Two gay youngsters from Scarborough are leading a new campaign to tackle homophobic bullying in the town’s schools.
Millie Allen and Nathan Jarvis, both 23, know the pain that can be caused by homophobic abuse in the playground.
With backing from Fixers, the charity that supports young people aged 16-25 to tackle the issues that are important to them, they are making a film about the damage caused by abuse, which they plan to screen in local schools.
“When I came out as gay in my early teens, it wasn’t an easy time by any means,” says Millie.
“Even after the name calling, however, I decided to open up about my sexuality and it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
“One thing I did notice was the lack of support for young gay people, and this is what I’m working with Fixers to change.”
A report about Millie and Nathan’s campaign will be shown on ITV Yorkshire on Thursday 8 August, from 6pm.
Nathan also knows how it feels to be on the receiving end of homophobic abuse.
“I was bullied before I even knew I was gay,” Nathan says. “It was mostly name-calling, but there were a couple of people who used to hit me, push me around.
“It was humiliating. I mean, I thought I was the only gay guy in the entire school. That’s how it made me feel.”
Millie was left feeling similarly isolated during her school years.
“I came out when I was 13,” she says, “but I had a lot of bullying before then. It was mainly verbal abuse, basically very hurtful, homophobic language.
“It just made me have a lot of negative thoughts about myself. I look back and I know I shouldn’t have let people make me feel like that.
“But at the time, I felt like I had nowhere to turn and that there was no way to escape from the abuse.”
With support from Fixers, Millie and Nathan are making what they describe as a “very frank and honest” film on the issue, which they intend to show in schools around north Yorkshire.