Welcome to our second edition of the new Abergavenny Pride blog. September is Bisexual Awareness Month and is going to be the main theme of the blog.
Bi people aren’t “gay people with one foot still in the closet” or “straight people with a freaky side” – bi people are those that can fall in love with more than one gender identity, and that’s about the only characteristic that is consistent across the board. Bisexual representation is steadily increasing in recent years, and pop culture is slowly beginning to portray bi people as the complex, unique and loving people that they are. We have a little history for you and of course the creation of the bi flag as well.
September is also World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th. It’s a time for communities around the world to come together and raise important awareness on ways which we can all create a world where fewer people unfortunately lose their lives to suicide.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24 – and LGBTQ+ people are at significantly increased risks (Hedegaard, Curtin & Warner 2018)
- LGBTQ+ youth are more than 4 times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers (John et al 2019: Johns et al 2020)
- There are mental health disparities across social identities – Almost 48% of bi young people considered suicide, and 27% attempted. (The Trevor Project)
- A 2020 Trevor Project study found that transgender and non-binary youth were 2-2.5 times more likely to experience depressive symptoms, seriously consider suicide and attempt suicide in comparison to their cisgendered LGBTQ+ peers
Although this is not directly an LGBTQ+ awareness day, there is sadly a large number of LGBTQ+ people who feel there is no longer any other option and struggle to find a fit within “normal society”. It’s a time to ensure that anybody who is struggling with mental health issues, gender identity or sexual orientation, bullying and any other reason that they are not alone and there is help available. Some helplines are shown below, you can try and talk to someone you trust and let friends and family know what’s going on for you. They may be able to offer support and keep you safe. There is no right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings – the important thing is to start the conversation
Samaritans Call 116 123 or Text SHOUT to 85258
Papyrus UK 0800 068 4141
Calm Call 0800 58 58 58
SOS 0300 1020 505
If you find it difficult to talk to someone you know you can always talk to your GP, call 111 or contact your mental health crisis team if you have one. If you are in danger or seriously harmed yourself its important to call 999 immediately for an ambulance or go straight to the closest A&E.
September is also a big month for young adults, with either the new school term starting or a new school/college. This can be particularly daunting for LGBTQ+ people, as bullying and harassment can start again or anew, there comes the possibility of coming out to a whole new audience or the threat of being pushed out involuntarily and then comes the pressures of gendered school uniforms, access to school toilets and changing rooms that don’t match their gender and the use of pronouns! With steps being taken since the removal of Section 28, we just haven’t got as far as required to make schools and inclusive environment for all and Just Like Us’ Growing up LGBT+ report on bullying, schools and mental health from 2021 states just 55% of school staff said that their school has LGBT+ inclusive policies in place and only 52% had received training on LGBT+ inclusion. Only 30 per cent of the pupils told them that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is taken seriously at their school, and 48 per cent of all pupils surveyed said their school gave almost no positive messaging about being LGBTQ+. Those LGBT+ pupils who had seen these positive messages at school are more likely to feel safe at school. 68 per cent of pupils who see strong LGBTQ+ inclusive messages report feeling safe in school, compared to just 49 per cent of those pupils who don’t see them.
This is why we as a team at Abergavenny Pride are proud to work with local schools and education centres and is how the concept of “Out of The Closet” was born. This is only a very small step in tackling a very big problem, and we hope that over the years we will be able to continue to support our local young people and provide a much-needed safe network for them.
With an estimated 2 million of the population identifying as Bi and counting, we must look to the future and as James Dean once said “I’m certainly not going through life with one hand tied behind my back”