Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive Officer, Stonewall

For many LGBTQ+ children and young people, and their families, the internet is vital: it’s a place where they can find community, access support and learn more about themselves. As one of the young people interviewed for our School Report in 2017 said, ‘Seeing healthy and positive LGBT people on the internet saved my life’. With many schools closed at various points throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, the internet has been more important than ever for lots of LGBTQ+ young people.

But we know there can harms involved in living our lives online, particularly for LGBTQ+ children and young people. As Stonewall and Childnet’s Staying Safe Online guide points out, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) language is rife, with 97 per cent of LGBT+ young people having seen HBT content online.

Initiatives like Safer Internet Day play a vital role in improving LGBTQ+ children and young people’s online experiences. They move us ever closer to an online world where all LGBTQ+ children and young people feel supported, affirmed, and free to be themselves.