Young gay Londoners have their say

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Lesbian and gay Londoners are set to have a say on their city with the launch of a new LGBT Youth Council tonight.

A conference, supported by the Metropolitan Police Service sees young LGBT people come together with service providers, funders and local decision makes to really have their say on matters important to them.

Following cram-packed interactive workshops, participants will hear three key note speeches from the Chair of the UK Youth Parliament, a representative of the Greater London Authority and a member of the newly formed London LGBT Youth Council on why the establishment of the Youth Council is a positive step forward for young LGBT Londoners.

The event will kick start this relationship with a series of talks and workshops that will identify issues for leaders of major service delivery orgs. There will be challenging questions on homophobic bullying, lack of sex and relationship education and the lack of social and support networks available for young people in London.

The role of council will be to work strategically with service deliverers to inform them about the needs of LGBT young people and share their ideas and advice. This will help them to better tailor their services. The council will work across London – from frontline service providers like the NHS, Met police and local councils to the heart of London government in the Mayor’s Office and on national issues with the Children’s Commissioner.

Gary Rowland, LGBT Youth Council Co-ordinator, said: “The London LGBT Youth Council offers a great opportunity for young LGBT people to have their say on issues across the capital. It’s a safe space for young people to come and air their views without feeling that they’re not being taken seriously. We have already received a lot of support for the Youth Council which shows how seriously it will be taken by decision makers in London.”

Dee Caryl, LGBT Strand Lead, Met Police, said: “The Metropolitan Police Service has long recognised that LGBT people sometimes find it difficult to engage with the police. Whilst we have had some success in reaching LGBT adults the same cannot be said for young LGBT people. We know homophobic bullying in schools is all too common for these young LGBT people and that isolation is a big factor.

“We are therefore very pleased to be working with Gary and the LGBT Consortium to host the launch of the London LGBT Youth Council and to give these young people a voice and the ability to make a real difference.”