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See below for Jan's news and blog.


7th January 2020

This year I am giving two presentations. The first is part of Outing the Past at the London School of Economics Library (Life Workspace 2), 10 Portugal Street, Holborn, London, WC2A 2HD. It is on Thursday 6th February, 6.30-8 p.m. followed by drinks. There are three speakers, I am the second one and am talking about my video collection which has recently been accepted by the John Ruskin College Library in Oxford. I will be giving an overview of the collecion, why I collected it and how I have used it and other media over the years to raise awareness about homophobia. For more information about the event see OUTing the Past: performance and broadcast.

The second presentation and discussion will be at Todmorden Library on Saturday, 15th February, 2-4 p.m. (disabled access via side entrance). I will be giving an overview of my audio archive which consists of cassette tapes of recordings I made during the period 1987-1997 when I co-ran Lesbian Information Service with Sandra Lucille. The collection is now housed at Lancashire Archive in Preston who are planning to copy the cassettes onto cds. The archive includes relevant programmes from the radio which either I or Sandra did as well as news items on LGB issues and interviews with lesbians we did for the Lesbian Information Service Newsletter (LISN) including one we did with the American lesbian feminist singer, song-writer, musician, Cris Williamson when she did a UK tour in 1988. We had the privilege of looking after Cris and the rest of her gang after they had performed at the Lesbian Centre in Nottingham. I will play an extract from the interview and some of Cris' music then encourage participants to share their experiences of women (especially lesbian) singers in 1970's and 80's. Here is a link to one of my favourite Cris Williamson songs Dream Child.

National LGBT Survey

4th July 2018

The government published findings of the largest ever LGBT survey yesterday: over 108,000 responents (which included me). There were almost as many women as men who responded (42% female, 49% male and 7% non-binary), a welcome change from other surveys which have been dominated by gay men; although it does not tell you what percentage of the women/men were bisexual, usually many more women identify as bisexual. The BAME communities reflected estimates of the general population although there were fewer Asian respondents (2%) than the national average (4%). However, the survey was less successful in capturing poorer LGBTs as there is the usual middle class bias; similarly it did not reflect the national percentage of disabled people. It is interesting to note, however, that the demographics for those participants who identified as trans did, in fact, reflect the national average for both disabled people and poor people; can anything be extrapolated from this???

The findings were also biased towards younger LGBTs and I, as an older lesbian, feel that my voice was not included in the findings, mainly because the survey concentrated on experiences within the last twelve months and, therefore, not taking into account experiences (and effects) of a life-time of homophobia (not to mention classism and sexism). The demographics also reflect the rising number of young women who identify as f2m trans (confirmed by gender identity clinics and LGBT youth groups) which should result in a flashing red light to say it looks like there is something wrong here, especially as nearly twice as many trans men had begun transitioning at 24 and under than trans women. I have made my views clear on this point: it is my belief that because of sex-role stereotyping (which is significantly worse than when I was young), a lack of butch role models, and wider publicity about trans issues, young women who would have traditionally identified as butch are now identifying as trans.

None of the findings will surprise LGBT people but it is interesting how the media have responded. There has been significant coverage not just in the UK but around the world. Most media concentrate on the welcome news that 'conversion' therapy is to be banned. Others note that two-thirds of LGBT people fear holding hands in public and are less satisfied with life than heterosexuals (now there is a surprise). But I am more interested in what the government plan to do about the situation facing LGBT people in the UK today.

Government also published their Action Plan. The four key proposals are: 1) to ban conversion therapy; 2) to appoint a national LGBT health adviser (and panel) to advise on how to reduce health inequalities; 3) to extend the anti-homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying programmes in schools; 4) to take further action on LGBT hate crime, improving the recording and reporting of, and police response to, hate crime. Well, what can I say? Sounds good but the proof is in the pudding.

Government "will also provide support to small LGBT charities and organisations looking to diversify their funding as part of this package. This will focus on improving the skills small organisations have to enable them to better support their users." Bit too late as most of smaller LGBT charities (and, indeed, some of the larger ones) have been forced to close due to lack of funding. But what this suggestion sounds like to me is more money for the big organisations like the Consortium, Stonewall, etc., who assume they know best, to impose their views on smaller organisations who might, just might, have a lot more knowledge and experience about supporting LGBT people. If you spot some sarcasm there, you are right!

I would like to know just what those organisations who are taking packages into schools are actually doing - what are Stonewall, Barnardo's, etc., delivering in schools? It could be that they are spot on, on the other hand this could be one of the reasons why schools seem to be referring young people to LGBT youth groups who may be having difficulties with their gender identity (absolutely fine) but not those who are lesbian, gay or bisexual (if indeed this is the case, but it looks to me that it is). It also begs the question what are LGBT youth groups doing about this? If they are creating the space for young people to explore their gender identity fine, but do the workers have the experience and knowledge (not least about the historical context we are currently in, i.e. gender non-conforming people have existed throughout time and cultures but it is only now that there is an emphasis on medically changing sex).

Government also say, "We will improve our understanding of the impacts on children and adolescents of changing their gender. The Government Equalities Office will gather evidence on the issues faced by people assigned female at birth who transition in adolescence." I do hope government will listen to the concerns of people like me who have had many years of experience of supporting young LGBT people. I am concerned that if I were young today I, too, would be identifying as trans. But I do not identify as trans; I had the option (and role models and less sex-role stereotyping) to be able to identify as a tomboy when I was younger and when, eventually I discovered my sexual orientation, I identified as a butch lesbian (despite second wave feminists attacking butch and femmes).

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Government Equalities Office "will jointly develop a plan focussed on reducing suicides amongst the LGBT population. The Department of Health and Social Care will ensure LGBT peoples needs are addressed in the updated Suicide Prevention Strategy, and the new Health Education England suicide prevention competency framework will cover high-risk groups including LGBT people." Well, good luck with that one then! I campaigned for decades to do exactly that but the opposition, both nationally and locally, was too great: they simply were NOT interested. Will government ask me, and other people like me who have years and years of experience, to feed into their plans? Will they listen to us? I very much doubt it as they never have before.

I wonder what will be included in Sex and Relationships Education (note it is only guidance)? Will LGBT issues cross the curricula and be included, for example, in history, politics, art, music, etc? Will students be taught how the system works to oppress minority groups and what the effects of that are, especially on those who are multi-oppressed? Homophobia from a Multi-Oppression Perspective. Or if you prefer, I have put it all on You Tube. Can't see it happening, can you?

Understanding how oppression works would be an excellent starting point to tackle hate crime (not just against LGBTs but all minority groups and women). This should be an integral part of school curricula.

In fact, if government, and their agents for change, really want a leg up in both understanding and tackling the issues they need look no further for help and information than my websites: GALYIC and Lesbian Information Service.

Government's Gender Recognition Act Consultation

7th June 2018

There is currently a lot of discussion (and anger) about the government's proposals to amend the GRA. The government wants to make the process of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate less bureaucratic and intrusive for trans people. This might include acceptance of a self-declaration model. Government have promised to consult widely on this issue. Whilst on the one hand I believe we should reduce the stress on young trans people in whatever way possible, at the same time I have concerns that the current situation is making young butch lesbians identify as trans. I have developed the attached power point presentation to explain my concerns and suggestions.

LGBT Young People Suicide and Sex and Relationship Education

22nd December 2017

Three items have emerged this past week which are important: two research reports from the USA and the UK government consultation on Sex and Relationship Education in schools in England. THE LATTER ITEM IS VERY, VERY, IMPORTANT.

Let us look at the American research first. There have been decades of Risk Assessment Surveys in the USA which consistently reveal that LGB young people are highly vulnerable to mental health problems including self-harm, suicide ideation and attempts. There is less research about trans young people but what there is suggests this group are even more vulnerable.

In the most recent National Youth Risk Behaviour Suvey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, we learn that 40 percent of LGBQ youth seriously considered suicide, 35 percent planned suicide, and 25 percent attempted suicide, compared to 15 percent, 12 percent and 6 percent (respectively) of non-LGBQ youth.

This is not news, as I say, there are piles and piles of research reports from around the world and including the UK which confirm how vulnerable LGBT young people are.

At least in the USA there is the Trevor Project which has existed for several years now - we have nothing like this in the UK - and the Gay Straight Alliance Network which has existed for many years and a significant number of high schools in the USA include GSAs - these have recently been introduced in the UK but there are only a handful of schools which have them. There are many other projects in the USA which have been going for decades aimed at meeting the needs of LGBT young people (yet still the levels of mental health problems and completed suicides are shockingly high, perhaps partly due to the high levels of religious homophobia).

The other research project this last week from the USA publlished in the Journal of Adolescent Health links suicidal behaviour of LGBQ young people with childhood traumatic experiences.

Meanwhile in the UK the government have launched a consultation on changes to Sex and Relationship Education and PSHE to include LGBT issues. The consultation opened this week and closes on 12th February 2018. So it is a much shorter period of consultation than the one on mental health and has also been released over the Christmas period - in other words, there is a much shorter period in which to respond (call me a conspiracy theorist).

The consultation is open to both adults and young people so I would urge anyone who has any connection with LGBT young people, be they young people, teachers, youth workers, social workers, school nurses, doctors, mental health staff, parents - everyone basically - to respond to this consultation.

We already know that the religious lot have got their act together and will be responding in their thousands to try and stop the government including information for LGBT young people. I would urge as many people as possible to respond.

I have just completed the survey and have to say it is a tad confusing. Anyway, here is the main part of what I had to say:

LGBTQ people are one of the most stigmatised groups in society. They are identifying and coming out at significantly younger ages than ever before.

LGBTQ young people are significantly more vulnerable to abuse in both primary and secondary schools, on the streets and at home. There is both lack of information and support available to them, their parents and professionals. Yet strong evidence from the UK and abroad consistently shows this group to be highly vulnerable to mental health problems (self-harm, suicide attempts and ideation, anxiety disorders, substance misuse) and homelessness often the result of parental rejection.

Those who belong to several minority groups and who are poor who are more vulnerable. They, and heterosexual youth, are subjected to messages that say LGBTQs are inferior whilst heterosexuals are superior, this begins when they are born. These messages, and the lack of information to challenge them, create internalised (unconscious) biases against LGBTQ people resulting in violence against them (either externally from other young people or internally from themselves, i.e. self-harm, etc).

For more information see all sections of my website:

Schools are key in the systematic stigmatisation and isolation of this group leading to their vulnerability, inclusion of issues for and about LGBTQ young people within SRE would be a huge step forward.

1. Include appropriate information for and about LGBTQ issues including an understanding of stigmatisation (multi-oppression) and its effects

2. Where to access support for LGBTQs and their parents

3. Dangers of on-line groups: provision of in-school support.

UK Government Substance Misuse Statistics

20th December 2017

The UK government has released two documents concerning substance misuse this month: The first one Young Peoples Statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS), the second, Adult substance misuse statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System.

Both show statistical data collected by substance misuse services. The latter, for the first time, includes information about the sexual orientation of new presenters which was introduced as a monitoring item in 2016.

The report says 88% of the respondents identified as heterosexual, 2% gay/lesbian and 1% bisexual and points out that according to the office of national statistics 93% of the general population identify as heterosexual, 1% gay/lesbian, and 1% bisexual. Interesting and perhaps implying (as we already know) that substance misuse is more of a problem for LGBs than heterosexuals.

If we add together those respondents who identified as lesbian/gay/bisexual and those who were not sure as well as those who did not state their sexuality we find that 10% had problems with opiates; 13% with non-opiates only; 12% with non-opiates and alcohol; and 12% with alcohol only.

Whichever way you look at it the statistics support previous research which shows lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning people have greater levels of substance misuse problems than heterosexuals. Unfortunately, the report does not analyse the data further to reveal, for example, what percentage of the women with problems are lesbian/bisexual. Neither does the report show what percentage of LGB users had successful outcomes.

My understanding is that there are fewer substance misuse treatment agencies who provide specialist services for LGBs than there were several years ago - but I could be wrong as there does not appear to be any recent research. This suggests it is far less likely that the treatment outcomes will be successful for LGB clients (let alone those who are unsure or who have not stated what their sexual orientation is).

Moving onto the other report about young people: there is nothing I can say about LGB young people because these services do not record the sexual orientation of their users. This is despite the knowledge that substance misuse, especially for LGB people, begins in adolescence when they are trying to come to terms with their emerging sexual orientation. I wonder how many more decades we will have to wait?

Transforming Children and Young People's Mental Health Provision: A Green Paper

5th December 2017

On 4th December 2017 the Government launched a consultation on the above; the closing date is midday, 2nd March 2018. Here is a link to the green paper which includes a link to the consultation. I have completed this but would like to say a few words.

First of all, I am pleased LGBT young people are included: the paper acknowledges that LGBT people are vulnerable to mental health problems indicating LGBT children and young people have particular support needs. The paper identifies LGBT people have a higher risk of mental disorder, suicidal thoughts, substance misuse and self-harm than heterosexuals.

The green paper refers to a survey the Government Equalities Office (GEO) conducted in July 2017 with LGBTs with over 100,000 responses (of course, I responded). The government are analysing the results and will publish the findings 'in due course.' But the paper again recognises LGBT people are disproportionately affected by poor mental health. The Department of Health will work with the GEO to review the findings of the survey and 'develop a response to the issues it identifies.'

The green paper also acknowledges that LGBT pupils, or pupils that are perceived to be LGBT, are disproportionately affected by bullying. Reference is made to the three million pounds government made available to deliver new initiatives against homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying (Stonewall, Barnardo's, LGBT Consortium, Proud Trust, Metro and the National Children's Bureau). By the end of March 2019 it is hoped 1,200 schools will have been included in the project. The programme is testing two approaches: staff training and 'whole school' approaches. Their hope is that this will reduce the levels of bullying LGBT young people experience and improve their well-being.

The government have decided that the best way of tackling mental health problems of children and young people is through schools and have put forward various suggestions, including referring young people to specialist support as well as funding new mental health support teams to provide extra capacity for early intervention and on-going support.

The paper also recognises the important support role parents and carers can provide for children and young people with poor mental health.

The paper says much more but I have identified the above as significant when looking at the mental health needs of LGBT young people.

Any programme aimed at reducing the poor mental health of children and young people, especially if they are to take on board the needs of LGBT children and young people, must understand that, apart from the general homophobia, biphobia and transphobia of society (media, religion, etc) and the isolation facing LGBT young people, two other crucial elements that affect the emotional well-being of LGBT young people are

1. the bullying they receive at school/college (and outside school usually by the same people) and

2. lack of parental support, indeed, parental rejection.

Of course, referring young people to LGBT youth groups would help the young person significantly but

a. there has been a significant reduction in the number of LGBT youth groups around the country and

b. discussions with LGBT youth groups suggests that whilst there are many more referrals from schools, they appear to be referring mainly young transgender pupils which begs the question: what about the needs of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people who are not transgender?

I am intrigued to find out the results of the survey the GEO conducted and also what government plan to do in response.

Oh, and one more crucial point: without appropriate training on the needs and experiences of young LGBT people any amount of support provided either inside or outside school will be a waste of time.

Does increased acceptance equal reduced vulnerability?

9th October 2017

The second article is Same-sex sexuality and psychiatric disorders in the second Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study Sandfort et al LGBT Health, Dec 11, 2014, 1(4) pp292 to 301.

We know that sexual orietation is a risk factor for pychiatric disorders. The researchers looked at whether increased acceptance of homosexuality would mean that the different findings between homosexuals and heterosexuals would diminish over time.

The conclusion was that there had been no significant changes in the vulnerability of homosexuals despite more acceptance; because of this we need better understanding why lesbians, gays and bisexuals are more vulnerable.

The researchers found higher levels of mental health problems, in particular anxiety disorders, amongst homosexuals than heterosexuals in both the preceding year and over a life-time for both genders.

They also found higher levels of alcohol and drug dependency amongst homosexual women.

The researchers suggest possible reasons for the absence of change as minority stress i.e. because of effects of minority stress it could take longer for any changes to occur and recommend further research amongst younger LGBs (longitudinal). Another reason could be that prejudice and discrimination continue to be important and that attitudinal changes are possibly superficial. A third possible reason could be genetic and environmental.


9th October 2017

In preparation for some training I am doing in The Netherlands I am reading recent, relevant, academic articles. These are coming up with some very interesting findings. The first one, Attitudes Towards Lesbians and Gays Among American and Dutch Adolescents,Collier et al., J Sex Res. 2015 Feb; 52(2), pp140 to 150.

The researchers studied the attitudes of American and Dutch adolescents towards lesbians and gays and found that the Dutch adolescents were more tolerant. They discovered between country differences: the American youth justified their attitudes based on social norms and religion whilst the Dutch youth justified their attitudes based on individual rights and biological/genetic basis for homosexuality.

Lesbian Information Service

26th June 2017

In July 2017 it is 30 years since I set up, with my then partner Sandra Lucille, Lesbian Information Service. We ran LIS for ten years together which included:

supporting isolated lesbians through a telephone helpline; publishing a monthly newsletter (LISN) which, at one point had a membership of around 500;

conducting research (lesbians and housing, young lesbians in East Lancashire);

producing resource lists to encourage research and disseminate information;

setting up the Lesbians and Alcohol Project which included further research into how alcohol treatment agencies responded to the needs of lesbians, producing a booklet aimed at the same to encourage better support of lesbian users and organising one of the first national lesbians, gays and alcohol conferences at Manchester University;

setting up and running Lesbian Youth Support Information Service which targeted isolated young lesbians and included a peer-support pen-pal service with around 200 members and producing information to support young lesbians such as the Young Lesbian Coming Out Pack;

developing and delivering homophobia awareness training to hundreds of professionals;

delivering presentations and papers on the needs of young lesbians, lesbians and mental health, lesbians and alcohol misuse, young lesbians and gays, at dozens of national and regional conferences and gatherings across the UK.

For more information on our achievements and to access many of the publications visit Lesbian Information Service.


6th November 2017

Preston Archives, 25th February, 2.05-2.25 p.m. and 26th February, Manchester, The People's Museum, 1-1.30 p.m. I will be giving talks about the Jan Bridget Collection at Lancashire Archive. Click Lancashire Archives and The People's Museum for more information.


6th January 2017

The postponed event described below is now taking place on 5th February 2017 at the Orange Box in Halifax, 1-4 p.m. Free to young people and people on low income, others five pounds. Tickets from Eventbrite.


17th November 2016

I have joined together with a few women from Calderdale to launch Equality United.

Many years ago I realised that you needed to challenge all forms of discrimination and developed what I called my Multi-Oppression Framework. It is a bit of feminism, Marxism, and a few other things thrown in but done in a way that most people can understand it (as opposed to sociological language).

There is something of a revolution happening in this country at the moment sparked by the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. This movement of the people is an ideal opportunity to make Equality United a reality and challenge the inequality of the society we live in.

Traditionally the fight against discrimination has prioritised one group over another, e.g. working class rights, women's rights, fighting racism, disableism, homophobia and so on. This often results in divide and rule. Setting one group against another, fighting for resources, etc.

There has never been a better time to launch a new approach to tackling inequality. Imagine how successful we might be if we all worked together to identify and challenge the underlying causes of oppression and work towards effective change and true equality for all?

The aims of Equality United, are

  • To come together to tackle the way institutions work to oppress and ignore the needs of some groups and communities whilst privileging others.
  • To understand that many of us belong to several oppressed groups (intersectionality) as well as some privileged ones.
  • To unpick and discard the harmful messages we have internalised and release our true potential.
We are talking about roughly 80% of the population! Now that is a powerful thought.

In fact, oppression affects all of the population: Most people belong to both groups, i.e. oppressed and oppressor, it is important to understand and acknowledge how we oppress and how we are oppressed and liberate both.

As oppressors we need to free ourselves from the oppressive behaviours we have been taught. Then we can think and act in new ways to be more fully human and allow oppressed groups (and the oppressed part of ourselves) to flourish.

We waste so much energy feeling superior or inferior instead of co-operating for change.

To coincide with International Human Rights weekend, Equality United will be launched at the Orange Box in Halifax on SUNDAY, 11th December 2016, 1-4 p.m. and will include the first of a series of interactive programmes to help make Equality United a reality.

Come and join us. It is free to young people and low waged but we ask others to pay five pounds towards the cost of the event.

Tickets from Eventbrite.


17th November 2016

In February next year I will be giving talks at LGBT History month events in both Preston (25th) and Manchester (26th) about the Jan Bridget Collection at Lancashire Archives in Preston. The Collection covers over 25 years of activism (Lesbian Information Service and Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale) and can be accessed at Lancashire Archives using the search term "jan bridget" whilst the library can be found using the same term at Lancashire Archives.


7th September 2016

For many years now the Department for Education has been commissioning a Health and Well-being survey of pupils covering different age groups to follow their progress; these begin at 13/14 and go up to 19/20. In August this year they released information about the age group 14/15 which identified young women as being particularly vulnerable to depression.

I emailed the DfE to find out if sexual orientation was included in the survey and have just received a response saying it was not included but that they planned to include it next year in the 17/18 cohort.

I have sent the following email:

Thank you for getting back to me. I would like to know why sexual orientation (and gender identity) are not included in all of the age groups for the the longitudinal study of young people in England cohort 2: health and well-being given that this government has pledged to tackle homophobic bullying, is aware of the vulnerability of LGBT young people to health and well-being issues, especially mental health and substance misuse, and, of course, bullying, and the age for coming out has dropped significantly over the past decade and for many is now around 13/14/15? In my own research with young LGBT people in Calderdale it is round about 13/14 that they begin to realise their sexual orientation (earlier for trans) and at the same time their mental health problems begin. It is crucial both sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the demographic details of these surveys otherwise their plight continues to be hidden and appropriate responses not developed. Thank you.

Will keep you posted on their response.


4th August 2016

In July 2016 the National Institute of Economic and Social Research published Inequality among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups in the UK: a review of evidence. It was commissioned by the Government Equalities Office to identify the nature of inequality and relative disadvantage experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK. Its purpose was to support the development and targeting of policies intended to remove barriers to LGB&T equality.

The review looks at published and unpublished literature from 2008 onwards and focuses on nine policy areas: education; safety, including hate crime and domestic violence; health and access to healthcare; access to and experience of services; employment; LGB&T families, adoption and fostering; homelessness and access to housing provision; participation in civic society; and 16-19 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

Here are some of the key findings with regard to LGBT young people:

Education: homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying remains a major problem in schools and, to an extent, in further and higher education. A number of measures, such as directly addressing incidents are thought by teachers to be effective but there is evidence that these measures fail to be universally implemented. Heterosexism and heteronormativity are prevalent in educational institutions reinforcing feelings of alienation among LGB&T students and leaving their specific support needs largely unaddressed. The evidence also finds teachers in need of leadership and support, including training.

Safety: Evidence finds LGB&T people at greater risk of being victim to hate crime compared to heterosexual people, with recorded incidences increasing over time. Certain LGB&T groups are found to be at particular risk of hate crime including young people.

Young People: Evidence from across all the policy areas covered by the review shows young LGB&T people face a hostile environment - in education, at home and in wider society - at a stage in their lives when they are particularly in need of support and approbation. Young people are subject to extensive homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, greater mental ill health and unwanted and risky sex. Experiences at this age have life-long implications for mental health and resilience. There is little evidence on the inequalities experienced by young transgender people, and no evidence was found on young LGB&T people who were not in education, employment or training (NEET).


26th July 2016

Government today launched their plan to tackle hate crime in their report Action Against Hate. The report tells us that 82% of hate crimes reported to the police are about race; 6% about religion; 5% about disability and 7% LGBT.

The report looks at Preventing Hate Crime; Responding to Hate Crime in our Communities; Increasing the Reporting of Hate Crime; Improving Support for the Victims of Hate Crime; and Building our Understanding of Hate Crime.

Some news media have said that head teachers will have to record all bullying in school including anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and homophobic. In fact, the report does not actually say that. It says: "The DfE and Government Equalities Office will assess the level of anti-Muslim, antisemitic, homophobic and other bullying in schools in order to understand the circumstances, and will further support projects and programmes to reduce levels of bullying."

I suspect government will fudge the issue (as previous strategies have) by not actually making all head teachers ensure all instances of bullying, and the type of bullying, are recorded and passed onto the DfE or Equalities Office or another appropriate body such as Ofsted.

Another media source suggested that head teachers will have to report such bullying as hate incidents to the police. The report does not say this: unless the media have been given some other information? I have been advocating this for a long time.

Part of the problem with bullying in schools is that many schools deny it is a problem and head teachers do not want anyone from outside the school interfering - so I will be very surprised if this happens. However, it needs to happen, partly to get schools to acknowledge the high level of bullying that occurs in schools and partly to force the school to do something about it.

I see no reason why schools should not be hate crime reporting centres and all instances of bullying are recorded with appropriate copies going to the DfE, or better still, Ofsted who can then inspect the school for any improvements, and the local police. The local police can then liaise with the school to tackle the issue.

This will send a very clear message to young people that BULLYING IS A SERIOUS MATTER. It will also introduce young people to the concept that there are consequences if you bully. Furthermore, if done properly (and there will be the rub) it should encourage young people to report incidents once they have left school because they know it will be taken seriously by the police and there will be some action.

I'm not holding my breath!

I acknowledge I retired four years ago and things might have improved but my experience, over twelve years, of dealing with homophobic hate crime against young people includes the following problems which would need attention if a clearer idea of the level of homophobic incidents is to be achieved, dealt with and reduced:

  • Historically the priority has always been given to dealing with race hate incidents; this needs to change and equal priority given to all hate incidents;

  • Local authority officers dealing with hate incidents are often from the BME community which gives that community more confidence in reporting; there needs to be officers from other communities to deal with other forms of hate crime, i.e. an LGBT officer, a disability officer, one who deals with religious hate crime.

  • All police need awareness training and are able to respond appropriately - in my experience over twelve years rarely did the police take it seriously (and we are talking about a LOT of reports) and I cannot think of one incidence when it was dealt with appropriately. (They were helpful in two instances where homophobic families were involved but these were Asian families and other procedures kicked in i.e. forced marriage.)

  • There is a total lack of understanding about the effects of on-going homophobic abuse which young people often experience on a daily or
  • weekly basis. I am still in contact with several young people I supported many years ago who experienced severe homophobic bullying at school and the schools did nothing about it - they are still YEARS LATER suffering from mental health problems as a result!

  • Unless an LGBT young person is accessing an LGBT youth group they are unlikely to receive appropriate support after being bullied.

  • Local hate crime liaison police should liaise with local LGBT youth groups - visit them, build up a relationship and trust, listen to the experiences of the young people.

  • And, most important, class and multi-oppression (intersectionality) must be understood and appropriate action taken. We cannot
  • treat all incidents with 'one size fits all.'

    Schools should introduce specific courses to teach young people about bullying, discrimination, oppression; where it comes from; what the effects are; etc. It is not rocket science: here is a free programme: Homophobia from a Multi-Oppression Perspective. Equal priority should be given to homophobia, racism, disableism, sexism, anti-religion and, very important, classism.

    And here is a link to the Bullying page.


30th June 2016

The full report is now available Final Report. Here is a link to the Summary Report.


9th May 2016

The full report will be available from Queer Futures in early June 2016. Meanwhile, here are the key findings:

789 participants,
average age 18.5 years;
50/50 LGB/trans;
81% white British, 9% BME/other;
23% had been in receipt of school meals but equal number of those in receipt and those not in receipt had parents who had a degree;
25% disabled (high percentage included mental health).
195 of participants identified as bisexual, 128 as gay, 118 as pan-sexual, 103 as lesbian.

Five interconnecting factors:
1) homophobia/biphobia/transphobia;
2) sexual/gender norms;
3) managing sexual/gender identities across multiple life domains;
4) being unable to talk;
5) other life crises.

1. Homophobia, biphobia or transphobia
a. 527 (70.8%) had experienced abuse when self-harming or feeling suicidal
b. Trans/unsure and/or disabled twice as likely to experience abuse
c. Bisexual participants least likely to experience abuse
d. Those who experienced abuse 1.5 times more likely to plan or attempt suicide
e. Those who reported they were affected by abuse were twice as likely to plan or attempt suicide
f. 80% of abuse took place at school; 45% in a public place; 40% on the internet; 38% at home; 30% at social event, e.g. party; 15% at work; 13% at religious event (these percentages are guestimates from graph)

2. Sexual, gender norms related to self-harm/suicidal feelings

a. 14.2% completely related; 21.4% very much; 12.9% unsure; 26.5% somewhat; 25% not at all

b. More likely to effect gender diverse young people; least likely to effect bisexual participants; those who felt their sexual orientation and gender identity strongly impacted on their self-harm and suicidal feeling were more likely to plan or attempt suicide.

3. Managing sexual/gender identities across multiple life domains

83.4% found hiding their sexual orientation/gender identity distressing;
trans/unsure participants 3.63 times more likely to feel distressed;
bisexual participants were less likely to be distressed compared to all other sexuality groups;
those who were distressed were 1.72 times more likely to self-harm;
those who 'strongly' distressed were significantly more likely to attempt or plan suicide.

4. Being unable to talk: in response to the question "How much did not being able to talk about your emotions affect your self-harm and suicidal feelings?"

32.4% completely;
41.7% very much;
7.4% unsure;
13.5% somewhat;
5.1% not at all

5. Other life crises included illness in family;
financial problems;
death in family;
illness of friend;
problems with friends;
family breakdown;
relationship ending;
academic pressure;
death of a friend;
own disability;
previous experience of abuse; own illness;

6. The following were most likely to have planned or attempted suicide:

those who had self-harmed;
affected by not talking about their emotions;
disabled/chronic illness or impairment;
effected by abuse; those with gender diverse identities


1. Who did participants ask for help from?

49% friends;
44% internet;
29.10% GP;
22.90% I did not ask for help;
22.80% NHS mental health services;
22.80%; 21.10% parent/carer; 19.30% boyfriend/girlfriend; 17% school counsellor; 13.10% teacher; others: counsellor outside school, helpline (childline), LGBT youth group (about 25% of participants attended an LGBT youth group);
ther family member, youth worker, school nurse, religious leader.

2. Why did you ask for help?

57.90% I was no longer coping;
49.40% I could not go on with how I was feeling;
43.20% I was worried about my mental health; 33.90% I felt out of control;
32.80% I was desperate;
27% I knew what I was feeling was not…;
26.70% I could not imagine my future;
20.50% I was encouraged by someone else;
18.90% I was unable to lead the life I wanted;
14.70% I was forced by someone else.

3. Those most likely to seek help:

those who had self-harmed;
planned or attempted suicide;
disability, chronic illness or impairment;
trans/gender diverse.

4. Reasons for hesitancy:

fear of reactions to their LGBTQ disclosure; stigma of mental health diagnosis;
feeling like their distress would not be taken seriously by adults;
feeling like they were coping.

5. How helpful was the support, advice or information? Helpful:

76.5% LGBTQ youth group;
75% internet;
74.6 % Friends;
66.7% boy/girlfriend;
52.7% parent/carer,
50% GP;
47.2% NHS mental heals services (gender identity clinics).

6. Mental health services: only 22.8% accessed mental health services;

47.2% found NHS mental health services helpful while 36% found them unhelpful; cisgender participants were more likely to indicate that NHS mental health services were 'helpful' when compared to participants who were trans or unsure.

7. Mental health staff survey: small survey consisting of interviews with 27:

50% inadequate training for supporting LGBTQ youth self-harming/suicidal; almost half had inadequate support from organisation to work with LGBTQ youth; those with LGBTQ awareness training were significantly more likely to routinely discuss issues of sexuality and gender identity with patients, have access to adequate training to support LGBTQ youth, work in a supportive organisation; most stated best way to engage LGBTQ youth in service was mandatory LGBTQ awareness staff training.

8. CAMHS Poor experience with CAHMS (from those young participants interviewed):

staff limited knowledge or understanding of LGBTQ issues;
YP therefore reluctant to talk;
focus on symptoms, less underlying causes;
practitioners were disinterested;
ineffective treatment e.g. CBT; YP feeling lost their agency;
treatment plans not negotiated with YP;
YP told how to 'fix' their problems.

9. Gender Identity Services: again from interviews only:

services accessed at critical points for YP;
waiting times;
led to seeking alternatives e.g. private health care, internet, overseas health care;
stress of justifying trans status (repeatedly);
being tested and having 'pass' as trans;
difficulties fitting their gender identity within the NHS gender identity assessments.

10. Who are you most likely to ask for help?

Likely: LGBTQ individuals/groups, 53.3%;
mental health professionals 47.2%;
peers 46.2%;
family 19%;
youth group 15.9%;
school/teacher 12.2%.

Unlikely LGBTQ individuals/groups, 25%;
mental health professionals 28.5%;
peers 34.9%;
family 63.8%;
youth group 57%;
school/teacher 71%.

11. Preferred mode of help-seeking:

82% internet;
50% face-to-face;
18% telephone.


8th December 2015

What About YOUth Report first survey findings released today.

The WAY survey includes 120,000 15 year olds in England. The aim is to create a regular survey to collect local authority data on a range of different health behaviours of 15 year olds.

It was commissioned by the Department of Health after the Children and Young People's Health Outcomes Forum highlighted gaps in the Public Health Outcomes Framework for young people. Similar kinds of surveys have been conducted in the USA for many years now.

The survey includes gender, ethnicity, deprivation, disability, sexual orientation, area. Gender identity is NOT included. Whilst disability is included the findings do not include comparisons for disabled and non-disabled young people, only what percentage of girls, boys; young people; black and minority ethnic; lesbian, gay bisexual and other are disabled.

You would be hard pushed to locate the findings for lesbian, gay and bisexual young people. The main report acknowledges they are included but does not include the findings for them whilst it includes comparisons for gender, ethnicity and area.

The key topics covered are general health; diet; use of free time; physical activity; smoking; drinking; drugs; bullying; and emotional well-being.

To save you wading through Data Visualisation (which is where the results for sexuality are hidden), here are some of the main findings:

Percentage of current smokers: 8% of all participants are current smokers.

7.5% het, 17.7% gay/lesbian, 24.7% bi, 9% other

Regular smokers: 5% of all participants are regular smokers.

5% het, 11.8% gay/lesbian, 16.1% bi, 6% other

Occasional smokers: 3% of all participants are are occasional smokers.

2.5% het, 5.9% gay/lesbian, 8.5% bi, 3% other

Ever had alcoholic drink: 62% of all participants.

62.4% het, 77.5% gay/lesbian, 81.8% bi, 54.4% other

Regular drinkers: 6%.

6% het,10.7% gay/lesbian, 12.4% bi, 6.9% other

Been drunk in last 4 weeks: 15%.

14.3% het, 24.6%gay/lesbian, 26.5% bi, 12.6% other

Tried cannabis: 11%.

10.3%het, 18.8% gay/lesbian, 25.9% bi, 12.5% other

Tried cannabis in past month: 5%.

4.3% het, 7.5% gay/lesbian, 12.9% bi, 5.4% other

Taken drugs (excluding cannabis) in past month:

0.8% het, 2.8% gay/lesbian, 3.1% bi, 2.7% other

Living with long-term illness, disability, or medical condition: 14%.

13.4% het, 17.1% gay/lesbian, 22.8% bi, 19.2% other

Those who think they are the right size: 52%.

53.6%het, 33.2 gay/lesbian, 27.8% bi, 42.2% other

Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale

48% het, 43.3% gay/lesbian, 40.5% bi, 42.1% other.

Low life satisfaction: 14%.

12.1 %het, 31% gay/lesbian, 39.5% bi, 35.4% other

General health excellent: 29%.

30.5% het, 15.6% gay/lesbian, 12.8% bi, 19.5% other

Bullied others: 26%.

9.9% het, 14.8% gay/lesbian, 13.4% bi, 10.2% other

Who had been bullied in last couple of months: 55%.

53.4% het, 74.5% gay/lesbian, 81% bi, 71.2% other

Three or more risky behaviours: 16%.

15.4% het, 26.6% gay/lesbian, 32.8% bi, 15.3% other

It is shocking that these findings are hidden away and none of them have so far been reported in mainstream media (not surprising given they are not included in the press release). It makes you wonder why these results are hidden away?

It is also interesting that there were no questions on self-harm, suicide attempts or ideation, anxiety or depression - begs the question why not?

It is worth noting that I have checked, checked and checked a third time that these figures are correct. I got them from the main report (general figures) and the Data Visualisation for the LGB and other data.

One final point, looking at the mental well-being findings, the mean average for all participants was between 47 and 48 (70 being the highest score), it was the same for different ethnic groups and for deprived groups. This makes the fact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and other, who had lower mean scores, all the more shocking.


4th December 2015

Postponed until 2016 due to flooding.

Queer Futures is holding a Conference on Friday 11th December 2015 at Lancaster University. Dr Liz McDermott will introduce the day followed by keynote speaker Professor Louis Appleby who is lead for the Suicide Prevention Strategy for England.

Part I of the results, Understanding LGBTQ youth suicide and self-harm will be shared followed by four workshops on Preventing LGBTQ youth suicide and self-harm: Health, Education, Youth & Social Work, Family.

The afternoon will begin with Part II of the results, Help Seeking, again followed by the four themed workshops.

The aim of the workshops is to agree recommendations under each theme for parts I and II. I will be facilitating the workshop on Help Seeking, Youth and Social Work in the afternoon.

I am keen to discover whether this research will encourage Professor Appleby to give LGBTQ young people a higher profile in the Suicide Prevention Strategy. To be honest (me being cynical after over 25 years campaigning for this) I am not holding my breath. Here is a link to some of the work I have done over the years: GALYIC History and before that, my work with Lesbian Information Service.

It will also be interesting to see if the research, which of course I have supported as I did Youth Chances, will come up with anything new. Here is a presentation I gave on Suicide Prevention Strategy 2011: LGBTs in Rochdale in October 2012.

I think many services are now aware of the high levels of suicide and self-harm amongst LGBTQ young people; the problem is how to get them to do something about it: it was difficult enough getting them to include the needs of LGBTQ young people before the drastic cut backs, it feels that, without substantial funding and specific actions supported by national strategy,nothing is going to change.

Here is a link to a document we produced at GALYIC back in 2008 LGBT Young People: Pathways to A and E which identifies the triggers for self-harm and suicide amongst LGBT young people, potential areas of intervention, how to reduce admissions and an example of a comprehensive LGBT youth service.


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