At LGBT Youth Scotland we are all about making an impact in the lives of LGBTQ+ young people so that they can flourish and thrive in the places that they live, work and learn. Every year we survey the young people who use our services so that we can understand the difference that we are making. Young people’s voices are at the heart of everything that we do, and hearing directly from the young people who come to our groups lets us know what we are doing right, and what we need to work on.
Our Life in Scotland research found that 77% of participants experienced anxiety, and 54% experienced the symptoms of depression. Living in a society where homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are still a part of the daily fabric of life has a corrosive impact on young people’s sense of identity and self-worth. It’s vital that we support young people to feel confident in themselves, and to know that they are valued and important as their authentic selves. As a result of being involved at LGBT Youth Scotland, 86% of our young people told us that they were more confident and 76% told us that they felt more able to make positive decisions about their health and wellbeing.
92% of participants in our survey said that coming to LGBT Youth Scotland helped them to make new friends and feel part of a community. The impact of this cannot be understated: having meaningful relationships with people who fully understand and accept us is fundamental to a happy and healthy lifestyle. We regularly hear from young people who came to a group many years ago that the friends they made at LGBT Youth Scotland have endured, and that they have been able to support each other through the highs and lows of life.
Life in Scotland also told us that only 25% of participants discussed LGBT relationships as part of their formal sex education. Without accurate information about sex and relationships, LGBTQ+ young people lack the skills they need to navigate this important part of life. We seek to address that in our youth groups, by providing regular sessions exploring the parts of sex education that might not have been covered in mainstream schooling. As a direct result of this work, 64% of our young people told us that being involved at LGBTYS has helped them to have a better understanding on how to make safe choices about sex and sexual health.
Our annual youth work survey shows us that we are making an impact in the lives of LGBTQ+ young people but there is still much work to be done as we seek to reach all the LGBTQ+ young people in Scotland, particularly those who live in our rural communities. You can help us the fulfill our mission by making a donation today.