A young people’s manifesto for tackling LGBTQIA+ loneliness in the South West

It might not immediately be apparent how loneliness can be a political experience, but for the young people who participated in our workshops in July, LGBTQIA+ loneliness was thoroughly political. Experiences of marginalization, isolation, and stigma which contributed to loneliness among our young people were often derived from factors relating to policy.

So in our final workshop, we asked our young people to put on their political hats and co-create a manifesto for tackling loneliness among LGBTQIA+ young people in the South West. What would they ask for? What would they change?

The manifesto that follows is a work in progress as much as we hope to synthesise and build on our young people’s work with thoughts from our 26+ participants in October. But for now, this offers a special window onto young people’s thinking about LGBTQIA+ loneliness and belonging.

Picture of the manifesto, with a peach background and block colour flowers down the left-hand side. The Beat of Our Hearts logo is in the top left-hand corner. The manifesto is in two pages. The first page deals with healthcare and education.


Picture of the manifesto, with a peach background and block colour flowers down the left-hand side. The Beat of Our Hearts logo is in the top left-hand corner. The manifesto is in two pages. The second page continues education but also has a theme of community. Information about the authors of the manifesto is also on this page.For screen readers, please see the PDF version here of our 16-25 LGBTQIA+ Loneliness Manifesto.

 

I come from

I come from: Young people’s poetry of LGBTQIA+ belonging

As an experience, loneliness can be frightening to think about. For LGBTQIA+ people especially, speaking about loneliness has the potential to trigger unhappy memories and emotions that strike deep chords within.

Which is why for our first workshop with young LGBTQIA+ people (16-25), based in Cornwall, we began by thinking about the experience of belonging.

Where do I feel like I belong?

Where do I come from?

To whom do I belong?

So together we watched Dean Atta’s performance of the poem ‘I Come From’. This is a remarkably simple yet complex poem. Essentially you write it yourself, using only ‘I come from’ as the start of a line. Usually you’d join together two quite unlikely sources of belonging, such as

I come from fish and chips and Chemistry homework.

But over time, you end up with a really intimate and personal glimpse into what makes you you.

The young people in our workshops each provided a line or so using the ‘I come from’ format. And the results were deeply moving. We’ll leave them to speak for themselves.

I come from punk and the heart of the forest 

I come from a feral family and well spoken words

I come from rainbow and black and white 

I come from total freedom and a medically controlled mind 

I come from soft piano compositions and loud guitar screeches 

I come from boy’s shirts and pretty skirts

I come from neglect and care 

I come from Instagram captions and polaroids being fashionable

I come from boredom and an anxiously racing mind 

I come from an empty bedroom and big crowds. 

 

— Richard Vytniorgu