Think Before You Speak: Making Life Better for LGBT Youth

This project, funded through the Voices Foundation aims to address the difficulties encountered by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth related to the recognition of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in a society that may not always be eagerly willing to accept difference.

Many LGBTQ youth still struggle with coming to terms with their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and face added pressure by the fact that this realisation often comes in one’s teenage and adolescent years – ones in which identity formation and peer pressure play an important role.

Bullying and intimidation of students who are gay (or are perceived to be gay) is a common occurrence among young people, and schools often fail to ensure the necessary safe space they are meant to provide.  Forms of intimidation range from verbal abuse to physical bullying, and can be very damaging to young people still coming to terms with their own social and sexual identities. Research in Malta shows that a third of LGBTQ students have been psychologically harassed with 80.4% claiming that they knew the perpetrator.

The aims of the proposed project are:

To reduce and prevent the use of homophobic and transphobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBTQ teens / youth;

To raise awareness about the prevalence and the effects of homophobic and transphobic bullying and behaviour  whilst encouraging respect towards individual peer differences;

To overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation often experienced by LGBTQ youth through the provision of positive role models;

To encourage parents to support their LGBTQ children and raise awareness of the parent support group run by Drachma.