Whilst I was in Manchester last week I picked up a leaflet about the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (www.lgf.org.uk). I was horrified yet again by the statistics they gave as part of their, ‘are we really going to let this keep happening’ fundraising campaign. The facts as they appear on the leaflet are;
1 in 5 of us have tried to commit suicide
9 in 10 of us have been verbally abused
1 in 10 of us are HIV positive
4 in 5 of us have been bullied at school
3 in 5 of us have been beaten up
1 in 4 of us suffer from alcohol or drug addiction.
There is clearly no room for complacency in challenging homophobia. That said it is an interesting space that charities occupy to secure the support of the public and generate funds from statutory and non-statutory sources – it probably wouldn’t be too appealing to insert at the end of these statistics – ‘remarkable that we contribute so much to society given these facts’ or ‘what impressive emotional resilience we have’. For Brook this sometimes means we are required to focus on the negative outcomes of sex and sexuality how many young people get pregnant, or get a sexually transmitted infection.
It is even more important therefore that we remember most young people DO want to take responsibility for their sex and sexuality and for protecting their sexual health; that most do not get pregnant, and with the right support those that do and decide to proceed with the pregnancy go on to make very very good parents.