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Posted On: 9th Mar 2017

Tackling LGBT Prejudice

Brandon Smythe wants people to stop using the word 'gay' as an insult
Brandon showed his leaflet to members of staff from a construction company

A young man who is tired of hearing the word 'gay' used as an insult has created a leaflet with Fixers showing the impact bullying can have on LGBTQ people. 

 

Brandon Smythe, 18, tells how he was bullied to the extent where he began missing secondary school.

 

‘Growing up I was the only gay person in my year and I stood out like a sore thumb,’ he says.

 

'Other students would call me names every day and it really ground me down. I felt isolated and I didn't want to go to school. I’d tell my parents I was feeling ill so that I didn’t have to go in.' 

 

Brandon, who lives in Aberbargoed in South Wales, says that the word 'gay' would frequently be used in a negative context.

 

He says: ‘I want everyone to know that the word ‘gay’ should not be used as a negative word or an insult, and that words can do more damage than they think.

 

‘I created the leaflet to help people who are not fully aware of what people in the LGBTQ community experience and how we are a vulnerable group when it comes to mental health issues.'

 

The leaflet includes statistics from organisations including Stonewall and the LGBT Foundation and shows that 42% of young LGBTQ people have sought medical help for anxiety or depression and 58% didn't feel that their school was a safe and welcoming space for them. 

 

It also shows that, like Brandon, 95% of pupils have heard people use the word 'gay' as an insult or to describe something they don't like. 

 

 

 

'When you're a teenager and trying to come to terms with who you are that's a hard concept to get your head around - that something you identify as is being used in such a negative way,' says Brandon. 

 

'Many people don't understand how prejudice like that can affect someone's state of mind.'  

 

Brandon studies BTEC health and social care at Coleg y Cymoedd, where he launched the campaign.

 

One person who attended the event said: 'The statistics are really worrying. The leaflet is laid out well and it should be shown in schools.' 

 

Another added: 'The overall project was really eye-opening.' 

 

To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.

 

Author: Molly Kersey

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