Every year, young people across the UK and the world are increasingly deciding to be truthful with who they are and come out to family, friends and loved ones, however around the world there is still the fear of how people would be treated when being identified as being LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning). Statistics show that ‘42% of LGBTQ+ Students have hidden their identity at university for fear of discrimination’.

In my opinion and from experience of being at university being open as someone who identifies as being homosexual it was hard as the fear of being bullied or discriminated while on campus and completing my studies was extremely high, which to be fair would be normal for any student who identified as LGBTQ+, but for care leavers it is an extra part of them that can feel that they are being singled out which for the first year of my studies is exactly how I felt.

I remember very clearly, that when I was at university my fear was conducted of many different conditions that I was suffering with at the time, from suffering with a mixed anxiety and depression diagnosis but also the strange feeling of being in a new city like most other students that I was living with. However, the biggest fear was the even though I was out and proud, I was still in a new place, and no one knew me so the reality of people bullying me or even discriminating against me was high, but what I did not realise was the support that students who identify as LGBTQ+ at university can get from other students and supporting staff alike.

As many LGBTQ+ students and people know, speaking openly to new people can be extremely difficult for the first time, as you never know how they would treat you but most importantly you do not know exactly what their reaction would be when you come out to them. As a care leaver this is more prominent as coming out while being in care is sometimes extremely hard and from experience me coming out after care was even harder as I never knew who I could trust as I felt that everyone was against me, but after coming out to my best friend everything started getting easier, but regrettably this is not the case for everyone even though many of us wish it could be.

However, from my experience of being out in my educational life, my working life before moving to higher education was not the same, which many people who might read this can relate too in their own personal way. Statistical research shows that 35% of people identified as LGBTQ+ have hidden this from their employer for fear of being bullied or discriminated, which in my personal experience of working, I felt that I needed to hide the fact of me being gay.

The fact of me doing this made me feel upset that I could not be honest with anyone about myself, but the fear of not being accepted by members of staff but also the fact that if someone outed me to another member of staff that I did not know, made me feel uneasy which for many people I know, is the same reason they do not disclose this to their employer.

Society today, is extremely influential, especially when it comes to young people, who have gone through a bad upbringing, or even still growing up, as even though in our day and age, more LGBTQ+ people are being accepted for who they are, however there is still a lot of societal issues that effects youth’s minds and influences the way they think, which has a massive impact on the way people react to hearing that someone they know is LGBTQ+.

So, from one care leaver to many more, when coming out it takes a lot of courage to do this, yes you will feel scared and alone, but I can promise that the people who you feel you can trust are the people who will stand by you no matter what. Always feel that you can talk to your personal advisor about this but most importantly, remember that if you are going to come out do it for yourself and never for anyone else. It must be right for you just like my time was for me, but most importantly always know that there are always people around that will be there to support you even if you do not know it yet.

By Anonymous Care Experienced Blogger.

 

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