Read the summaries of the table discussions at our We the 33 LGBTQ+ event.


Table 1:

The young people (YPs) agreed they all had a similar experience in school with the key speaker which was Jess. She expressed that schools did very little when it came to combating homophobia and they don’t speak as much as they should on the topic. They don’t feel confident that the LGBTQ+ community has the same opportunities for further education/training. Jess also bought to light how there is a limited space to be yourself as a young person, for example not being able to express yourself in the way you present yourself because of rules such as no piercings, unnatural hair, only being allowed to wear white or black hijabs.


Listener Comments:

  • Went to school 10 years ago and can’t recall anything like this being said
  • Good for staff to feel more comfortable coming out
  • Staff using pronouns
  • LGBTQ+ history
  • Some settings feel more welcoming than others – good to show that they are inclusive
  • Can depend on the courses


Table 2, 3 & 4:

Other topics of discussion in education mentioned outdated systems in employment which can negatively affect trans people as they can provide their deadnames. PSHE lessons are not always inclusive to people that are not cis-gendered heterosexual and often times than not, the pupils end up educating the teachers. Following the topic of inclusivity problems in school, young people believe that gender-neutral bathrooms are necessary but currently disabled bathrooms are offered as an alternative but it’s not enough. Schools also have very gendered uniforms.

Many of the YP related to being bullied because of their sexuality. One YP shared “Not great in school. l I went to a Catholic school and did not understand my sexuality until university. I Saw a lot of bullying. I felt like I did not understand to step in as it was not tough. It wasn’t great, I was the only trans person in the school. The bullying was through the roof from both teachers and students. The bullying from the teachers was another level of bullying, so I was unable to complain and get help. I suppressed it for a few years. Had a positive experience (in Uni) people were pretty accepting but my brother is still not accepting. I believe it’s because they taught it in school”


Table 5:

  • School schools have schemes like ‘diversity ambassadors” but this isn’t done in a meaningful way, there need to be safe spaces in school/education!
  • Finding out about trans stuff through friends and media like YouTube but finding info online isn’t enough if you don’t have real-life people you can talk to who understand
  • Lack of role models for LGBTQ+ YPs to look up to
  • Sometimes we can learn about LGBTQ+ things, but not make them live, ‘real’ on our own – need to see LGBTQ+ adults know this is possible
  • LGBTQ+ history needs to be accessible! more than a page in history a book – don’t need to go out of your way to find info
  • Not enough contact with role models
  • Safe spaces aren’t always welcoming/safe/Listening
  • Need to correct PowerPoint
  • YPs need to find representation on social media
  • Poor education system in general and on LGBTQ+ issues – finding info online


Table 6:

Matched experience as the other tables

  • Introducing ideas at a younger age – like straight sex ed. Queer sex ed should be taught in schools. NORMALISE!!
  • Learning more on the internet – not always accurate and safe 
  • Say they are supportive but no action or information to support this. Not supported when bullied. No consequences. 
  • Bullying on social media. 
  • Lived experience educating teachers 
  • Better training for teachers. 
  • Schools do not deal with bullying well. 
  • Validating YP who come out – knowing how to respond. Be open-minded. 

Mental Health:


Table 1:

People who have mental health issues don’t seek help until it’s got really bad. I hadn’t been to school for a year. More staff, better training, better understanding – more adults that understand teenager’s struggles.  

Listener comments: 

  • Really painful to look at it but better that they can express themselves
  • Heard of people experiencing this in work/school and makes me angry. NON NEGOTIATBLE!
  • Very long waiting list for CAMHS and all counseling – minimal offer in schools

Homelessness – people get moved and have to wait longer 

  • Better education around MH and LGBTQ+ issues generally – should be interwoven into primary school
  • Schools not able to pay for training (OTR)


Table 2: 

  • Not enough services or places to signpost for LGBTQ+ young people
  • Online spaces are easier – more anonymous, safer
  • Need to be taught about mental health younger – knowing you can talk to people and are not alone
  • Being asked my pronouns – helps me feel seen
  • Underfunding and long wait times
  • Need people with lived experience
  • Need to be able to choose your counsellor – have access to an openly queer counsellor


Table 3: 

Bullying still happening! Don’t ignore it. Religious beliefs are expressed harmfully and lead to bullying – impacting on YPs’ MH 

Great services – people who understand 

LGBT+ support: 

  • Long waiting lists
  • “I need to be very open to finding support – find the courage and be vulnerable”
  • Thresholds for how bad you need to be to get help – you need to get to be really bad to get better

It’s great to go to places that are openly inclusive – labeled as LGBT+ friendly because I don’t have to figure out if I’m going to be bullied or not 


Table 4: 

  • Stopped being passed around mental health services – having to wait 13.5 hours and an ambulance
  • More representation within MH service providers with lived experience that can relate and understand first-hand
  • Feel judged by people who don’t understand (at secondary school or a lot of trainers. Feel MH practitioners are sometimes just in it for the money)
  • Before acted out because I wanted attention. When I realised what was going on I had a 6-7 months debate with myself
  • Didn’t have an issue with mental health until came out. That’s when I started to self-harm myself, mum was supportive, and the school tried to support me but made accusations of me being attention seeking. 
  • Repressed/dissociative/self-harm/disconnected. Previously acted out and lash out at others (seen by the school as a troubled child). Struggled to access support until went to Uni when I started therapy (financial ability to access).


Table 5 

  • Supporting friends with MH difficulties. Wanting to help and connect friends with services
  • Support system needs to be fixed
  • Lack of understanding about LGBTQ+ identities, asking unhelpful questions. MH services don’t know about LGBTQ+ identities, needs, and experiences – They don’t know what they’re doing and feel embarrassed to ask e.g. assumption that being LGBTQ+ is seen as causing MH problems as a problem in itself.
  • Massive waiting lists for gender-affirming healthcare which is very harmful to mental health
  • Experience or fear of discrimination/queerphobia shapes how LGBTQ+ YPs behave, e.g., not being open in public about sexuality/gender/relationship – “everything is a lot scarier than it should be”
  • Thresholds – can’t access support unless you’re in crisis! – so you have to get to the breaking point so you can get help – you’re not bad enough, we can’t help you
  • YPs are not listened to and involved in a meaningful way in care planning
  • Support is not consistent. There are no opportunities to can’t build a relationships
  • Professionals are scared to ask questions or get things wrong – need more knowledge and space to ask without judgment
  • In education, people need to learn why something is wrong – otherwise they just keep doing it!
  • Financial barriers – can’t access therapy! Especially for young people
  • Accessing MH support = not appropriate for someone neurodivergent – focussing on the wrong things
  • Pathologisation – hurtful to be told something about your identity is bad/harmful – especially harmful for YP who are still figuring things out


Table 6 

Relatable – especially the words 

Pictures show what Chloe has been through – speak to experiences 

Experienced anxiety and depression. Accessing support is hard, takes time and people aren’t equipped to deal with it. “I hate CAMHS” x3 – transphobic GIDS. Waiting lists out of age range – Vitaminds CBT. I’ve been on the waiting list since January and have had no contact since. 1-2 years for CAMHS referral Patronising, too complex, left cold, counsellor retired – can feel condescending.

  • Consent from parents when not out
  • Very specific demographic for CAMHS support
  • More mental health first aid
  • Feel forced to say things I didn’t want
  • Everything needs to change
  • Experiences are all bad.


CAMHS – overwhelmed, underfunded, autism/trans. I was told that it’s a symptom 

Feel like have to be on my deathbed to receive support. People don’t understand self-harm. 

GIDS – transphobic, tried to convince out of medical transitioning- difficult to self-refer, the process is confusing 


Support & Future Action:


Jessie table: 

Most people see me as a cis girl. Wanted to end on a more positive note the experiences I had have made me learn from them, and I have made friends with other trans people – they are easier to talk to. I have so much to talk about and I don’t know where to start. 


Listener comments: 

  • People just think transphobia and homophobia are just being called names but it’s not.
  • Sometimes people are not actively transphobic, but they refuse to use my pronouns 
  • People need to stop judging and assuming people’s gender


Table 2: 

A change – more representation in positions of power 

Protest – BE the representation 


Table 3:  

  • Educating the educators has to happen
  • Teach and meet expectations about respect and tolerance.
  • Increase education on LGBT+ in the curriculum.
  • Invest in schools and the workplace.
  • Promote youth services and CYN opportunities.
  • Youth club investment.
  • Young people are given opportunities to make a decision and come together to find solutions.
  • Funding mental health services that are specific
  • Adverts on TV and public messaging – info that we don’t skip. Public media work.
  • Talk to children at a younger age.
  • Representation in school curriculum – revision and change of whole education model that is more inclusive. 


Table 4 

  • “Background does not impact LGBTQ” status – this idea needs to change.
  • Sharing feelings towards trans athletes being banned from other sports – sports teams being more inclusive/ a trans or NB team in schools too
  • Schools to be more accepting = LGBTQ+ identities taken more seriously by teachers as well as peers – greater appreciation for the impact of “snide remarks”
  • Barbers/hairdressers still very gendered – Skeleton in Bedminster, gender neutral; barber in Weston discriminated


Table 5 

  • “I want trans people to know they are not alone”
  • “I’m still trans outside of youth group”
  • No support from trans support
  • Gender affirming
  • Prioritise healthcare for trans people – it’s non-existent and transphobic – waiting times 5-6 years first appointment – impact on mental health
  • YP paying privately for hormone treatment
  • Individual experiences and meet individuals where they are at
  • Positive role models non sensationalised – ‘normal’ people
  • “Trans people exist everywhere”
  • LGBTQ+ experiences should be supported beyond (specific) youth groups


Table 6 

  • Better funding for CAMHS
  • Better staff training
  • Education for pupils around mental health issues, especially self-harm
  • Early intervention for mental health issues
  • Pride – watch! Put on curriculum. Normalised. 
  • Older generation more difficult to accept – a common experience of being outed – allow YP to use the preferred name without consent



How can we help?