“It’s nice being in a space where everything feels easier.”
I first heard about The Proud Trust from another young person in my area who was already going to the youth groups, and I’ve now been going for about four years. It’s a place where everything feels easy, and people are really nice; things don’t have to be explained. Recently at home my mum has started trying with my pronouns, but until then my family hadn’t been using the right ones. It’s nice being in a space where it feels easier.
I feel like The Proud Trust is the one place where I know everyone will act in good faith, which is what I need when my only interactions with the world are with horrible people on Twitter or people not calling me the right name. I’ve also learned the skill of group video calls in lockdown! Before I started coming to the group I’d have my microphone and video off in group calls, having a panic attack at the thought of having to say or do anything. But now I’m more confident talking to people.
Before I started coming to the group I didn’t feel very confident or supported. Secondary school was especially difficult as I developed depression and anxiety and found it difficult to go outside. I had low self-esteem and worried about using public transport, and I struggled to make friends at school and at other extra-curricular activities. I was wary in general of support groups, as I’d previously been to one that wasn’t the right fit for me; it knocked my confidence. That’s why I’m so glad I found The Proud Trust: it’s a very different environment!
When I arrived at Proud Futures I realised I had a really negative opinion of work, as my past experiences of it weren’t great. At Proud Futures I found out that people can have four day weeks! I realised I could be happy in a job.
My communication has really improved, and it’s enabled me to reach out to people and talk to them in a more professional manner, such as messaging the youth workers at The Proud Trust. In college and at university I felt as though I couldn’t message tutors for help, but now I know I can. I’ve learned about myself that I need a bit more time to process things, and if someone had asked me before I came to the group, I wouldn’t have known what kind of help I could request. I have a much better idea of what helps me now, and feel as though I can ask to have time to process things and to plan and prepare.
The Proud Trust gave me a space where people were more accepting of me: no one questioned my name or made fun of it. It’s so nice to be in an environment where I know people aren’t going to be weird about anything. I’ve never been in a place where I could be certain that every staff member would be nice and not judgmental. Seeing people at The Proud Trust groups act nicely and positively restores my faith in humanity.
I’d really recommend that other young LGBT people attend the groups: it’s a wholly accepting place that you don’t see very often. It’s good and positive, and I wish I’d found it sooner as I know my self-esteem would have been better. Coming to The Proud Trust and hearing people use my name and pronouns made me realise I couldn’t keep being trans to myself, and I wish I’d been introduced earlier to the LGBT+ community earlier to see how people live.
It’s so important to have LGBT specific groups so that it becomes normalised. It’s great for me to know that I’m not alone in the world.