Publish Date: 24/11/2011
Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale (GALYIC) will close its doors on November 30th 2011, twelve years and three months after it was set up in August 1999. www.lgf.org.uk spoke to one of its founders Jan Bridget about the success of the group and the challenges still ahead.
After years of dedicated work, GALYIC are leaving a significant legacy. Jan shares just some of the highlights;
“Making training videos that were used across the country by the Department of Health, being involved in getting out a trans booklet by young trans people for young trans people, and really the biggest joy is to see young people change, blossom and grow.”
“I also see the needs assessment tool I developed as a lasting legacy – it was used to identify the individual needs of GALYIC members and to raise awareness of the key issues facing them.” http://lgbt.resurv.co.uk/
On the subject of the media and their lack of interest in GALYIC’s closure Jan says: “I don’t know what to say. I’ve been doing this work for over 25 years – people want to think we are ok now – that we have legislation and protections – but for young people it’s worse now than ever before."
Jan highlights the challenges still facing young LGB&T people: “Young people are coming out at younger ages and there are high levels of homophobic bullying in schools, which very few schools do anything about.”
Jan welcomes the Equality Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty, “which clearly states that all public services should meet the needs of LGB&T young people. There are also government strategies which now identify gay young people as vulnerable and are saying that local authorities need to be providing services that meet their needs - in particular the new suicide prevention strategy.”
“Furthermore, as from January 2012, all schools must take account of the needs of LGBT young people as Ofsted will include questions about this in their inspections.”
Calderdale Young People’s Service have agreed to take over the GALYIC youth group to ensure LGB&T young people in Calderdale have the support they need
Current and past members as well as agencies who have worked with GALYIC over the years, will come together for a farewell party in Halifax this evening.
Councillor Nader Fekri, Mayor of Calderdale, said, "I am enormously proud of the fantastic work that GALYIC have done over the past dozen years here in Calderdale. They have helped hundreds of youngsters and their families at often difficult times in their lives, challenged ignorance, prejudice, and oppression wherever they've encountered it, and by challenging homophobia, helped make our borough a more accepting, caring, and open place to live. I wish Jan a well-earned, long, and fulfilling retirement".
Jan concludes: “It’s been hard work, but it’s been magic.”