'Stay Strong, Stay You': School

Northwich Guardian: 'Stay Strong, Stay You': School 'Stay Strong, Stay You': School

STUDENTS at a Weaverham school are challenging homophobia as part of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ambassadors project.

Weaverham High School was one of three in Cheshire West and Chester to take up the LGBT Youth North West’s task of challenging and exploring homophobia in schools.

LGBT Youth North West successfully bid into the council’s Promoting Equality and Diversity Funding and is working throughout the region during February – which is also LGBT History Month.

A recent survey by Stonewall – a national LGB charity – found 99 per cent of students in Britain’s school hear phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ and 96 per cent of students reported hearing homophobic insults and name-calling.

In a further survey in 2013 by Youth Chances, young LGBT people reported their time at school was affected by hostility or fear, with consequences such as feeling left out, lower grades and having to move schools.

A group of LGBT Ambassadors at Weaverham High School received Equality and Diversity training from LGBT Youth North West, then created their own project that challenged homophobia.

The school is using a series of assemblies to deliver a very poignant message about the use of homophobic language and as a stage to launch their sticker campaign ‘Stay Strong, Stay You’.

Rachel Williams, LGBT Youth North West training manager, said “This has been an incredibly powerful piece of work and highlights the importance of using the knowledge of young people in recognising the issues and using their skills and creativity to produce effective projects that challenge their peer’s perceptions.”

The students are proudly showcasing their work at an event at Police HQ in Winsford on February 25 at 4pm.

The event includes keynote speakers including Sue Sanders, creator of LGBT History Month and chair of Schools Out, Mark Parkinson, Head of Children’s Achievement and Wellbeing, and PC Liz Stanton, Safer Schools and Young Persons Officer.

For more information on LGBT Youth North West visit lgbtyouthnorthwest.org.uk or call 07813 981338.

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