Just Like Us launched in Wales this March. It’s aim is to empower young people and teachers to challenge prejudice and bullying in schools. With the help of volunteers and students, it will challenge stereotypes and improve the lives of young LGBT people.
Just Like Us founder, Tim Ramsey, was inspired to start the charity after a visiting his former school and sharing his story with pupils and teachers, ‘Afterwards, several staff received emails from pupils saying how inspirational my talk had been,’ he told The Guardian. ‘Rugby coaches who hadn’t noticed me at school thanked me for saying something that had needed saying for a long time.
‘One teacher was close to tears.’
Just Like Us will build a network of volunteers and LGBT university students, and provide the training they need to visit schools, share their experiences, run workshops, and become positive role models and spokespeople for the LGBT community. It hopes to lead to greater understanding, foster equality and diversity, and put pressure on schools to have clear policies on LGBT-related issues.
Already, schools nationwide are becoming more accepting of non-binary gender identities. St Paul’s Girls’ School in London has started a formal process where pupils are provided with support and advice if they request to change their gender during their time at there.
A 2014 survey of 1,600 gay pupils for Stonewall showed that more than half of lesbian, gay and bisexual students experience homophobic bullying in school. Three in five said teachers witnessing the bullying never intervene.
Words: Sid Hayns-Worthington
Join as a school or sign up to be an ambassador for Just Like Us here.