University of Nottingham: LGBT+ Youth Manifesto launched for a more inclusive society

A new manifesto created by LGBT+ youth groups and sociolinguistics experts at the University of Nottingham has been launched to call for a more inclusive society in the UK.

The manifesto presents a 12-point plan to address the many situations and problems young LGBT+ people face every day of their lives. The project is showcased on a new website and in a social media campaign arguing for changes to better support LGBT+ youth.

The LGBT+ Youth Manifesto has been developed as part of language research which examines gender and sexual identity and has been funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.

Dr Lucy Jones from the School of English has worked closely with groups of young people aged 12 to 20 in four socioeconomically and culturally distinct regions of the North and Midlands of England. The research has explored how young people navigate the norms and ideologies of gender and sexuality in their everyday lives.

Lucy carried out interviews and focus groups with four LGBT+ youth organisations in 2018-19 and during lockdown last year further online workshops with more than 40 additional young people from these groups. The resulting awareness campaign combines important points made by the participants, who helped to write and design the final manifesto and its website.

The 12 steps being promoted by the manifesto include:

Regular open talks about LGBT+ identities in school
Better provision of and access to LGBT+ youth groups
More inclusive changing rooms and toilet facilities
Schools to take LGBT+ hate crime more seriously
A government ban on ‘conversion therapy’
Many of the participants gave comments for use in the manifesto:

“LGBT+ people shouldn’t be treated like mythical creatures. They should be valued, recognised and respected for who they are, and included.”

“The youth group is a place where I can be myself and not be judged.”

“Most of us have feelings of depression and sadness, but the group is a small bit of happiness in the week.”

“My teachers have asked me to talk to younger kids about being LGBT because they weren’t comfortable doing it themselves.”

“If there’s no LGBT sex education then kids will think it’s not normal to be gay.”

Anna, a volunteer youth worker from Nottingham, said: “Young LGBT+ people today are growing up with a huge burden, so it’s more important than ever that their voices are not just heard, but actually listened to.”

Dr Lucy Jones, School of English
Leading the project, Dr Lucy Jones said: “This manifesto represents the views of a range of young people who, because of their gender and/or sexual identities, are often marginalised in our society. We know that young LGBT+ people are potentially very vulnerable, but there’s still a huge lack of knowledge around how best to support them. We all need to be better educated about the barriers they face to being happy, healthy young people – and we can start by asking them what they need. That’s what the LGBT+ Youth Manifesto is all about.”

Professor Sarah Sharples
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and People, Professor Sarah Sharples, said: “The LGBT+ Youth Manifesto is a prime example of how academic research can give real power to younger generations, giving them a voice in important issues affecting their daily lives. As Lucy notes, we know that LGBTQ+ students are more likely to experience depression or anxiety than non-LGBTQ+ students; the Youth Manifesto is a very valuable tool to help all those who work with and support LGBTQ+ young people to do their best”.

The manifesto website ( is launched today and will be shared in a social media campaign on Twitter and Instagram (@lgbtmanifesto) and throughout Pride month in June.

The manifesto is the first stage in this evidence-based, university-led lobbying campaign to inform government policy and practice in the future. Further analysis of the focus groups and interviews with LGBT+ young people will inform a policy briefing document in the near future.