Letter: Shift in attitudes but bullying still needs tackling

LGBT flag
LGBT flag

The last decade has witnessed an amazing shift in attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people: succeeding governments have played a significant role in this transition, getting rid of homophobic laws and replacing them with anti-discriminatory ones.

The media, too, has played an important role including more positive LGBT role models in films, television, newspapers, magazines. This has resulted in greater acceptance and more people coming out and challenging our invisibility.

Life has improved for many LGBT people but, for some, it has got worse.

As a result of greater visibility many LGBT young people are identifying and coming out at younger ages, at a time when many teenagers are vulnerable anyway.

But alongside this phenomenon a more sinister one has appeared - homophobic bullying. It affects most schools and the majority are not doing enough to tackle it.

As a result young LGBT people have much higher levels of mental health problems than heterosexual youth, including self-harm, suicidal feelings and attempts, confirmed by local, national and international research.

I am aware of these consequences having supported LGBT young people in Calderdale and elsewhere for over twenty-five years (I set up and ran Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale for twelve years until lack of funding meant we had to close).

Because of this I am asking constituents in the Calder Valley to think very carefully about who they vote for in the coming election.

Jan Bridget, by email