Actor Sir Ian McKellen, singer Dan Gillespie Sells and champion snowboarder Jo Chastney all spoke at Stonewall’s third annual day for young lesbian, gay and bisexual people at the weekend.
The Greater London Authority kindly provided City Hall as the venue, which played host to 140 lesbian, gay and bisexual people aged 16 – 25 from all over Britain. The day, sponsored by Aviva, was designed to offer practical help about being gay in 21st century Britain.
As well as speeches from celebrity role models, young people attended workshops on realising ambitions and developing confidence, being gay and having faith, getting the job you want, staying safe and healthy and developing campaigning skills. The day finished with forum theatre from Rikki Beadle-Blair and his troupe of actors, Team Angelica, who showcased plays exploring gay issues – including FIT, Stonewall’s touring play for schools designed to challenge homophobic bullying.
‘Recent Stonewall research has demonstrated how the culture of homophobia in Britain’s schools leads to lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils underachieving,’ said Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive. ‘The Stonewall Youth Event restores confidence to young people and empowers them to enter the world with a more positive attitude towards their sexual orientation in all areas of their life – at home, at school and at work. We’re very grateful to Aviva for making this event possible.’
One young person summed up the general feeling of the day in her feedback: ‘Classic day. I feel better about who I am.’