Where are the LGBT role models?

How do you come out in East London? You don’t. Earlier this week I was asked this very question and I believe this was the true answer. In a school of 1200 there is not one openly gay person. It is impossible that there is not one gay person in my school, as the statistics of 1 in 9 people are gay. But say there was one openly gay person in the school, their lives would be unbearable. Homophobia is rife through the school, although efforts are beginning to be made to stop this, acceptance from the rest of the community would be difficult to get and there are few out meaningful LGBT role models.

There are few LBGT role models that have any meaning to 15 year olds. Of course Alan Turing and Billie Jean King are extraordinary roles models, but they are not relevant to most of today’s teenagers. Our role models tend to include sports people, musicians and other celebrities. It’s rare for any high profile sports person to be openly gay and most rappers or singers they may listen to are openly homophobic. With the exception of a small few, there are no openly LGBT role models within the celebrity world. Presumably this makes it all the more difficult to be LGBT as there is no one who you can look up to. It also shows how unforgiving these aspects of society are if people only come out after they have left their particular industry.

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