“Pride means being unabashedly who you are,” said Leonor Silver, an ambassador for Just Like Us, the LGBTQ+ young people’s charity.
We couldn’t agree more – but we know it can be far from easy. Even in the UK, in 2021, growing up LGBTQ+ is still unacceptably tough.
According to a 2021 report by Just Like Us, LGBTQ+ school pupils are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ peers to have been bullied; and 91 per cent have heard negative language about being LGBTQ+. They’re also twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ young people to contemplate suicide – or three times more likely if they’re Black and LGBTQ+.
In June 2021 we began our partnership with Just Like Us to support its mission: empowering young LGBTQ+ people in schools through education and representation.
Together with Just Like Us, we want all young people to know that being LGBTQ+ is something to be celebrated.
Against a backdrop of challenges, in which one in four LGBTQ+ young people experience daily tensions in the place they are living and those who are Black, disabled and/or eligible for free school meals facing even more challenges, it’s clear we’re far from a society that accepts everyone.
To help, Just Like Us’ ambassadors share their own experiences. With the aim of inspiring confidence and acceptance among young people in secondary schools, they use training materials that create a positive dialogue about being LGBTQ+.
“I have always tried to be a visible role model for young people who, like me, might have struggled with their identity,” said Ramses, a Just Like Us ambassador. “Just Like Us has helped me carry on what for me is now closer to a life mission than a volunteering opportunity.”
Powerful role models
The charity’s ambassadors, aged 18-25, also support schools in meeting equality requirements set out by the Equality Act and Ofsted and partner with firms like ours, who share their ethos, training people to become role models in schools.
Recognising the powerful examples these role models can offer, Deloitte’s LGBTQ+ network GLOBE is proud to work alongside them.
“As the first LGBTQ+ charity to gain charity partner status with Deloitte we are incredibly proud to be working with their GLOBE Network over the next year to ensure LGBTQ+ young people are accepted and are able to lead awesome lives,” said Just Like Us CEO Dominic Arnall.
“Together with Just Like Us, we want all young people to know that being LGBTQ+ is something to be celebrated,” said Mags Scott, Deloitte GLOBE communities sponsoring partner.
Negative experiences can have a life-long negative impact and, while young people are struggling, their teachers and peers are rarely equipped with the information they need to support them
GLOBE reflects our firm’s inclusive culture, in which everyone is encouraged to be themselves. We know that shaping minds and cultures to be accepting and inclusive starts with education - so where better to start than schools?
“Our role models have their own stories to tell,” explained Sunny Sharma, GLOBE member and tax director at Deloitte. “We hope that hearing directly from our own LGBTQ+ community – about the experiences that have made them who they are - will help LGBTQ+ young people to celebrate their own identities.”
We’re looking forward to continuing GLOBE’s fundraising activities that will help fund training for more Just Like Us ambassadors and create tool kits for teachers. Over the coming months, we’ll deliver Just Like Us’ bespoke training and mentoring programmes in schools and explore bringing it to our 29 existing 5 Million Futures partner schools across the UK.
5 Million Futures
Deloitte is currently working with over 70 partner organisations across the UK, helping the communities they serve to access education and employment as part of our 5 Million Futures social impact goal.
Our LGBTQ+ networks
With an established network of members and allies totalling over 1,300 Deloitte GLOBE makes an ongoing contribution to our firm, alongside Wave, which is an LGBTQ+ network for more junior staff, established with some of our biggest clients.
GLOBE is focused on creating a sense of community and belonging. It’s work also focuses on intersectionality (understanding how different aspects of a person's identity can combine to create discrimination or privilege).
Working with the firm’s Gender Balance Network, Multicultural Network and Working Families Network ensures a greater awareness of differences and helps in creating a truly inclusive culture, increasing our impact in communities, among our people and with our clients.