We asked members of Galaxy, our LGBT+ youth group, what Galaxy means to them.
Here's what they said:
What Galaxy means to me... A place where I feel accepted and supported. Galaxy helps me because it allows me to know that I'm not alone and that it's okay to be who I am. This place has helped me when I needed it most and still does to this day. Coming here has made my life better when I did not think it was possible.
What Galaxy means to me... Galaxy is literally my whole life and existence. My personality is very strange and childish, so most of the time, I can't be myself but at Galaxy I can be as silly and childish as I want to be due to the accepting environment.
Another thing is how Galaxy has helped me find myself. I knew I liked girls when I came here, but I didn't know I was non-binary. During high school, I always hated myself, I work make-up in a desperate attempt to make people like me, I was trapped and convinced through family and society that I was a girl from day 1.
After coming to Galaxy and meeting transgender people and talking to them, I found myself on a journey of thinking I was a boy to finding out I was actually genderless. Being trans is tough but I wouldn't change it for the world.
I'm so glad I came here because now I love myself.
What Galaxy means to me... Galaxy is the only time in a week where I actually go out and socialise with everyone. The atmosphere is amazing and everyone is so friendly with each other, no matter the circumstances. The best thing about Galaxy is the brilliant staff that are always listening when you want to discuss problems and they're always there listening when you want to share with them your best achievements and experiences. The staff always remain professional, but I love how they thoroughly get to know each and every one us personally and become our friends. Us at Galaxy, members and staff, are not only our own community, we are a family and that is special, and this is what makes Galaxy worthwhile.
What Galaxy means to me... To me, Galaxy means a safe happy place where I can be myself, I don't have to hide from anyone. When you're at Galaxy, you are supported no matter who you love. We at Galaxy are like one big family and we are there for each other, everyone is welcome with open arms. If you need some friends to talk to who understand your situation, come to Galaxy.
What Galaxy means to me... Galaxy helps me to express myself, and be able to express my masculinity.
What Galaxy means to me... I feel like Galaxy is a place that I can meet new people who are just like me. I enjoy coming to Galaxy - I feel more confident and I feel I can be myself.
Galaxy runs every Saturday from 12pm-4pm in Hanley. Find out more about the group on the Galaxy section of our website.