Will Young has called for better education in schools to improve mental health for LGBT students, saying “nothing has been done”.
The singer was a guest on Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss the publication of a report that found half of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender have experienced depression.
“We have to look at the causes of mental health amongst LGBT people,” he said. “It is because it’s still not tackled in schools.
“Nothing has been done about the misappropriation of the word gay, that used to mean happy. Now it means… that’s wrong, that’s disgusting.”
Following the broadcast, Young tweeted that appearing on the show was a “dream come true”, but that the subject was “a bit dispiriting”.
My dream has come true on the @BBCr4today . Subject matter perhaps a bit dispiriting
— Will Young (@willyoung) November 8, 2018
Young also revealed that he has met with two education ministers over the last five years and described a “climate of shame” that LGBT people face.
“Of course that’s going to lead to low self-worth, low self-esteem, self disgust,” he said. “It’s all about language. No one is looking at the misappropriation of the word gay in the classroom.”
Earlier this year, Young revealed that he was made to re-record his early hit ‘Leave Right Now’ because he ‘sounded gay’. The 2003 single was Young’s first from his second album ‘Friday’s Child’, and went to number one in the UK following its release.
LGBT equality charity Stonewall found that of 5,000 people surveyed, 52% had experienced depression in the last year and 61% said they had suffered anxiety.
The charity also highlighted that mental health problems were particularly concerning among transgender people, with 12% saying they had attempted to take their own life in the last year, compared with 2% of LGB people who are not trans.
“If you’re gay you might not have safety at home,” continued Young. “If you don’t have safety at school you have nowhere, so you become isolated, the shame gets worse.
“It’s not taken seriously and the reason it’s not taken seriously is people still see it as a choice and it’s linked to sex and we don’t talk about sex in schools. It’s not linked to love.”