On Thursday 12 May 2016, His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge invited Attitude magazine to bring members of the LGBT+ community to Kensington Palace to hear their experiences of homophobic, bi-phobic and transphobic bullying, and discuss the mental health implications it has. Attitude editor Matthew Todd facilitated the discussion. After meeting with the nine delegates, Prince William then posed for the cover of Attitude magazine, photographed by Leigh Keily. The cover marks the first time a member of the Royal Family has been photographed for the cover of a gay publication.
Of course, most LGBT+ people do not suffer with such problems and live happy, successful lives. But, sadly, statistics show that the LGBT+ community is one that continues to suffer disproportionately from mental health issues, while bullying in schools is still an issue too many young LGBT+ people are exposed to. Prince William met with individuals who explained how bullying had led to low self-esteem, suicide attempts, eating disorders, depression and drug addiction including, in one case, the death of a young man after an unintentional overdose.
In 2015, LGBT+ mental health charity PACE (since shut down because of government cuts) produced an extensive report into the mental health issues faced by the LGBT+ community. It found that 33.9% of young LGB people had made at least one suicide attempt compared with 17.9% of young straight people, while 48.1% of trans young people had attempted suicide. The study also found that 57.1 % of LGB people had self-harmed at least once compared with 38.3% of heterosexual young people. 85.2% of trans young people had self-harmed as opposed to 47.4% of cisgender young people.
After the discussion, HRH The Duke of Cambridge made the following statement: “No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives. The young gay, lesbian and transgender individuals I met through Attitude are truly brave to speak out and to give hope to people who are going through terrible bullying right now. Their sense of strength and optimism should give us all encouragement to stand up to bullying wherever we see it. What I would say to any young person reading this who’s being bullied for their sexuality: don’t put up with it – speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need. You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Attitude editor Matthew Todd says: “During my time as editor of Attitude I have met parents whose child has taken or lost their life after being bullied for being LGBT+ or just perceived to be LGBT. I am very happy that the future King of the United Kingdom agrees this must stop and I would urge parents in particular to raise their voices in their communities to ensure that every school protects – really protects – all children.”
This issue of Attitude magazine went to press on Wednesday 8 June, just days before the devastating shooting in Orlando which saw 49 LGBT+ people lose their lives. Attitude sends our most heartfelt condolences to those affected by this atrocity. Around the world, LGBT+ people experience hatred and violence every day. Such violence does not exist in a vacuum but snowballs from intolerance and bullying that begins in classrooms, too often comes from politicians or religious leaders and is often not treated with respect by the media.
You can read our full feature with the Duke of Cambridge and see his exclusive shoot in Attitude's July Issue, available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude.
It’s in shops next Wednesday (June 22), and print copies are available to order globally from newsstand.co.uk/attitude.
If you have been affected by any of these issues, please ask for help from:
From shootings to suicide: Why homophobia remains as deadly as ever
Orlando gay club shooting: The victims