Our youth groups are there to connect you to other young people, provide opportunities for you to make friends and have fun with other people your own age. They are also there to make sure that there is somewhere you can go for support and advice from trained youth work staff. We all need to talk things through sometimes, and at our groups you will have the opportunity to chat to youth workers informally as well as make an appointment to have a longer chat if you would like.
Although our groups are for LGBT young people, many people come along with their friends who may identify as straight. We welcome straight young people into our groups who come along to support their friends.
If you want to come along to a group, the first thing to do is check out the info on their page, which will tell you if the group is a drop in (that means you can just turn up on the night) or if you need to make an informal appointment with a youth worker just before the group.
The groups are all different but one thing stays the same – the young people decide what happens at the groups! Youth workers will work with the young people to help plan a programme, this is usually done every 3-4 months for groups meeting weekly and every 6 months for groups meeting less often. At the groups the activities cover loads of things, but to give you an idea here are some general topics:
In fun and games you will have the chance to take part in silly games, treasure hunts, ice breakers, energising games and problem solving games. Most of these games are delivered to small groups so you will get to work with friends and just have a good time.
Issues based workshops can be about anything and everything. Usually it is something that young people have said they want to know more about. You can expect subjects like sexual health, alcohol awareness, relationships and school and bullying.
LGBT history and celebration focuses on key dates in the pink calendar (dates that are really important to the LGBT community!), including International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), Pride, World Aids Day (WAD) and National Coming Out Day.
But, it’s not all workshops and games, the groups also give you the chance to take part in creative projects like film making, arts and crafts, song writing and drag shows to name a few!
Scotland may feel really small but in fact it’s a big place with lots of diverse areas and regions. We work in as many areas as possible, however we haven’t managed to get groups going in every area just yet (we’re working on it!). At the moment, we have groups in these areas listed below. In the bigger cities our groups may be divided into different age groups or genders.
Here is a list of some of our groups and other youth groups available across Scotland. Click on the group for more detailed info about times, days and venue.
Because we know that young people like to meet other folk from their area and beyond, we have an exciting programme of national events for you to take part in. These events take place all over Scotland, some happen every year and others are just one offs. We thought we would give you an idea of some of our past events, and tell you where to look out for our upcoming events, to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun!
Most of our national events are free to come along to, or have a really small charge like £5 - £10 but this might be negotiable with a youth worker and if you are worried you can’t afford an event, please get in touch to see if there are ways we can help. Almost all of the events will require you to sign up online, so it’s important that you keep an eye on the website to make sure you grab a space before they run out!
Pride (Edinburgh/Glasgow): Each summer, Edinburgh or Glasgow will host a big festival to celebrate LGBT identities and raise awareness about equality and diversity in Scotland. These festivals are usually one day long events with lots of…. RAIN (this is Scotland after all!). Pride always kicks off with a march through the streets of the city centre, there are colourful banners (if you attend our groups, you will have the chance to make one for your group), drums, whistles and lots of LGBT people and their friends/family. Once the march is over, LGBT Youth Scotland will always have a cool designated area called the ‘youth space’ for anyone aged between 13 – 26. The youth space will always look different each year - it might be a city centre park, a big pink tent, a rainbow-tastic room in a nearby venue… you just never know!
In 2009, the youth space in Edinburgh had loads going on in it, including:
Sumo Suit Wrestling!
Live Music from cool bands
Free cocktail (non alcoholic!) bar
Pride has talent competition
Free haircuts and make over
Make sure you make Summer 2010 the year to show your PRIDE!
At the end of each summer, LGBT Youth Scotland hosts the National Gathering – a weekend residential for 100 young people!
If you are you fed up doing the same old things every weekend, or maybe you feel like there’s nothing exciting to do, then we would recommend booking your space at the National Gathering! Each year the event is held in a different Scottish city, in 2008 it was Dundee, in 2009 it will be Glasgow.
Each year we have a different theme, these can be based around relationships, making choices, having fun, or doing something different. In 2009, the event is about alternatives. Over the weekend, young people will get the chance to try out a whole range of different alternative activities and learn new skills. For example, you can try an alternative sports like zumba and cheerleading, how about getting involved in clothes customisation and dj-ing workshops or trying a new alternative and stylish haircut and make-over?
The National Gathering is also a chance for you to find out about the National Youth Council and stand for elections so you can make a difference to LGBT young people in your area and all over Scotland.
We provide accommodation (single rooms so you don’t have to share), food (we try to cater to everyone’s tastes), venue, transport (you can either come along with one of our youth groups, or we can arrange for a member of staff to meet you at the bus/train station to make sure you find us ok) and staff! This event is one of those which will cost a small amount of money, but check out our EVENTS section for more details nearer the time!
One Off Events
Below is an example of some of the one off events we have hosted in the past. Each year these events will be different, so stay in touch through our website and forums, or sign up to our e-bulletin to make sure you are the first to find out what’s happening.
In 2008 LGBT Youth Scotland held a 1 day youth conference in Edinburgh where 80 young people came together to find out about how they could get involved in campaigning for equality for the hundreds of thousands LGBT people who live in countries where they are still in danger of harm because of their identity.
IDAHO (17th May) is the International Day Against Homophobia, and it is a day to remember how far Scotland has come towards equality, time to acknowledge the challenges that still exist and a chance to learn about and remember that there are people who live without equality and in fear of persecution every day.
At the youth conference we had guest like Amnesty International, LLH (the national charity for LGBT people in Norway) and asylum seekers who had left their country because it wasn’t safe for them to be an out person.
Each February in Scotland sees the LGBT community celebrating the histories of LGBT people in the life of Scotland. LGBT Youth Scotland always get involved and hold lots of events from arts exhibitions to debates and film nights. Two years ago, we held an intergenerational gathering where young people were invited to come and spend an evening with members of an over 50’s LGBT group.
The group shared stories about growing up as LGBT in Scotland and reflected on how this has changed over the past 30 years. The young people had the chance to interview the adults and write an article for the newsletter and website.