18-year-old trans man Jay Anderson is the newest member of Newcastle Pride’s committee, joining the organisation in a new trans youth engagement role.
His role involves attending Newcastle Pride committee meetings, helping to organise events and contacting relevant organisations for resources, including MindLine Trans+ – a subset of mental health charity Mind – which offers a confidential helpline for trans people two evenings a week.
“I wanted to get involved with Newcastle Pride to give more of a voice to trans youth because it is a group that is often underrepresented in Pride parades,” said Jay.
“I think it’s really important for people to share their stories if they can because everyone has different experiences and there is no right or wrong way to be in the LGBTQ community.”
Since coming out as trans when he was 16, Jay feels lucky to have friends and family that provide a strong support system for his transition.
“Coming out wasn’t easy – even knowing I would be supported – but I never had the fear that I would be disowned or left without a home which is a real worry for many young trans people,” said Jay.
“LGBTQ youth homelessness is disproportionately high and so are suicide rates, especially among trans youth so it’s more important than ever that we stay tight as a community.”
Jay has been involved with campaigning for various mental health causes in the past and would like to incorporate this with his new role in Newcastle Pride.
“I want to help to show people that they are not alone and that there are resources out there if people know where to look.”
Stephen Willis, festival director of Newcastle Pride is delighted to welcome Jay to the committee.
“We never turn away people who want to help out and it’s always good to get a fresh outlook,” said Stephen.
“We want Newcastle Pride to be as inclusive as possible because it is a space for everyone in the LGBTQ community and we are looking forward to working with Jay for input on the best ways to make young trans people feel included and welcome.”
Newcastle Pride takes place on 20-22 July at Nuns Moor, with a number of satellite events happening in the run up to the weekend.
For more information, visit www.northern-pride.com or search northernprideuk on Facebook or Twitter.