Menu Donate Request our help

Helpline: 0300 102 1919

Helping young people express themselves in a safe place

As LGBT History month draws to a close, the RAF Benevolent Fund shines a light on how Airplay is helping RAF children explore their sexuality. In this blog, station youth worker Sarah White explains how.

We started running monthly LGBTQ+ virtual sessions in November via our digital platform Airplay Connect, and our members have really enjoyed them. We have had lots of fun playing games, and had some great discussions around hate crime, who to report it to, when to take it further and how we can be more inclusive within our youth clubs.

We celebrated LGBT History month during a session last week and discussed the historical changes in law. Young people recognise that things are positively changing, but feel that there is still more that can be done. These discussions have already led to us looking at the wording we use on our membership forms, and further training being delivered to our Airplay youth workers.

Youth work practice is not 'one size fits all'. There are vast differences in the backgrounds of young people, how they view themselves, and how they are treated by others. Young people who identify as LGBTQ+ often experience oppression daily, and statistically, mental health difficulties are more common among young people who identify as LGBTQ+.

Being part of a group that offers support from peers on a journey similar to their own is invaluable. Having a safe space can help to reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety and can empower LGBTQ+ young people to challenge the nature of the inequality and oppression that they face. When asked what they enjoy most about these sessions, one of our members said: "It's just nice to have people to talk to."

I am really enjoying being part of this group, and I'm excited to see how it grows. Next month we will be celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, creating wearable masterpieces (T-shirts) to raise awareness. If anyone would like to know more about our sessions, or to join in, email airplayandbenclub@actionforchildren.org.uk.

Sign up to receive the RAFBF e-newsletter