Welcome to Blackpool Sixth’s 2022 Show Your Pride event.

Below you will find lots of information, videos and activities to get involved with. Follow us on social media too using the buttons below.


Copy of LGBT+ Group logo
Student Central


Blackpool Sixth is committed to challenging discrimination, both face-to-face and online for both groups who share a protected characteristic (race, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, marriage or civil partnership, sex, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief) and those who do not.

How the group started

The LGBT Group was set up by a former student who felt that the LGBT+ community did not have a voice in College. When it was created it only started as a small group of students. However, over the past years the group and community has grown and is now part of the 6extra programme so every student has the opportunity to join.

Who are we?

Staff Representative, Julie Halliwell, alongside group student leaders (appointed each year to maintain continuity of the group) work closely as a team to plan sessions and events. Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings, you don’t have to identify as LGBT+ – allies are welcome too!

Aims of the group:

  • Provide a safe place for anyone who identifies as LGBT+
  • Promote inclusion and equality and diversity
  • Raise awareness throughout College
  • Give support to the LGBT+ community
  • Meet new people and form friendships
  • Signpost to local organisations

Mind Out – LGBTQ Mental Health Service

This year's chosen charity

MindOut is a mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people.

We work to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all LGBTQ communities and to make mental health a community concern.

We recognise that our communities are wonderfully diverse and welcome all LGBTQ+ people including those who identify as asexual, aromantic, pansexual, non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid and intersex.

Our services are also available to those who may not identify under the LGBTQ umbrella including straight people who have sexual and/or romantic relationships with LGBTQ people, men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, people who previously identified as LGBTQ and those who are questioning their sexual and/or gender identities. If you are unsure, please do get in touch with us.



Craig graduated with a 1st BA (Hons) Public Relations with Politics at Edge Hill University.  He is currently a Marketing Executive at Yellow Marketing in Liverpool. 

Founding the LGBTQ+ Group at Blackpool Sixth has been one of my proudest achievements. When I first started the group, my goal was to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues within the college and create a place for Queer people to be themselves. It makes me so incredibly happy to see that the LGBTQ+ Group is still actively providing that space and growing, as a group, year on year. 

Since leaving sixth form I have played an active part in my community; I became an Ambassador and raised £3,600 for the Terrence Higgins Trust, I became Vice President of the LGBTQ+ Society at Edge Hill University and I played an integral role in organising the virtual pride festival, Global Pride 2020.

It has been my great privilege to have played such an active role in my community. These safe and welcoming spaces, that we provide, play such a huge part in many Queer people’s lives; they allow for self-discovery, self-acceptance and making lasting friendships. This is why LGBTQ+ groups, like Blackpool Sixth’s, are so important.

I am deeply grateful to Julie and the students who continue to run this group, year after year. Your love and acceptance mean so much to so many people. Thank you.



A message from storyteller Mama G

A message from Chair of Blackpool Pride, Paul Dewick Day.

A message from author Matt Cain


Here are some Rainbow Reads book reviews from some Blackpool Sixth students.
The Madonna of Bolton –By Matt Cain

This book is centred around a gay man, living in Bolton who discovers the joy of Madonna. Through his idol he finds himself and comes to terms with his sexuality.

I’m not a book person but I found this highly addictive. And I loved discovering the work of Madonna alongside reading the book. Whether you identify as LGBT+ or not this is a fantastic story about a guy that loves Madonna.

Symptoms of Being Human – By Jeff Garvin

A debut novel telling the story of a young gender-fluid teen and their experiences with high school, relationships, friendships and the difficulty in coming out to parents.

There are not many books that realistically illustrate what life is like for a genderfluid person, so this is a recommended read.

The Queeriodic Table – By Harriet Dyer

An in depth book that explains the LGBT+ community and some of the challenges they have faced, along with some celebrities and LGBT idols.

This book gives a great definition for many of the different sexualities and genders that are commonly mentioned in the LGBT community. A good book to read for all that want to understand more about LGBT+ culture.

Fangirl – by Rainbow Rowell

This book illustrates the feeling of being alone even though others may be close to you like family or friends. It begins to show the difficulties with being separated from your family and how it can affect you in everyday life which also explores how hard it may be for people to find new friendships and relationships. This is a highly recommended read if you can appreciate hardships which are not clear to the eye.


A collection of poems written by current and former Blackpool Sixth students.


Why do people feel so trapped, alone or frustrated, or even scared? Why must they be made to feel different or even frightened to be themselves? I will continue to ask why until my questions are answered. Why do “normal” people feel the need to pick on people that are not carbon copies of them? It’s like they can’t accept or comprehend the fact that no two people are the same. 

Why is the fact that they are different even such a big thing? It’s not even like you know until you are told, even then you are destroying the trust built up over however long. Outing someone before they are ready to be outed, are you serious? How big of a fool can you be? 

That breaks a person in two, just because of the society we live in. 

If people weren’t the way they are today, as in bullies, then maybe being different wouldn’t be such a scary thing. No one would have to be afraid of themselves or have to change themselves in any way because people would be accepting. Is that so hard to ask for? For everyone to be treated the same way and with respect? 

These people aren’t of a different species, they are human beings like you and me, would you like to live how you force them to live? I expect the answer is no. So why? Why treat them any different then you would like to be treated? It’s a small world we live in, and it’s not going to be around forever, so start changing your outlook on life and the views that no one else wants to hear. Make a difference in someone else’s life, a positive difference to make myself clear. 

Gender Does not Define Me

I hate these things on my chest.

I hate the empty space between my legs.

I hate when I’m expected to have long hair because short is for boys and people would stare.

I hate the looks I get standing in the male clothing aisle, because I’m meant to wear pink but that really isn’t my style.

I like male clothing.

I like male hair.

I like the male everything.

But why would people care?

I’m meant to look nice. I’m meant to look pretty in long flowing dresses meant for the summertime breezes.

But at the end of the day dresses just aren’t me.

Nothing is me.

The hair. The body. The clothes. The anything.

And now I find myself saying, as scary as it may be,

“Gender does not define me!”

Pink and Blue

The world isn’t just pink and blue. There are deeper things to both them and you.

So what if a boy uses products? Or a girl doesn’t wear make-up?

You don’t have the right to kick up a fuss just because a boy loves pink.

Doesn’t mean “There’s something wrong” just because a girl can skateboard. Doesn’t mean she sings a different song.

Our parents always tell us, “Be different!” “Be yourself!”

But as soon as we do they make our lives a living hell.

Just because we don’t fit in the box that your mind tells you “is normal” doesn’t mean you can’t love us.

The world isn’t just pink and blue.There are deeper things to both them and you.



We are a not for profit, Community Interest Company based in Blackpool, but cover all of the Fylde Coast. We have four areas of work: Volunteering, Training, Youth & Community Work, Research and Consultancy.

What Can We Offer?

We support a wide range of people & organisations, from ages 10 up to 110! We provide lots of support opportunities, including community groups, volunteering, training & employment & wellbeing support. Whether you’re an organisation or individual, you’ll be surprised at just how we can help you achieve your potential!

Visit their website for more information: https://urpotential.co.uk/


As Europe’s largest LGBT organisation, Stonewall have spent more than 30 years working towards a world where all children and young people have access to an LGBT inclusive education.

Find out more about Stonewall and what they do here: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/


Click the image below to visit the website.


Toilets, bowties, gender and me – by Audrey Mason-Hyde

Why is it so important for us to know someone else’s gender? We live in a gendered world, but for Audrey, gender is fluid at best an uncomfortable construct. Is there a way to be less reliant on gender in our interactions with people? And what does this mean when it comes to the clothes we wear, or even which toilet we choose to use? If you met Audrey Mason-Hyde, you might think Audrey was a boy, which isn’t quite correct, but calling Audrey a girl doesn’t feel quite right either. At 12 years old, Audrey is already an accomplished actor with film and TV credits, including 52 Tuesdays, a film that won the Directing Award at Sundance Film Festival and the Crystal Bear, judged by the youth jury at the Berlin International Film Festival. With a fierce intellect and a unique sense of style, Audrey has plenty to say about our gendered world. 


Film documentary about the transgender gaming community. Chloe Ireland a former Blackpool Sixth student was the cinematographer/sound designer.

TransGamer is about the world of gaming through the eyes of Pascal, a non-binary person, to whom gaming provides entertainment and escape, fundamental to their mental health.


Gemma - Graduation PhD

We hear from former student Gemma about her LGBT+ experience at university.

What is it like being LGBT+ at university?

Well I suppose I can only speak from my own experience, which I’m pleased to say has been a positive one. I think one of the main things I got out of my time at university was a supportive
environment in which I could be myself, and the time and space to figure out who that person really is.
I grew up in Blackpool and attended The Blackpool Sixth Form college around 2007 – 2009 (which makes me feel old just writing those dates down!). When I was applying to university, the thought that I might be LGBT+ had never crossed my mind… okay well that’s a lie, it had crossed my mind, but it certainly wasn’t a part of my identity that I had truly acknowledged or accepted at that stage. For me that didn’t happen until the end of my first year of university.
When I came out at the start of my second year, a friend suggested I look to see whether there was an LGBT+ group on campus. As it turned out there was, and so I very nervously sent an email asking for some support and arranged to meet one of the members of the committee. The more dramatic side of me wants to say, “that moment changed my life”, but I suppose in a lot of ways it did. I found a supportive community of LGBT+ students; an environment in which I grew from someone who was nervous to say the words “I’m gay” out loud, to a proud (and fairly vocal) member of the LGBT+ community. I went from the person reaching out asking for support, to being the chair of the LGBT+ committee, providing that support to other students. To this day, most of my closest friends are people I met though that group.
If you had asked me when I was in college applying to go to university what I thought I would get out of it, I would have said “a maths degree”, and I would have been right, but it was so much more than that, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that experience.

What advice do you have for those applying to university now?

I think where you choose to go to university is about more than just the course you want to take. It’s about the environment you’re going to be studying, and possibly also living in, for the next few years. For LGBT+ students my advice would be to look at the university’s website, and the website for the students’ union. Try to find out if they have an LGBT+ student group. At Sheffield, where I
went to university, this group is called the LGBT+ representative committee, but there might be different names at other universities.
If you go to visit the campus on an open day, perhaps keep an eye out for indications of how inclusive the environment might be. For example, do they have gender neutral toilets, are there any dedicated LGBT+ spaces, are there any LGBT+ flags or other signs of LGBT+ visibility on campus. At Sheffield, I know they also offer LGBT+ accommodation for anyone who would prefer to live with
other LGBT+ students, so perhaps this is something to look out for.
Ultimately the decision about where to go to university is about what is right for you. You might want to look for some, all, or none of the things I have mentioned above. The most important thing is that you find somewhere you feel happy, and comfortable, so that you can get the most out of your time at university.


University of Birmingham

Networks and Societies

  • Guild of Students’ LGBTQ Association aims to represent those who consider themselves to have a minority sexual/romantic orientation and/or gender identity.
  • OSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) s a society dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ students studying, or with an interest in, STEM subjects.
  • Birmingham Medsoc LGBTQ  is a social group, where members can get to know LGBT students in other years.
  • Rainbow Network exists to provide support for LGBTQ staff and PhD students, and ensure that their views and needs are recognised by the University.
  • The Careers Network’s LGBT mentoring scheme supports students to gain advice on how to be happy and fulfilled as an out lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer employee.




Being LGBTQ+ at UoB

By English and History student Sophie.

Read here:


LGBTQ Society Logoforweb

The University of Manchester

Support for LGBTQ+ students

The University of Manchester welcomes all students including those that identify under the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

Manchester has a long history of LGBTQ+ activism and a famous social scene and LGBTQ+ students will find the University and the city an inclusive place to study.

We work closely with our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team at the University to ensure we offer a welcoming environment free from harassment, discrimination and bullying. 


University of Leeds

What is the LGBTQ+ scene like at Leeds University?

If you’re coming to Leeds as an LGBTQ+ student you’ll be lucky to find that there’s so much on offer, both on and off campus, whether you’re still discovering your gender or sexuality, or you’ve been out for years. This article will give you some helpful pointers for which groups and places to look into, to find the best for you.

FIND OUT MORE HERE: https://www.mytutor.co.uk/university-advice/what-is-the-lgbtq-scene-like-at-leeds-university/


Liverpool John Moores University

In 2021, LJMU ran a series of LGBTIQ+ History Month related events and activities, which were open to everyone.

You can CLICK HERE to watch some of the events which took place. 

  • Visit the JMSU (John Moores Student Union) site which has various information and students can see the various clubs and societies which you could get involved in. Students can search for example for the LGBTIQ+ society. https://www.jmsu.co.uk/
  • JMSU also have a student advice and wellbeing team if students want to have a browse of how they can help. https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/discover/student-support


PC Ian Ashton is a longtime supporter of our college LGBT group, having come in a number of times to support events and give presentations to students. Here is a presentation telling you more about him and the work he does in our community.
Hate Crime Presentation



FvH is an international initiative that exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation gender identity and expression at all levels of football.

We want football to take a clear stand against homophobia and transphobia so that everyone can enjoy the beautiful game and so that football leads the way in removing discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Football v Homophobia was originally conceived and launched by the Justin Campaign in 2010.The Justin Campaign www.thejustincampaign.com, a small voluntary run football campaign group, was founded in 2008 to demonstrate that ten years after Justin Fashanu’s tragic suicide in 1998, homophobia was still hugely prevalent in both grassroots and professional football. Along with raising awareness the campaign had a strong focus on Art, Events, Education and football.

In 2012, LGBT Sports Development and Equity organisation Pride Sports www.pridesports.org.uk joined with the Justin campaign to help deliver Football v Homophobia, and in 2014 the organisation took over the delivery of the campaign altogether. Whilst the campaign receives wide-ranging support throughout football, core funding for Football v Homophobia is sought on a year-by-year basis.

If you or your organisation/company would like further information about the campaign and find out about more ways to get involved, please email info@footballvhomophobia.com

Football v Homophobia exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football. As an international initiative FvH engages in campaigning, education, advice and guidance, research, policy consultation and capacity building to:

  1. Make existing football structures safe, welcoming and inclusive for LGBTI people
  2. Create opportunities and promote engagement of LGBTI people in football at all levels and in all forms
  3. Improve the representation and visibility of LGBTI people throughout football
  4. To realise the potential of football in society as a tool to create positive change


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Julie Halliwell – LGBT+ Group Coordinator

I am extremely proud of the success of the LGBT+ Group at Blackpool Sixth  and how it has developed over the last 5 years. It has been a privilege to see students grow in confidence, make friendships and be proud of who they are. 

It is particularly important to me that prospective students and the local community know that Blackpool Sixth is an inclusive College, so although this year’s ‘Show Your Pride’ is different from our usual event, it is a great way to showcase the LGBT+ Group and the support available. 

Email address Julie.halliwell@blackpoolsixth.ac.uk

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Lou Englefield

Lou Englefield is a Director of Pride Sports and has been a leading voice on LGBTI inclusion in sport for over 10 years, working both in the UK and further afield. She has worked on the Football v Homophobia campaign since 2010. Lou is a terrible footballer, coached grassroots junior football for over ten years, and now just supports her team, Manchester City, mainly from the comfort of her sofa!

You can listen to an exclusive podcast by Lou Englefield recorded just for us here.

Carolyn Mercer

Member of Stonewall’s Trans Advisory Group.

What achievement are you most proud of?

From leaving school at 16 with minimal qualifications and from a poor working class background, professionally I’ve achieved success but helping people both within my paid employment and outside has been my driving motivation and given me most satisfaction and reward.

What barriers do you feel you had to overcome to succeed?

A lack of confidence and adequate preparation combined to make my successes a surprise to me… as well as others!

Who are your role models and sources of inspiration?

Coco Chanel, who said, amongst other things, “Beauty begins the moment when you decide to be yourself.” However, I am inspired by so many people and I learn from everyone… always!


Carolyn Mercer ‘Define Normal’


Carolyn Mercer ‘I didn’t just survive, I succeeded’.



Nina Beavers

LGBT+ Coordinator at URPotential

What achievement are you most proud of?

On a personal level – being the best parent I possibly can to my gorgeous son who I adopted 10 years ago, & gently persevering with my very grumpy old cat called Fiz Vicious 🙂 On a professional level – delivering a 5 year anti-bullying project & training students to be young leaders in my home town, & of course my current role which I’m very passionate about. It was also quite nice to reach the finals of the National Diversity Awards for LGBT+ Role Model.

What barriers do you feel you had to overcome to succeed?

Being brought up in poverty was difficult, especially for a girl child. At an early age I recognised how sexism affected my day to day life even though I didn’t have a name for it yet! As a consequence of the many disadvantages this brings, one was that I received a poor education as a child. As I developed as a young adult I also felt ‘trapped’ and didn’t feel like I ‘fit in’ due to my developing identity as a gay woman. But hey, I finally broke through feelings of low self esteem about my academic failure & fear of prejudice, but only with the help of many people over the years who believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself.


Male and Female: Is gender a social construct?



  • Information and support is available by telephone or email
  • Mondays to Wednesdays 9am-4pm.
  • They have a support worker for 1-2-1 support as well as a free counselling service for LGBT adults (18+).
  • Fortnightly zoom group for lesbian bi and trans women in Lancashire aged 18+
  • Monthly blog by support worker Beth https://lancslgbt.org.uk/beths-blog

For more information: https://lancslgbt.org.uk/


In 2018 the LGBT+ Group chose to raise awareness of hate crime,
and how it can affect victims and their families. We welcomed Sylvia
Lancaster of ‘The Sophie Lancaster Foundation’ in February to talk to
students, staff and visiting high schools. She spoke about the murder
of her daughter Sophie and how she has created a lasting legacy in
the charity and the work she does with schools and campaigns.

Our annual ‘Show Your Pride’ day that year successfully raised £226.28 for
‘The Sophie Lancaster Foundation’ selling cakes, badges and wristbands. Live music from several of our music students added to the celebratory atmosphere. We welcomed students from Unity Academy as well as guests from UR Potential, Horizon and Meet ‘n’ Match.



A wonderful presentation called Asexuals Are Ace from former student Evelyn Murray.





Left – This is something we did on New Student Day – our Positivi-tree. Students had to write 5 things about themselves on the fingers, and what diversity meant to them.

Above – Love poster designed by a former student.