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Social Work student on a quest to raise awareness

Published: Tue 26 Mar 2013

One of our students, Rosemary Ellingham as a volunteer for Stonewall, a lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) charity, was given the opportunity to deliver a seminar to the Social Work and Social Care division in order to raise awareness of the effects of homophobic bullying. The aim of this seminar was to equip practitioners with knowledge of how to support young LGB people questioning their sexuality.

‘Bullying in schools in general is rife. However, homophobic bullying, which can have extremely negative effects on young people identifying as LGB or questioning their sexuality is extremely prevalent.  As part of the youth volunteer programme with Stonewall Rose I was given the opportunity to deliver workshops in secondary schools in order to raise awareness of the effects that homophobia can have on young people. As a young person who struggled coming to terms with my sexuality and who has experienced homophobic bullying in schools, this gave me a great opportunity to tackle something very close to my heart.

I aimed my workshops at 12/13 year olds, with my main focus being to challenge any negative stereotypes young people may hold of LGB people. When delivering these workshops I was shocked to realise that many professionals are not aware of the support which is available for young people who are questioning their sexuality. This led to me delivering a seminar at University to academics and students working/studying in the area of social care, focusing not only on awareness raising of the effects of homophobia, but also to raise a basic awareness of Stonewall, and the support they can offer for anyone who may be questioning their sexuality. The seminar raised issues several issues among some students and I was able to challenge some stereotypes as well as inform people about certain government legislations surrounding LGBT people.  Tackling homophobia is something I am extremely passionate about. I hope that through the work I have done with Stonewall and the seminar I delivered, I have been able to raise t awareness of LGB issues, with regard both to the effects of homophobia and the support that is available’.