LGBTQ youngsters amongst hardest hit by lockdown

Credit: ITV News

The coronavirus lockdown has left many people feeling isolated and caused their mental health to suffer, but for LGBTQ people it brings extra pressures.

The charity Just Like Us says that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people have faced added fears and anxiety because they've been separated from the people who they rely on for support.

In a survey four fifths of openly LGBTQ adults said they thought lockdown would be especially difficult for LGBTQ youngsters and almost three quarters of them said they'd struggle in the same situation.

A Just Like Us survey asked openly LGBTQ adults about lockdown. Credit: ITV News

35% of those asked said the biggest challenge would be living without those who normally support them, such as school friends, and around two thirds said young people would feel more pressure to come out.

The Lowdown is a charity in Northampton that offers counselling to young people.

Will Beckett, an LGBTQ youth worker, told us that the loss of support from friends, school, youth groups and the wider LGBTQ+ community that youngsters normally have has "amplified the stress that they normally go through".

Those from the LGBTQ community also say they've seen a rise in trolling and bullying online.

16-year-old Dany has been performing online during lockdown and says he's seen an increase in the number of abusive comments he's received.

He said he feels like it's been an opportunity for people to "sit behind their keyboards and quietly creep up and attack you".

He added that he can handle the negative comments and brushes them off, but is aware of a lot of LGBTQ youngsters are really struggling, especially if their families aren't fully accepting.

Star of Rupauls Drag Race UK, Divina De Campo, told us that it's not always easy to speak to people at home when dealing with LGBTQ+ issues.

The lockdown means that support networks youngsters would normally take for granted are suddenly taken away from them.

This week (22-26 June) is School Diversity Week which aims to educate children about LGBTQ+ issues.

Normally hundreds of school pupils would have been learning and raising awareness about the pressures on LGBTQ+ students in school, but because of the pandemic the event has moved online.

The schools diversity week is being held online. Credit: ITV News

It's hoped that through educating youngsters about the isolation that LGBTQ+ people feel, and the bullying that they experience, steps can be made in the right direction.

If you're LGBTQ+ and you're struggling during lockdown and would like to speak to someone you can contact Just Like Us or The Lowdown via their websites or social media pages.

The Lowdown also continue to host a remote "crisis cafe" to give support and advice to anyone who is struggling.