story 25 June 2024

Jay’s Journey to finding where he belongs and empowering LGBTQ+ young people

For Jay, The Studio in Widnes has been an important part of his life. Not only is Jay involved in the DofE group at The Studio, he also joined GLOW, an LGBTQ+ group where he feels “welcome and included” and Amplify, an initiative that allows him to practice music with his band for free.

Jay wants to encourage more young people from LGBTQ+ backgrounds to do their DofE, he describes it as a welcoming place where “you can be who you want to be”. The LGBTQ+ community are an important part of his life, and he’s keen to ensure the rights of the trans community are recognised in the future. His message to other young people from the community is “don’t be scared to be queer and proud!” because for him, going out of his comfort zone has led to finding somewhere he belongs.

Read his story.

“I signed up to do my DofE because my siblings were doing their Bronze Award and just seeing how much they got up to looked really fun. I also knew that being outdoors would be great for my mental health and personal struggles. During the expedition I didn’t take my phone, so there were no distractions, it was just me in nature – I was able to connect and really enjoy myself.

“The Studio is important to me because it’s close to home, easy to get to and there’s lots of things that young people can get involved in, like DofE. I also attend GLOW at The Studio, which is an LGBTQ+ youth group, and Amplify, which lets you do band practice for free. Without Amplify, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to practice as much and without GLOW, I wouldn’t be as sociable as I am now, GLOW has helped me to step out of my comfort zone.

“The GLOW group is important to me because it made me feel more welcome and included because I found people who are like me. I was going through counselling and they recommended GLOW, so I decided to give it a shot and I fell in love with the people there. They are all really smiley, outgoing and awesome people.

“I would encourage people from the LGBTQ+ community to get involved with DofE because it’s not judgmental. It’s very welcoming and somewhere you can express yourself – you can be who you want to be.

“Pride month is important to me because it’s symbolic. It symbolises the queer community gaining rights. I feel like it’s both a protest and a party because it’s celebrating the rights that people have fought for, but also protesting the rights we still need to fight for, especially within the trans community.

“My message this Pride month is don’t be scared to be queer and proud!”

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