed)."
Very few professions include
training related to working with lesbian, gay and bisexual young people and
those that do usually only skim the surface. This Booklet will give you an idea
of what support these young people need (see Providing Help Checklist). There
are also a number of good resources available (see Further Reading). Ask for
PROVIDING HELP CHECKLIST
INFORM yourself about what is available. See Resources Section; make contact
with appropriate agencies to find out what they offer; find out what information
is available; what can your own agency offer?
KNOWLEDGE. Find out what courses are available, read some of the excellent
resources now available. (See Further Reading). There is a very good resource
library at Calderdale Health Promotion Centre.
3. GET SUPPORT.
There is an Inter-Agency Group in Calderdale whose purpose is to facilitate
support for lesbian, gay and bisexual young people. If your department is not
already represented, find out why not; volunteer yourself. (Contact Patrick
Ambrose, Community Education, for further details - see Resources.)
CHALLENGE HOMOPHOBIA AT WORK. Challenge any colleagues or users who make
homophobic comments or act in a homophobic way. If you do not have harassment
policies that include homophobic incidents, find out why not. Find out what
procedure to use. Find out if lesbian, gay and bisexual people are included in
your Equal Opportunities Policy and if not, why not? Incorporate anti-homophobic
exercises in your work with young people.
5. BE WELCOMING. Let the
young people you work with know that you are approachable: use gender-neutral
language, e.g. partners instead of boy/girlfriend; display positive images of
lesbians, gays and bisexuals; ensure you have books and videos that include
lesbian/gay/bisexual characters; invite GALYIC to give a presentation (see
Direct Help); talk about issues facing young lesbians, gays and
6. LESBIAN/GAY MEMBERS OF STAFF. One of the best ways
of letting your users know that your agency is a safe venue for lesbian, gay and
bisexual people is for there to be an out member of staff. Virtually every
agency in Calderdale will have a member of staff who is lesbian, gay or
If members of staff do not feel able to be out, how can you
expect young lesbian, gay and bisexual people to come out? Individuals will come
out only when they feel safe to do so.
7. ASSESSING NEED.
Depending on the type of service you offer, a crucial element of providing
support will include assessment of need. Providing appropriate support includes
taking into account a person's ethnic origin, gender, disability, age, as well
as sexual orientation. However, before you can support a lesbian, gay or
bisexual person you have to know about their sexual orientation. Pursuing the
above actions will go some way to make lesbian, gay and bisexual people feel
more confident in telling you. The following actions will further encourage
a. displaying lesbian/gay/bisexual posters, helpline numbers,
books, publications, internet access;
b. displaying anti-discrimination
c. including sexual orientation in your anonymous monitoring
d. designing flyers about the services offered which specifically
include services geared to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, e.g. a lesbian, gay
and bisexual support group, counsellor, resources;
e. including sensitive
questions about sexual orientation as part of the usual assessment procedure
(e.g. when discussing relationships).
Having identified the young person
as lesbian, gay or bisexual, the following steps are suggested.
1. LISTEN to what they are saying. It is a courageous step they
are taking. They are asking YOU for support. This means that they think they can
trust you. They will be terrified that you will reject them for who they are. It
is imperative that you respond positively. You do not have to say much. Just
listen and accept what they are saying.
2. RESPECT their
feelings. They have probably been trying to deal with/accept their emerging
homosexuality/bisexuality for a long time - they have probably been thinking
about it for weeks, months or even years. They are putting their trust in you
not to reject them. You should feel honoured that they have chosen you to
3. DO NOT DISMISS OR INSULT THEM with comments
like "You are too young." "It is just a phase everyone goes through - you'll
grow out of it." "Come back when you are 21." They would not be approaching you
if they did not believe they were gay. (No-one chooses to belong to a hated
4. CONFIDENTIALITY. The importance of confidentiality to a
young lesbian, gay or bisexual person who is just coming to terms with their
sexual orientation is critical: it is likely they will be terrified of anyone
else - especially their parents - finding out. Whilst no worker can offer total
confidentiality without conditions (e.g. if a young person is in danger of
harming themselves) these exceptions should be explained and whenever possible
confidentiality should be adhered to.
5. GIVE ACCURATE INFORMATION.
If you do not have a copy, contact GALYIC for the leaflet 'Young Gay Men
Talking," or "i think i might be a lesbian...now what do i do?" and/or "pride
not prejudice." Read the information yourself.
6. ACCEPT YOUR
LIMITATIONS. Acknowledge if you do not know something. Accept that you have
not been trained to counsel young people in this situation. If there is a member
of your team who has been trained refer to that person. If there is no-one
within your team who has attended relevant training, why not?
TO GALYIC. Support the young person to contact Gay and Lesbian Youth in
Calderdale. Contact GALYIC yourself and, if necessary, come to GALYIC with them.
Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale is a voluntary youth support group which is
managed by its members. It is supported by a Community Education paid JNC
qualified youth and community worker who has years of experience of working with
lesbian, gay and bisexual young people.
GALYIC offers peer support,
pen-pal scheme, helpline, weekly meetings, discussions, trips, access to
information (books, videos), advocacy, counselling, one-to-one support and help
with coming out.
I rang a lesbian helpline; It took me two
weeks to ring. I spoke to this very helpful woman and it really helped. I said,
'I think I might be gay,' and we talked. I was invited to a disco and it was
really good. It was good to meet other people. (F)
I read Terry
Sanderson's 'How to be a Happy Homosexual.' I thought it was very helpful.
I went to a grammar school. I would have stayed on to do my
'A" levels but I hated school and could not wait to get away because of all the
aggro I got for being gay. I was scared of people at school; I was always
getting snide comments. (M)
It is hard to say what kind of support
you would like if you have never had it. I think an advice centre would be nice,
with people who are aware of lesbian and gay issues to let you know what help
from agencies was available and which agency was lesbian and gay friendly.
When we did sex education at school it was boy meets girl and try and
not get pregnant. They should have included homosexuality and there should have
been posters about the lesbian and gay youth group. (F)
I would have
liked a 'young people's guide to sexuality and sexual orientation' when I was at
school. Broader discussions in class and part of sex education. It was better
when I was at university. The local council provided a drop-in cafe and they
came to the university and did presentations. (M)
I used to belong to a
voluntary theatre group. Four of the members of staff were gay and out. I used
to get information from them. A lot of feelings were explored within the group;
this was widely known about - and accepted - by parents. (F)
there should be more information available to encourage lesbians to use
healthcare more. (F)
In the five years I was at school I never saw a
poster, leaflet or anything. I would have liked a leaflet about sexuality and
someone to talk to. The school nurse never gave out any information like that.
The first book that I read about lesbianism was 'Annie on my MInd.' I
could reflect on the emotions and it did make me want to read more books. I
found it really helpful. (F)
I would have liked to have been able to go
to a place, a youth group, to interact with people my own age. Somewhere
confidential, quiet and out of the way; private really. (F)
I don't think
psychiatrists give you help around sexuality. I have seen the wrong sort of
person in the past - I should have seen a psychologist. You are unsure of who to
see, the options are not available. (M)
I was desperate for information.
It would have made me feel better. I would have liked someone to talk to. Needed
information on homosexuality and sex. (M)
When you are young it is
difficult coming to terms with what you are. When you are young and gay and at
school you are trapped. You can't get away from a mainly heterosexual
There are young lesbians out there having relationships
that nobody knows about. I think it is those who are more vulnerable to
isolation and pressure. I still feel it now being in this relationship that I am
in. I would like somewhere out there to go to finally be ourselves.
LOCAL LESBIAN, GAY & BISEXUAL
Bradford Lesbian Line, 01274.305525
GALYIC (Gay and
Lesbian Youth in Calderdale), 01422.320099
Kirklees Lesbian and Gay
Youth Support Groups
(Bradford Lesbian and Gay Youth), 01274.744224
GALYIC (Gay and
Lesbian Youth in Calderdale, P.O. Box 8, Todmorden, Lancashire, OL14 5TZ.
LesBiGay Youth Group, 01484.538070
Counsellor in Sexual Health Services, Laura Mitchell
Health Centre, Angela Hodgson, 01422.363541
MSM Project: Action on
sexual health for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in
Calderdale and Kirklees, 01422.348979
Rainbow Clinic for gay and
bisexual men at the Laura Mitchell Centre for Sexual Health,
OTHER USEFUL LOCAL CONTACTS
Student Services, Ron Taylor, 01422.399367
Calderdale Health Promotion
Centre, Becky Reynolds, 01422.205962
Calderdale Youth in Partnership
Scheme, Pam Rhodes, 01422.350294 (Youth Homelessness)
Centre, Elland, Melanie Swanick, 01422.374533
Dashline, Alan Hodgetts,
01422.361111 (Alcohol and Drugs Counselling)
Jigsaw, Julia Hull,
01422.339500 (Children, Young People and Family Counselling)
Halifax Community Mental Health Team, Colin Walton, 01422.355626
Yorkshire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Policing Initiative, Peter
Whitley Youth Centre, Patrick Ambrose,
Albert Kennedy Trust, Unit
305a, 16-16a Baldwins Gardens, London, EC1N 7RJ.
Avert (Aids Education & Research Trust) 4
Brighton Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 5BA. 01403.210202.
Black Lesbian & Gay Centre, 5-5a
Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7XW. 0207.620.3885.
Sisterhood, CLS, BM Reconciliation, London, WC1N 3XX.
(Federation of Deaf Lesbian and Gay Groups), 7 Victoria Avenue, South Croydon,
Surrey, CR2 0QP.
FFLAG (Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), P.O.
Box 153, Manchester, 0161.628.7621.
Gay and Lesbian Legal Advice, c/o
Central Station, 37 Wharfdale, London, N1 9SE. 0207.837.5212.
(homophobic violence and the police) 2G Leroy House, 436 Essex Road, London, N1
Gemma, BM Box 5700, London, WC1N 3XX. (Lesbians with
and without Disabilities)
Gender Identity Counselling BM 5434, London,
Happy Families (Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Parents) c/o
Community House, 7 Netherall Road, Doncaster, ND1 2PH.
social organisation) BM Kenric, London, WC1N 3XX.
Lesbian Custody Project
at ROW, 52-54 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8RT.
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Peer Support Project, P.O. Box
153, Manchester, M60 1LP. 0161.274.4664. (Peer support for LGB youth; pen-pal
Lesbian and Gay Bereavement Project, c/o Vaughan Williams Ctr,
Colindale Hospital, London, NW9 5HG. 0181.455.8894.
Lesbian & Gay
Christian Movement, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London, E2 6HG.
Lesbian and Gay Employment Rights, Unit 1G, Leroy House,
436 Essex Road, Islington, London, N1 3QP 0207.704.8066.
Information Service, P.O. Box 8, Todmorden, Lancashire, OL14 5TZ.
National AIDS Line 0800.567123.
Youth P.O. Box 72, London, HA5 2UJ.
Parents Friend, 01902.820497.
(Support for parents)
Quaker Lesbian and Gay Fellowship, Ruth, 3
Hallsfield, Swindon, SN6 6LR.
Quest Linkline (Lesbian and Gay Catholics)
Regard, BM Regard, London, WC1N 3XX. (Lesbians and Gays
School's Out (Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equality in
Education) Tony 01582.451424 or Sue 0171.635.0476.
SHAKTI (South Asian
Lesbian and Gay Network) c/o London Friend, 0171.833.1674.
Housing Association, 2a Leroy Building Centre, 436 Essex Road, Islington,
London, N1 3QP. 0171.359.5767.
Stonewall, 46-48 Grosvenor Gardens,
London, SW1W 0EB. 020.7881.9440.
TV/TS Helpline, 0161.274.3705, P.O. Box
153, Manchester, M60 1LP.
SUPPORT FOR WORKERS
of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Psychologies, P.O. Box 7534, London, NW1
Burning Issues, Librarians and information workers. Email
GLADD (Gay and Lesbian Doctors and Dentists) P.O.Box
5606, London, W4 1WY. 070 1070.5606.
LAGIM (Lesbian and Gay members of
LAGLA (Lesbian and Gay Lawyers) Blenheim House, 120
Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1WH. Martin 01273.625625.
LAGPA (Lesbian and
Gay Police) BM LAGPA, London, WC1N 3XX, 01426.943011.
NACAB (Lesbian and
Gay workers in CABs) 0171.833.7138.
National Lesbian and Gay Officer,
NUS Lesbian and Gay Campaign, Nelson Mandela House,
461 Holloway Road, London, N7. 0207.272.8900.
Teachers in NATFHE, 27
Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JP. 0207.837.3636.
All of these books are held at the Lesbian Information
A Stranger in the Family...how to cope if your child
is gay, Terry Sanderson, The Other Way Press, 1991.
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale, Research Project Report, Jan
Bridget, Lesbian Information Service, 1999. (Local library)
Visible, a reader in gay and lesbian history for high school and college
students, editor Kevin Jennings, Alyson Publications
Challenging Lesbian & Gay Inequalities in Education,
edited by Debbie Epstein, Open University Press, 1994.
and homosexuality, a resouce for students, Sue Vickerman, Lesbian and Gay
Christian Movement, 1992.
Coming Out to Parents: A Two-Way Survival
Guide for Lesbians and Gay Men and their Parents, Mary V. Borhek, The
Pilgrim Press, 1983.
Free Your Mind, the book for gay, lesbian, and
bisexual youth and their allies, Ellen Bass & Kate Kaufman, Harper
Gay and Lesbian Students, understanding their
needs, Hilda F. Besner & Charlotte J. Spungin, Taylor & Francis,
Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Adolescents: Providing Esteem-Enhancing
Care to a Battered Population, John A. Nelson, The Nurse Practitioner,
Feb 1997, p94-109. (Contact Calderdale Health Promotion Centre)
Gay Teen, educational practice and theory for lesbian, gay and bisexual
adolescents, ed. Gerald Unks, Routledge, 1995.
Helping Gay and
Lesbian Youth, new policies, new programs, new practice, editor Teresa
DeCrescenzo, Harrington Park Press, 1994.
Homosexuality: The Secret a
Child Dare Not Tell, Mary Ann Cantwell, Rafael Press,
Lesbian and Gay Issues in the English Classroom, Simon
Harris, Open University Press, 1990.
Lesbian and Gay Lifestyles, a
guide for counseling and education, Natalie Jane Woodman, Editor, Irvington
Lesbian and Gay Psychology, theory, research, and
clinical applications, editors Beverly Greene, Gregory M. Herek, Sage
Lesbian and Gay Youth, care and counselling,
Caitlin Ryan & Donna Futterman, Columbia Universtiy Press,
Mental health promotion and sexual identity; Health
Education Authority Factsheet, 1999. Tel: 020.7413.1991. (Contact Health
My Child is Gay, how parents react when they hear
the news, edited by Bryce McDougall, Allen & Unwin, 1998.
That You Know, what every parent should know about homosexuality, Betty
Fairchild & Nancy Hayward, Harcourt Brace, 1989.
Pink Therapy, a
guide for counsellors and therapists working with lesbian, gay and bisexual
clients, edited by Dominic Davies & Charles Neal, Open University Press,
Queer Kids, the challenges and promise for lesbian, gay, and
bisexual youth, Robert E. Owens, Harrington Park Press,
School's Out, the impact of gay and lesbian issues on America's
schools, Dan Woog, Alyson Publications, 1995.
Tower, editor Linda Garber, Routledge, 1994.
We Don't Exactly Get
the Welcome Wagon, the experiences of gay and lesbian adolescents in child
welfare systems, Gerald P. Mallon, Columbia University Press,
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, Daniel A.
Helminiak, Alamo Square Press, 1994.
When Your Child Comes Out,
Ann Lovell, Sheldon Press, 1995.
BOOKS FOR YOUNG LESBIANS, GAYS AND
i think i might be a lesbian...now what do i do?
Lesbian Information Service, 1999.
Growing up Gay/Growing up Lesbian,
A Literary Anthology, edited by Bennett L. Singer, New Press,
Growing Up Gay, The Sorrows and Joys of Gay and Lesbian
Adolescence, Rita Reed, W.W. Norton, 1997.
Joining the Tribe,
Growing up Gay & Lesbian in the 90's, Linnea Due, Anchor Books,
The Journey Out - A Guide For and About Lesbian, Gay &
Bisexual Teens, Rachel Pollack & Cheryl Schwartx, Puffin Books,
Two Teenagers in Twenty, writings by Gay and Lesbian Youth,
edited by Ann Heron, Alycon Publications, 1994.
Young, Gay and
Proud, edited by Don Romesburg, AlyCat Books, 1995.
Young Gay Men
Talking, Avert, 1999.
(1) Bridget, J. (1999) ACTION for
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale, Lesbian Information
(2) see Bridget, ibid for a comprehensive literature review of
relevant evidence; Mullen, A. (1998) Bisexuals, Gays and Lesbians - Ethnicity,
Health and Housing: A Review of Literature, ReachOUT, Reading; Nelson, J.A.
(1997) Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adolescents: Providing Esteem-Enhancing Care
to a Battered Population, The Nurse Practitioner, Feb,
(3) Mullen, op.cit.
(4) Lesbian and Gay Youth, care
and counselling, Caitlin Ryan & Donna Futterman, Columbia Universtiy
Press, 1998; Nelson, op.cit.
(5) Based on 1998 statistics from Calderdale
(6) Haldeman, D.C. (1994) The Practice and Ethics of Sexual
Orientation Conversion Therapy, Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, Vol 62(2) p2210227.
(7) A Lesbian Position, Vol
18(1), April 1999.
(8) The Pink Paper, 17th March 2000.
Acts of Disclosure, the coming-out process of contemporary gay men, Marc
E. Vargo, Harrington Park Press, 1998; Ryan & Futterman, op.cit.; Nelson,
(10) Ryan & Futterman, op.cit.
In a letter to
Alice Mahon, MP, dated 28th February 2000, Mr. John Hutton, MP, Minister of
State, Department of Health, states:
"Thank you for your
letter....enclosing a copy of a research report on lesbian, gay and bisexual
youth in Calderdale.
The report indicates the current variability of the
health service response to the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people
and there is undoubtedly room for improvement. We expect, for example, that
services used by young people should be easily accessible, that there should be
clear information on topics that young people see as important and that the
offered help should be responsive to the age, circumstances and orientation of
the young person.
The Government's approach to the promotion of good
health and reducing inequalities in health - which applies equally to health
issues for lesbians, gays and bisexuals - is set out in the White Paper 'Saving
Lives - Our Healthier Nation'. This includes sections on self-harm and suicide
as well as education in sex and relationships. The document sets out the action
needed on the part of individuals, local partnerships and Government to help
people take responsibility for their own health as well as getting the best out
of the NHS.
I welcome the production of reports such as the one you
enclose which promote open discussion of topics of keen interest to young people
and which can help to influence professional opinion and service