Ipswich teenagers tackle gender and sexuality bias in LGBTQ+ tooolkit

Northgate Sixth Form Diversity group

Northgate Sixth Form Centre's Diversity and Community Group has created a LGBTQ+ language toolkit - Credit: Jo Ward and Charlotte Campbell

A group of Ipswich teenagers have created an LGBTQ+ language toolkit for their school - in a bid to stop gender and sexuality bias.

Northgate Sixth Form Centre's Diversity and Community Group was finding that young people in society generally would incorrectly use words and phrases - such as wrongly using the word "gay" as an insult.

However, they said the use of "micro-aggression" - silent looks, body language or behaviour that indicates disapproval - against people of a different sexual orientation is more common than traditional forms of bullying.

As a result, its members put together a toolkit to help both students and teachers use the correct terminology around the LGBTQ+ community - so they are "sending a clear message to that they are safe, included, valued and, more importantly, celebrated".

Helena Pettitt, 17, a member of the group, said: "I've heard phrases like 'you're gay' being used, but not incredibly frequently.

"I don't think there's as much 'out loud' discrimination, but there's an uncomfortable feeling that if you know you are different from being straight, there's going to be someone who thinks that you're weird and doesn't want to be around you."

The guide also includes tips for tackling discrimination, including not ignoring prejudice and either challenging it or reporting it to teachers.

The group has been nominated for the Suffolk HOPE Awards, a scheme run by Suffolk police with Suffolk County Council and others to celebrate the contribution of young people.

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Nominations for the HOPE Awards are open until Friday, May 7.

People are urged to nominate any young person aged between 11 and 18 who has gone above and beyond during the difficulties of the past year, as well as shown resilience, determination and teamworking. 

To nominate a young person, fill in an application form here.

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