Young gay man shares how important having a support unit is for LGBTQ+ youth

As part of the GCNnewvoices series, we platform the opinions and thoughts of LGBTQ+ young writers from across the country.

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Image Source: Illustration by Neave Alouf

GCNnewvoices in partnership with BeLonG To will platform the opinions and thoughts of LGBTQ+ young writers from across the country, speaking about issues that matter to them. Edward Redmond talks about how important it is for LGBTQ+ people to have a support unit.

As a human I know all too well that you don’t necessarily get to choose your family. Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to have a great support unit. I know that not everyone has the most accepting family, however, I believe that family is not the only support unit you need. While my own family have been incredibly supportive, and I am thankful for this, I’ve been lucky enough to have an amazing support unit in other areas of my life.

Firstly, I am thankful for the teachers I’ve had throughout my life. Those teachers who helped me to understand and shape the person I’ve become today. Education plays an important factor in life, helping you to understand why you have the feelings that you do, but it also helps you to empathise with other people’s feelings. My English teacher in particular helped me to love what I do, and now in my twenties and studying English, my lecturers give me that same support and passion, for which I am grateful.

Youth work has played a huge role in my life from about the age of seven. My youth club helped me to enjoy being a young person and to not stress so much! The support they provided me throughout my teenage years ultimately helped me to come out. My youth worker at the time helped me to understand and better be who I was ultimately hiding.

The support unit I have in my friends is something that I am incredibly thankful for. While thankful for current friends, I am also thankful for the ones that I may not see much of anymore – the ones who you fall out with or just disconnect with – because while we may not be close now, we were at one point and they were there for me at times that mattered. And that is important.

As a gay man and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I think it is important to find a support unit wherever or in whatever makes you feel safe and accepted. I have found that in teachers, through education, through youth workers, my amazing friends and most importantly my family and the acceptance and love that they have given me throughout my years.

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