DISCRIMINATION is something that minority residents fear regardless of whether they are being targeted or not, according to students.
Pupils from Bay House School in Gosport are looking to tackle the issue of discrimination in the town, and are urging all businesses and groups to sign up to their scheme, Feel Accepted.
The idea is for organisations to make sure minority groups feel welcomed and accepted in places across the borough – with the pupils wanting to make the town a ‘more accepting community’ for people of all backgrounds.
The students say that people are often judged, sometimes subliminally, because of their social choices, sexual orientation or religion.
Currently the group is a team of four – Herbie Tyldesley, Alex Wallsgrove, Evie Cawte and Holly Taggatz-Buckland.
Alex Wallsgrove, 17, said: ‘Gosport is a predominantly white, Christian area and there is a real concern among us that members of the LGBT+ community and minority groups might not feel accepted, even if they aren’t actively being discriminated against.
‘We did a survey on our Facebook page and 40 per cent of people said they don’t feel accepted in their community. It’s a real problem and we want to help change that.’
According to the group, the survey they have carried out also showed that it is not just young people that are facing this discrimination.
Alex said: ‘When we started out we thought that it would mostly be younger people that were affected, but as the survey grew we soon realised that there were a lot of older people getting in touch and saying that they also don’t feel accepted in the area, which was slightly surprising.
‘One of the minority groups that is really coming forward about this is disabled people. Because a lot of places still don’t cater to their needs – even with things as simple as having a ramp to get into a shop instead of a step – they feel outcast in the community.
‘It is the little things that make a big difference and it’s important that we address them so that everyone feels welcomed and accepted in Gosport.’
The end goal of the Feel Accepted campaign is to get all companies in the area to sign up to the scheme, showing that minorities can feel welcomed wherever they go.
The Feel Accepted pledge asks businesses to accept people of all ethnicities, genders and sexualities, and to ‘reduce discrimination against individuals because of the life choice or the way that they are born.’
Alex said: ‘We want all organisations in Gosport to sign up to our pledge that they will welcome any minority that comes through the door.
‘Once the pledge is signed the businesses can put it up in a window so that everyone is able to see they are part of it.
‘Our dream is for the ones who discriminate against others to become the real minority – that is the best way to bring about real change.’
To stay up-to-date with the Feel Accepted team, people can follow @FeelAccepted on Twitter or search for the Facebook page.
For a copy of the pledge and for more information about the campaign, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org.