Megan attends Young Change Maker Event


Megan McIntyre, Falkirk Member of LGBT Youth Scotland's National Youth Council, was invited to be a panelist at the Young Change Makers event at MacRobert Art Centre on 15th September. 

The event focused specifically on Article 21 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights - ‘Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives’. Five young people from different groups and organisations took part in the panel discussion following a performance of The Glasgow Girls; A musical play that tells the story of seven teenage girls whos lives are changed forever when they choose to fight for the life of their friend, her family, and, ultimately for the rights of all children of asylum-seekers in Scotland.

Megan has been actively involved with the NYC and Voices Unheard projects as well as working with the Children’s Commissioner on the national anti-bullying policy and guidance, and was able to share their experience of social action and views on a range of issues with an audience of young people.

Megan shares their experience with us: 

I was invited to the McRobert Centre in Stirling on the 15th of September 2016 to be a part of the Glasgow Girls Youth activism Panel. On the day I got to watch the stage version of Glasgow Girls, a story about six school age girls and their teacher who campaigned to stop dawn raids and imprisonment of children who are being deported to sometimes unsafe countries after their refugee status was taken away. After the production we were given a short break before the Young Change Makers took to the stage. The panel was hosted by Daniel McCormick from Y Sortit and we were also joined by David Stewart from Youth Scotland and David Kirk from the Boys Bridage.

As the youngest panel member I was extremely nervous. The audience was predominantly made up of 15-16 year old school pupils; I was less than a year older than some of them. For this reason I was scared that they wouldn’t take me seriously, however, I was delighted to see that there was a female included on the panel. I felt extremely honoured to be that chosen female; I was happy to see that the organisers hadn’t forgotten about the fact that it’s important for young women to be able to look up to others as role models. It was good to see that there wasn’t really a gap in the panel and that most audience members could identify with one of the panellists.

"The Glasgow Girls story is so inspirational and I enjoyed getting to talk about all the different things that I get to do as part of the NYC and hopefully inspired other young people to join in with youth activism where they can."

As Daniel began to ask questions, I provided answers which I thought covered some of the youth activism I do briefly as we didn’t have a lot of time. I was conscious of our time restraints and was keeping my answers short and to the point; I began to doubt if I was saying enough about what I have been able to do because of my involvement with the LGBT National Youth Council (NYC). I have been working with NYC for almost 3 years now and I felt like I wasn’t doing it justice in my 2 minute run down of some of the highlights. It’s difficult in these situations to know if you are saying enough without saying too much, this was something I was very conscious of before the event started and I feel like I might have worked myself up a bit because I was thinking too far into it.

After the third question for the panel, Daniel opened it up for audience questions and there was only one statement that was made. A young man from the audience suggested that the best way to stop bullying is to keep people with groups that they identify with; all the LGBT people in a safe space, all the disabled people in one place, all the refugees in one place, to eradicate bullying at the source. Once the young man got into his statement I told Daniel and the other panellists that I would take this question. I mentioned the work I had done with Youth Link and the Scottish Government on their Anti-bullying policy and argued that integration and education are the best tactics for combatting bullying, as bullying is primarily caused by a lack of knowledge. After the panel ended, young people in the audience said they loved my response. I really enjoyed answering this statement; I got to think on my feet instead of over analysing and I got to use all of the skills and expertise I have gained from working on lots of different campaigns to get my point across in a calm, collected manner.

Overall I loved doing the event. The production was great; the Glasgow Girls story is so inspirational and I enjoyed getting to talk about all the different things that I get to do as part of the NYC and hopefully inspired other young people to join in with youth activism where they can. It was good to be pushed into working on my public speaking skills, and also my ability to take the information I have and be able to call it to mind at the drop of a hat to answer particularly difficult questions.