Major New Web Resource for Gay Young People, Their Parents and Teachers
Monday, 15 March 2010
A major new information and support website for gay young people, their parents and their teachers was launched today.
www.belongto.org comes from BeLonG To Youth Services, Ireland’s national youth service for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people, and is the result of two years consultation with young people and adults.
The website has four main areas: information for young people; information for parents; a forum where young people can share experiences and support each other; and a professionals’ sub-site with a wealth of information and downloadable resources for teachers, youth workers and other professionals who work with young people.
It is designed as a safe online space for LGBT young people, allowing them talk to each other safely and so help to end the isolation which they can often experience.
“This is a huge source of information for young people, parents and teachers. I think it is particularly important for the isolated gay young person who needs to know that they are not alone and needs access to safe and appropriate information,” said Carol-Anne O’Brien, Advocacy Coordinator at BeLonG To.
“At BeLonG To we work to create a society where all young people grow up knowing that being gay is ok. All young people deserve to be respected and valued equally and no young person is ever told that they have to change who they are,” said Michael Barron, Director of BeLonG To.
“This site has been created to provide clear and accurate information to young people, parents and teachers so that LGBT young people know that they are ok and so that adults have the tools they need to support them.”
“Every day, we receive phone calls from isolated young people, from worried parents looking for information, and from professionals searching for the best ways to meet the needs of young people.”
www.belongto.org is designed to be a ‘one stop shop’ for LGBT young people. It serves as a portal with access to all the information a young LGBT person could need, with sections dedicated to youth groups around the country, coming out, and mental emotional and physical health.
The professional sub-site – www.belongto.org/pro/ contains extensive information on training services, awareness campaigns, and copies of important Irish research on lesbian gay bisexual and transgender young people. It also contains a number of toolkits for professionals to use when talking about LGBT issues with young people and advice and support on what methodologies work best.
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