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Young people urged to reconsider coming out during lockdown

An LGBTIQ charity has suggested vulnerable young people “press pause” on coming out to their families while together in self-isolation or quarantine.

The Albert Kennedy Trust, a UK charity that assists LGBTIQ young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, said that people should “think hard” before coming out to family while they are forced to share a space, Pink News has reported.

“If you’re a young person and you’re thinking of coming out, press pause on that until you get support,” said CEO Tim Sigsworth.

“You can’t predict at these completely unprecedented times how your parents will react.

“They, like you, are under a lot of stress and they may not react in a positive way.”

LGBTIQ helplines have received increased volumes of calls during the COVID-19 pandemic, for issues including being trapped in isolation with hostile or abusive partners or family.

Sigsworth cautioned young people considering coming out at this time to be aware of the potential outcomes if their families reject them.

LGBTIQ people are at higher risk of homeless than the general population.

“We’re all being told to self-isolate, so being on the streets, it has to be the most dangerous place for a vulnerable young person at the moment,” said Sigsworth.

As anti-LGBTIQ sentiment and violence increases in the UK, research just last year found that a quarter of UK adults would be “ashamed” of an LGBTIQ child.

As well as being more likely to feel unsupported by their parents, young gay and bisexual people are at greater risk of homelessness – often due to this rejection.

One in four homeless young people in the UK are LGBTIQ, with recent studies showing similar figures in Australia.

During the pandemic, those who are experiencing homelessness have reportedly been subjected to further difficulties, including being ostracised for showing respiratory symptoms.

As global COVID-19 cases pass one million, lockdown measures are expected to last for at least several more months.

If you or someone you know needs support, please refer to our list of community services and resources.

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