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See below for Jan's news and blog.


21st March 2015

Nazeem Mamood killed himself last year because his parents could not accept he was gay.

An article in The Guardian looks more closely at what happened. There is a link to the new organisation Nazz and Matt Foundation, Nazeem's partner, Matthew Ogston has set up to help other LGBT people facing similar circumstances.

I have supported several young Asian (Muslim) LGBT people over the years. I have known an Asian Muslim family send their daughter back to Pakistan and we heard that she had died in a cooking accident.

I have known young Asian gay men get married because they want to keep the love and support of their families.

On the website there is an interview with Matthew on Sky TV. At the end of the interview the interviewer asks Matthew if he believes government should be more pro-active in the way they have done with enforced marriage. Matthew said no but that education was needed within the community.

I would disagree - having experienced the support of the police and social services in relation to a young Asian Muslim lesbian when the 'enforced marriage' rules kicked in, I would say this saved her life and, had the 'enforced marriage' procedures not been there neither the police nor social services would have acted the way they did. Nor, in fact, would the family have responded the way they did (in a positive way) because the police and social services were involved.

It isn't an either or, I think we need legislative support alongside education of families and communities.

We need legislation to ensure the police, social services and other services work together to tackle this, significant, problem.

It also needs to be put into perspective that there are many white, non-religious, families in Britain who throw out their children when they learn they are LGBT.

At the same time, there are many white, Christian, families who do not accept their children being LGBT and this often ends up with the young person killing themselves (like the 14 year old young lesbian from Cheshire who hung herself recently).

We do need legislation in this country that would stop parents (whatever their background or religion) from rejecting their children simply because they are LGBT.

We need CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and Family Services (Social Services) trained up to support families to accept their children.

We need more LGBT youth support groups to help young people rejected by their families.

We need to stop brushing this under the carpet and ignoring it.


18th March 2015

The Reports of the work of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Taskforce have just been published which includes Vulnerable groups and Inequalities.

This report states, under section 22. Tackling inequalities and promoting equality, "Reducing health inequalities in children and young people from vulnerable groups should be a focus both for commissioners and providers of health care."

The Task and Finish Group point out The Health and Social Care Act 2012 places a legal duty on clinical commissioning groups, NHS England and the Department of Health to have regard to tackling health inequalities and this includes children and young people vulnerable to mental health problems.

They also note the Equality Act 2010 sets out equality duties for both the public and voluntary sector in respect of protected characteristics.

So that inequalities are better addressed, the Group proposes:

Awareness is needed that those in vulnerable groups may have protected characteristics, such as disabilities caused by both physical and mental health difficulties, complex medical conditions, race, faith, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment. There may be a need for more training across all agencies working with children and young people, in recognising protected characteristics as a potential vulnerability to mental health problems. Children and young people - such as those with learning disabilities - should not be turned away from specialist services because of their disability.

The report adds:

An example of a protected characteristic that could easily be missed is LGBT children and young people who are more vulnerable to mental health difficulties, particularly those who are just coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, many LGBT young people experience homophobic bullying and the impact on their mental health is profound. This is made worse if they have not come out to family and friends and consequently feel they have no one to turn to.

I would have liked this to acknowledge some young LGBT people do not have the support of their parents, given that CAMHS usually work with families, and that parental/family support can make a huge difference.

It remains to be seen whether clinical commissioning groups, NHS England or the Department of Health take any action. I don't want to be cynical but somehow I doubt it.


16th March 2015

Queer Futures has now been running for a year. Here is a link to their One Year Report. And here is a link to the flyer for young people to take part. Please pass on this information as widely as possible: they are looking for mental health workers to take part in one survey and young LGBTQs to take part in another. The purpose of the research project is to reduce suicide and self-harm amongst LGBTQ youth.


21st February 2015

Just realised it has been my busiest ever LGBT History Month:

1. Wrote flyer on Anne Lister.

2. Presented resources on Anne Lister at LGBT History Month Prelaunch event at Museum of the Order of St John, London.

3. Organised (with support from Roberta) successful Anne Lister Day at Todmorden Library.

4. Was one of the 'Talking Heads' at the first ever LGBT History Conference in Manchester on 14th February.

5. Helped to set up and launch 'Over the Rainbow' a new social group for LGBTs in Calderdale aged 50+.

6. Will be appearing in LGBT Youth North West's Prejudice and Pride: LGBT Activist Stories from Manchester and Beyond, to be launched 28th February 2015.


20th Febuary 2015

The first meeting went very well with nine people in attendance representing all sections of the LGBT communities. Transport was identified as a key issue and we hope to acquire some funding for this as soon as possible. We will be meeting weekly, every Sunday, 1-4 pm at an accessible venue in Todmorden. Ring 01706 817926 for more information or email


20th February 2015

The session went very well. Twenty women attended. I gave a brief overview of some of the successes of Lesbian Information Service identifying some of the backlashes we experienced. Short video extracts from television news items which covered some of our work included campaigning against Section 28 of the Local Government Bill, helping to get a young lesbian released from prison, and the need for support services for lesbians with alcohol problems. I was invited to give presentations at further conferences later this year.


9th February 2015

I will be giving a talk about Lesbian Information Service (LIS) at 13.20 at Manchester Central Library. I plan to outline the key activities of LIS and some of the struggles we faced. Here is the latest Schedule.


9th February 2015

Fantastic day on Saturday. About 30 people attended this event (mostly women) to hear me give an introduction to resources about Anne Lister; David Glover talk about Eliza Raine, Anne's first lover, and Ann Walker, Anne's last lover, with particular regard to mental health and them both being put into institutions: was this related to their minority status? Then Helena Whitbread gave us a fascinating insight into the various media projects about Anne Lister that she has been involved with. There was brilliant interaction with members of the audience, a relaxed and flexible day. Feedback was excellent. Well done everyone, including Roberta and Jon from Calderdale Library Services and Todmorden Library Staff, and a big thank you to Helena and David.


6th February 2015

Here is a link to the above Invitation to Tender. The closing date is 23rd February. I am delighted that some of my recommendations have been included after the first meeting I attended in November. The next Advisory Group meeting is 30th March 2015.


17th January 2015

Todmorden Library proudly presents 'Anne Lister Day' on Saturday, 7th February 2015, 10 am to 3 pm. The day will begin with an introduction to resources about Anne Lister by Jan Bridget. David Glover will follow with a talk about Eliza Raine, Anne Lister's first lover when she was at boarding school and Ann Walker's "madness." We will then watch the BBC documentary from 1994 A Skirt Through History: A Marriage. This will be followed by a talk by Helena Whitbread (author of The Secret Lives of Miss Anne Lister and No Priest But Love). There will be a break for lunch for about an hour. About 1 o'clock (ish) the BBC film The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister will be shown. It is hoped there will be time for discussions throughout the day.


14th January 2015

New group in Todmorden for LGBTs aged 50+. Meet weekly on Sundays, 1-4 p.m. at confidential venue. Open to LGBTs 50+ from across Calderdale and Kirklees. Supported by AgeUK Todmorden and AgeUK Calderdale and Kirklees. Launching Sunday, 15th February 2015. Ring 01706 817926 for more information or email


8th January 2015

I am one of the 'talking heads' at the above event which will take place in Manchester on 14th February. Here is the Schedule.


5th December 2014

In response to an email sent to Norman Lamb MP, House of Commons Health Committee investigation into CAMHS, asking how the issues identified in my submission (see below, 5th November) would be taken on board I got the following response (a month after my email):

Dear Ms Bridget,

Thank you for your correspondence of 5 November to Norman Lamb about the Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce. I have been asked to reply.

As you will know, the Taskforce was launched in August to find ways to improve the way children and young people's mental health services are organised, commissioned and provided, and how to make it easier for all young people to access help and support. The Taskforce will consider how to reduce health inequalities and promote equality for all children and young people with mental health needs.

The Taskforce shares your concern for the mental health and wellbeing of the LGBT community, as it knows that young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are at a significantly higher than average risk of having mental health problems, and are more likely to have difficulty in accessing services.

To ensure that mental health services reflect the needs of the LGBT community, the Taskforce has set up a 'Task and Finish' group that looks specifically at vulnerable groups, including the LGBT community, and inequalities.

The Vulnerable Groups and Inequalities Task and Finish Group is considering how to ensure there is system that works for the most vulnerable children and young people. The group will work with other Task and Finish groups in the Taskforce to ensure that the needs of all children and young people are considered and addressed, including those from the LGBT community.

I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Maxine Kocura
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health

In response to this I sent an email to the chairs of the 'Task and Finish' group to find out ways the Vulnerable Children's Group will be taking on board the needs of LGBT young people? This is the response I got:

There has been a lot of commentary saying they don't think we should identify individual groups of children and young people but should concentrate more on the needs of vulnerable groups generally which is what we are trying to do. We hope that the general proposals that will be made by the taskforce will address the needs of all children and young people. However, the overarching report is intended to be short - 30 pages or so - so will not go into much detail about specific groups, obviously a great deal of the work will come at a later stage (ie post-election depending on what incoming Ministers wish to do) and at local level.

I am curious to know who is making the 'commentary' given that none of the oral submissions to the House of Commons Inquiry mentioned LGBT young people and only five of the 163 written submissions included them (three of these were references to the vulnerability of LGBT young people, two, my own and one from the Metro Centre, looked at LGBT young people specifically); and given that the Taskforce does not appear to have any input from an expert on LGBT young people?

The Children and young people's mental health and well-being taskforce are now consulting professionals who work with children and young people: Professionals' Survey for Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce. I only heard about this yesterday and have completed the survey. The deadline was today but it has been extended to 12th December. It is not known whether any other professionals who work with (or have worked with like me) young LGBT people have completed the survey but I suspect not.

It is worth noting that although the above response says individual groups of children and young people should not be identified, there is a section of the survey which states:

We know that there are some groups of children and young people who are particularly vulnerable and find it harder to access mental health services (e.g. victims of sexual exploitation, learning disabled children, looked after/adopted children, young offenders).

Pardon me for being confused! And pardon me if I don't believe that the needs of LGBT young people will be addressed or included in the needs of vulnerable groups generally.


25th November 2014

Here is the flyer on Anne Lister I wrote for LGBT History Month.


20th November 2014

Well, the launch went very well. The venue was splendid: The Museum of the Order of St John, Clerkenwell. I'm guessing there were about 200 plus people attended.

I thought the presentation by Sadie Lee on Frida Kahlo excellent, as was the one on Chevalier d'Eon de Beaumont by Clare Barlow.

There were some good acts, such as the Diversity Choir and a poignant extract from the play 'For The Trumpets Shall Sound'.

Not sure when the flyers for the four Faces of '15 Coded Lives will be available, but here is the Anne Lister Presentation I gave.


12th November 2014

The Office of the Children's Commission Gender Equality Project will work with young people to design and implement a programme of qualitative research and dialogue which examines what gender means in practice for children and young people.

The Commission have set up an Advisory Group of which I have been invited to become a member.

The first meeting is to be held on 24th November in London, at which we will learn more about what children and young people and other organisations have told the Commissioner about this topic.

We will be looking at the research objectives and methods; young people will be involved.

The research will explore gender through the experiences and views of children and young people aged 9 - 15 years.

The ultimate aim of the research is to reduce gender inequalities in the extent to which children in England realise their rights in relation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children.

I am hoping there will be an expert on trans issues (I have already raised this) and I know there is another expert on research with LGBT young people.

If anyone with experience of working with LGBT young people has any points they would like to raise, please email me on and I will do my best to incorporate them. Remember, it is specifically about gender with regard to children and young people aged 9-15 years.

I am particularly interested in hearing about the gender issues facing those young LGBT people who often slip through the net, those in more isolated area - smaller towns, villages and rural areas where there usually is no support available; and those who are multi-oppressed through class, race, ethnicity, disability, religion and, of course, gender.


6th November 2014

Queer Futures is a two-year research project run by Lancaster University to try to understand why LGBTQ young people do risky things, harm themselves or think about suicide. It is hoped the results of the project will make it easier to find ways to help young LGBTQ people in distress.

The project will be interviewing young LGBTQ people and conducting an on-line survey.

During interviews researchers have found that distressed LGBTQ youth may have difficulties accessing mainstream mental health services and, in many cases, LGBTQ youth groups are doing both suicidal crisis work and implementing prevention strategies.

It is likely that the expertise of those working with such a vulnerable group will be very important to the future development of interventions to prevent distress, self-harm and suicide.

In response to this two consultation meetings have been set up, one in London and one in Manchester. I will be attending the one in Manchester on Friday, 21st November at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation.


6th November 2014

Next year's theme for LGBT History Month (February) is Faces of '15: Coded Lives.

Four flyers have been written to celebrate Anne Lister, Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, Frida Kahlo and The Chevalier d'Eon de Beaumont.

They will be published at the Prelaunch event on Tuesday 18th November to be held at The Museum of The Order of St John, Clerkenwell, London, 6-9 p.m.

I have written the one for Anne Lister and will be giving a ten minute presentation at the launch event.

In the afternoon there will be free workshops for youth workers and another for teachers.

For more information see LGBT History Month.


5th November 2014

In the House of Commons Health Committee's report, Children's and adolescent's mental health and CAMHS published 5th November 2014, LGBT young people are mentioned as a vulnerable group (pages 12, 46, 51, 100 and reference is made to submissions by Jan Bridget and Metro.

The recommendations are that the new Department of Health/NHS England taskforce, whose task is to overhaul the way CAMHS is commissioned and to ensure young people are offered the most appropriate care both in the community and hospital, "takes full account of the submissions we have received, and the wealth of information they contain." This is specifically mentioned with regard to vulnerable groups.

It remains to be seen whether this taskforce, which does not appear to have representation from a specialist LGBT expert, will take on board the issues raised in the two submissions.


5th June 2014

We know that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people are highly vulnerable to a range of issues including mental health (self-harm and suicide), substance misuse, sexual health issues, homelessness, and this is usually the result of bullying, abuse, isolation, parental rejection.

I believe that, in order to reduce this vulnerability, when a young LGBTQ person accesses a service, the providers have a duty to comprehensively assess their needs in a holistic and empowering way.

I realised how important it was to develop a screening tool back in 2000 when one of the first members of my youth group died from a heroin overdose.

As result I developed the Needs Assessment Tool (or NAT), which I used, developed and improved, over the 13 years I ran Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale (1999-2012).

The NAT is wide-ranging and covers everything from coming out, bullying, substance misuse, sexual health, mental health, homelessness, to emotional abuse, etc.

Working with the young person, using the results of the NAT, together we would develop an action plan. This could include, for example, referral for counselling, a sexual health check-up, access to housing, and so on.

This method enabled young people to understand whether and how they were vulnerable, why they were vulnerable and have control over what to do about it.

After six months an Impact Assessment (IMP) would take place to review progress. The report would enable me, and the young person, to see the journey the young person had taken and identify improvements made and any further action needed.

This method of comprehensively assessing the needs of LGBTQ young people was identified as an example of good practice in research by the London-based, LGBT mental health organisation, PACE (Where to Turn, 2010).

Just in itself, the NATnIMP can be a life saver. But there are significant added benefits, not least that after, say, 20 NATs, a consolidated report can be requested to show what percentage of young people have, for example, attempted suicide, smoke, misuse alcohol, etc.

This data can then be used to access funding (we were successful in a BBC Children in Need funding bid using this method). The combined NATnIMP also provide hard evidence of the success of interventions, again extremely useful when reporting back to funders.

I will be discussing the NATnIMP at the WorldPride Human Rights Conference in Toronto on 27th June 2014 and encouraging other agencies world-wide to utilise this, or other similar screening methods, when working with LGBTQ young people.

I am delighted to have been chosen to make a presentation as nearly 400 applicants from almost 60 countries applied for such a privilege.

Here is a link to my presentation: "Assessing the Needs of LGBTQ Youth" Jan Bridget