Young Women’s Health Project (aka LIK:T), based in Manchester, is run by and for young lesbian and bisexual women between the ages of 14 and 25. Its aim is to improve health by promoting various activities designed around six areas: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, occupational and social/community.
Many of the LIK:T attendees have mental health issues due to the rejection and difficulties they have faced through either hiding their sexuality or of coming out in a family or school that is hostile to lesbian and bisexual young people.
Lots of the young women are shy and do not feel comfortable in mixed young groups or sports facilities, and need extra support and encouragement to be able to get involved. Nearly half of the young people that LIK:T works with have financial challenges, and the group has supported a lot of them to access emergency accommodation and/or food parcels.
LIK:T develops and promotes health and wellbeing for these young lesbian and bisexual women through youth work activities and opportunities such as their annual summer camp. They also create educational resources such as a sex and relationships guide. LIK:T recently held a camping break that incorporated sports such as canoeing and cycling alongside advice and support for young bisexual and lesbian women.
Of the camp, the group said: “We ran a super super summer camp. There were 44 people in total. One young woman said: ‘being here lets me live the way I have always wanted to live’. The young women who came on camp often grow up isolated as the only lesbian/bisexual women in their family or in their school. This camp is affirming and supportive, providing a chance for these young women to connect and build peer support, and have fun and adventure in a safe environment – whatever their race, class, colour or ability.”
These young women have a lot to give and need people around them who support them, make them feel important, and help them develop their confidence and skills so that they can reach their potential and, in turn, help other people do the same. This is exactly what LIK:T aims to do.