What advice do you have for young LGBT+ people growing up today?
We asked our amazing LGBT+ members to share their thoughts
In the UK, February is LGBT+ History Month, and it’s a great time to celebrate and support LGBT+ members of our community.
We know how important it is for girls and young women in guiding to have a diverse set of rolemodels to look up to. We are so proud of our LGBT+ volunteers, who support girls and inspire them to be themselves every day.
We asked volunteers to share their advice for young LGBT+ people, along with their hopes for the future.
Here's what they had to say
“You will find yourself in time - don't feel like you have to know now. I didn't, when I was a Guide or Ranger! Don't feel like you have to rush, or have to be able to put a name or label to things.
And to young people and adults alike: you are wanted here. You might feel like the only one, but you're not. I want you to keep being here, and keep taking up space. You are wanted, welcome, and needed here. I hope for a day when coming out isn't a big or stressful thing, when people don't make assumptions about who you are."
“As a Guide leader who first came out as a Ranger to my Senior Section unit, I’ve always felt safe to be myself in Guiding.
My advice would always be to come out when you feel ready, and only to people who you feel comfortable around. Don’t let anybody tell you that you have to fit certain criteria to belong.
My hope for the future is that there’ll be a time when we can all be ourselves all over the world, with no fear of persecution. ” - Lizz
“I would explain that your sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else, just you and the person you have a relationship with.
LGBTQ+ identity is like body image or self-confidence: no-one else's opinions of you matter, and if they're negative opinions, it says more about them than it does about you. Don't let anyone dull your colours or your sparkle!” - Emily
“I’m a Brownie leader and I’m proud to be bisexual. I haven’t come out to my unit but I have come out to the leaders in my team, who were all very accepting
I’m proud to be part of an organisation that is not only accepting of LGBT+ people, but encourages us to talk about the LGBT+ community and its history with our young members. I offered my Brownies the chance to complete a Pride challenge badge at home in June 2020 and they absolutely loved it! They made bracelets in the Pride colours, read books for their age group about LGBT+ heroes, held their own Pride tea parties with their teddies - it was amazing to see what they came up with. I’m so inspired by my Brownies and so proud of how accepting and caring they are. My hope for the future is that all people will be like them.
My advice to young LGBT+ people is that it is so important to remember that you are valid whoever you love, so please speak to a trusted adult if you need support.” - Camilla
“I’ve been a Brownie leader for 2.5 years and a young leader before that, and I'm a lesbian. My advice is: When you're ready and able to come out, find other LGBT+ people to be friends with and surround yourself with. They will understand your experiences, help you feel comfortable with yourself and identity, and teach you more about your community. I hope that one day no LGBT+ person will be scared to come out.” - Sarah
“I’m a leader in training for a Rainbows group. No matter your identity, you are loved and accepted more than you could imagine! It’s okay to question who you are as well! Don’t feel the need to label yourself, or even use multiple labels if you want! I identify as queer and/or bi, as well as demisexual, and it’s alright to play around with labels if you don’t find one that fits! It’s also okay to not have a ‘label’ at all! Know that you are loved as you, and we will always celebrate who you are with you! Gay is okay, bi is okay, anything you identify as is totally okay, and there are so many people standing next to you fighting for your acceptance, equality, and amazingness! You are allowed to be whoever you want, and we will lift you up and encourage you with this because you are so great! You are LOVED! ❤️” - Katie
“You are amazing. That’s all the advice I have for young LGBT+ members of Girlguiding. You are amazing! I’ve been an openly bi leader for over a decade now. I hope you feel like you can come to any of us leaders with any problems you have. But we see your triumphs too. Whether it’s accepting others, being out yourself, wrapping yourself in a Pride flag at Wellies and Wristbands, or the way you’ve kept going this past year. You are amazing.” - Clare
“Be true to yourself. It's so important that it's in our Promise! You might take a bit of time working out who you are, and that's OK. But whether you work it out at 16 or 60, you are not only welcome to be yourself in Guiding, but are actively encouraged. You don't need to put a label on yourself and you shouldn't let anyone else do that for you. You do you.” - Debbie
Thank you to every member who left a comment with advice – you are all amazing, and we are so proud to have you in Girlguiding.
Making Girlguiding inclusive
We know that not every LGBT+ member may always have felt included in Girlguiding, and we want to do better by uplifting your voices and sharing your experiences.
To find out more about how you can help to ensure that Girlguiding is a safe space for every member and girl, visit our website for help and resources.