Posted on: Monday 17 May 2021
Members of an LGBTQ support group for young people have welcomed Torfaen Council’s commitment to supporting gender diversity and promoting equality.
The Kings, Queens and Everyone In Between group was set up by the council’s youth service last year to offer lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and their friends a safe place to meet.
Speaking on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, founding member Hollie-Mai, who came out as transgender six years ago, said the group offered vital support.
She said: “The group has given me a chance to be me without any judgement. The youth workers have been exceptionally helpful in all my times of need and allow me to vent in a safe space.
“I work closely with them on a one-to-one basis and they help me with my emotions and to accept who I am.
“This group is amazing for helping to educate people about the issues the community faces.”
Kiara added: “I'm not part of the LGBTQ+ community but I joined the group with my best friend who is. I have seen how much this group has helped my friends and they have educated me about how I can show my support.”
The group has also welcomed new training offered to Torfaen Council staff who work in the education or youth service, as part of an initiative by Stonewall Cymru and the Welsh Government.
The elearning module aims to give staff the tools to challenge gender stereotypes and promote equality.
Youth worker Libby Martin, who recently completed the training, said: “I was aware that labelling someone can upset them, but the course helped to highlight how other words which may be said as a joke can also affect people’s confidence.
“It has given me skills to challenge that language and explain the impact it can have. I’ve already applied what I have learned in some of the groups I run.”
Councillor David Yeowell, Torfaen Council executive member for Corporate Governance and Performance, which includes responsibility for equality, said: “Torfaen Council is committed to tackling conscious and unconscious bias and our Strategic Equality Plan for the next three years outlines how we plan to support anyone who is disadvantaged by wider society, purely because of aspects of their identity.”
To find out more about International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia visit https://may17.org/