Bucks Youth Summit 2023 – The Queer Space
The Queer Space at the Bucks Youth Summit 2023 was one of the most eye-catching spaces of the day. It was in a bright area with lots of windows and decorated with flags and confetti! This conversation space was facilitated by a member of the Youth Voice Executive Committee.
It had lots of different elements:
Young attendees could add comments to two huge mind maps on round tables.
- The theme of one mind map was school policy surrounding LGBTQIA2S+ inclusivity.
- The other was themed on current pride provisions within Buckinghamshire.
Two silent debate walls were set up on large pin boards. They asked…
- if conversion therapy should be banned, and
- if the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill should be passed by the government.
There were two sharing walls for young attendees to contribute to:
- The wall of positivity collected accounts of being positively accepting by loved ones.
- The wall of hope asked what young people want to change to make queer lives easier.
An array of flags showcased a variety of queer identities. Each flag had an accompanying info sheet, explaining what each of the identities mean and what the colours of the flag represent.
At the Pride Voting Station, young people could vote on their preferred style for a Pride celebration. Young people voted by throwing plastic balls into baskets labelled with options.
What did young people say?
The key messages raised by young people were:
Teachers too often do not respect young people’s pronouns and names
“…teachers refuse to use my preferred name and pronouns”
“Some teachers at the school do not respect the preferred pronouns or gender identity of the people they are teaching”
“Teachers do not/refuse to use they/them pronouns”
Young people feel that homophobia in schools is not adequately addressed
“Homophobia is not treated as severely as racism”
“People very often throw around the f-slur that goes unnoticed majority of the time which isn’t really okay.”
“They don’t punish people for being homophobic”
Young people want more education and conversation around LGBTQ+ identities and issues
“Change PSHE to have more information on LGBTQIA relationships”
“…we could have assemblies about race and colour but we don’t have assemblies about LGBT”
“Our school doesn’t teach about gender dysphoria”
Young people want to see and access Pride events in school and across the County
“I wish for our school to have more events for pride”
“Have a day/parade/stools all pride related held by council so everyone can access”
“Parade through Buckinghamshire to give people at least one day to feel accepted and safe”
Young people have constructive ideas about improvements schools could make to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity
“There should be someone you can talk to you in your school to seek support for any bullying situations”
“Schools needs to be more constructive with changing rooms & toilets with gender and student comfort with it”
“Options for PE lessons to be mixed – have a range of sports e.g don’t have just boys doing football”
You can read all of the comments given in the mindmap exercise by clicking the link below.
Since the Bucks Youth Summit 2023, the lead facilitator for The Queer Space and outgoing Vice-Chair of the Youth Voice Executive Committee, Ry Hobbs, has set up a brand new organisation to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity for young people in Buckinghamshire.
The organisation is called Prisma Group CIC.
Prisma will consult with young people and design projects to address the needs highlighted by them, using money raised by selling merchandise and income from delivering training to schools.
The messages received from young people at the Bucks Youth Summit are steering Prisma’s work for the first year.
You can read Ry’s report from the Bucks Youth Summit 2023 by clicking the link below.
Statement from Ry, the lead facilitator of The Queer Space 2023 and Chair of Directors of Prisma Group CIC:
In the vast majority of our responses, it is a common theme that both teachers and students alike do not have a comprehensive understanding of life as a young member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. To address the needs highlighted, Prisma is in the process of developing our Queer Correctness training scheme to fill the knowledge gaps with teachers and youth workers and is now exploring the possibilities of school workshops.