Rural gay project gets Lottery funding

Christopher Hayes April 18, 2007
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An educational media charity has received a £76,000 Lottery grant to help sexual minorities in rural areas fight homophobia.

The Herefordshire’s Rural Media Company won the cash for its “Sticks and Stones” project, a series of short films on how to fight homophobia in rural communities.

Around 50 young gay people from rural communities are expected to feature in the films.

“We’ve wanted to set up this project for a long time and now we can really get going with this funding,” Nic Millington, the chief executive of Rural Media Company, told the Daily Mail

“There are so many homosexual youngsters in rural areas across the country but many feel they’re the only one.

“They are usually being bullied in school for being different because teenagers are trying their best to fit in.”

The young people participating in the scheme will be actively involved in script writing and will work closely with project managers to produce short films that explore different bullying scenarios.

They might also get the chance to put selected gay celebrities in the hot seat and ask them how they dealt with homophobic bullying in the past and what impact it has on them now.

The short films will also be uploaded onto internet sites such as YouTube to enable other people to engage in the project’s themes.

Stonewall, the gay equality organisation, has estimated that there are more than 60,000 young people suffering from homophobic bulling in rural areas.

Research undertaken at Liverpool University reported this week that homophobia is common in small villages and hamlets.

Professor Ann Jacoby said: “The rural idyll is very nice so long as you fit into certain categories, but problematic if you don’t.”

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