Q42 is a community group by and for LGBTQ+ young people, to grow online and offline friendships, explore and develop creative ideas and to challenge any isolation and loneliness felt within their community.
In this week's Community Conversations, the fourth in this series, we’re speaking to LGBTQ+ Coordinator Christopher Owen to learn more about the current challenges Q42 is facing, and learn about how they are still reaching the community.
"The UK lockdown has had a variety of effects on our young people. Everyone is having different experiences, with some doing great and enjoying more free time to be creative. Some of our young people don’t have the same level of support or acceptance at home though, and are now stuck in that circumstance. We are trying to help those young people who are now isolated from not only friends and groups but also experiencing incorrect pronouns or being deadnamed. Young people are also bored, they want to be engaged and want to be involved in things. For Young People who can’t afford technology, we are looking into funding: for sim cards, webcams, microphones, bare minimum things to keep people involved.
Usually we’d start groups by asking names and pronouns, but we're now looking to make this optional for young people who aren’t comfortable doing this at home. We’re running sessions at the specified time, but are also looking for things for young people to do in the week, for example creating blog content, and things you can do to still feel visible and connected during isolation.
We're also phoning young people to stay in touch and chat to them, and offer opportunities to write content for social media, review websites, and keep engaged with the organisations.
The LGBTQ+ community have been good at supporting and sharing information and coming together to help each other reach the right people. Everyone is in the same boat, and is really trying to work together and remain kind and patient to accommodate everyone. The staff team have been great at supporting each other with tips and tech support, and ways to cope at home.
Manchester Pride is the highlight of the year for the young people. Unequivocally.
For young people it’s a huge moment, the whole city is there to cheer for them and celebrate them. They didn’t know that people would celebrate them like this, and you can visibly see what liberation looks like on their faces.
It’s so deeply beneficial for a young person to be shown that they are valued and accepted and celebrated. That’s what Manchester Pride does for them.
At this time, continue to be intersectional and be aware of class divisions, and be aware of the way different minority groups are going to be at different risks. For example, are people taking on extra support needs at home by caring for friends or relatives? Are people stuck in uncomfortable situations or unable to concentrate in the same way? Online classes deepen the class divide because not everyone has access to the technology needed, so don’t assume all young people have the same access to everything.
Horsfall at 42nd Street has created physical creativity packs full of activities and supplies and is sending them out to young people who aren’t able to get online. Horsfall are also doing daily activities, usually creative and often mental health focused. Check out Horsfall Create and Connect to get involved.
Our community is responding positively to creative opportunities. It’s a chance for them to use their time to say what they want to say and express themselves creatively. We have also relaunched our Producers programme! This is an exciting opportunity for any LGBTQ+ people aged 13-25 in Greater Manchester to create content for the Q42 website, blog and social media! It is our aim to empower the voices of local young LGBTQ+ people, and give them a platform to be heard! To learn more about this exciting initiative, please find our poster below, and read more at: https://q42.org.uk/q42-producers-your-voice-matters
As the situation continues and when something happens, we’ll react accordingly. We will remain flexible to support young people and continue to embolden their voices, and will remain youth-led, asking them what they want and what they need. If a problem occurs, we’ll assess creative solutions for those issues."Find Q42 on Social Media: Instagram