Queer Youth Network

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Queer Youth Network was a national non-profit making organisation run by and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) and Queer Young People, and was based in the United Kingdom.In 2019 it was not clear whether the Network was still functioning at all. Social media sites such as Twitter suggest activity stopped in 2018.

Their aim was to represent the needs and views of LGBT Young People through campaigning for greater visibility and equal rights, as well as providing general support and information to those who are just "coming out" or who are suffering the effects of homophobia.

Founded in 1999 by David Joseph Henry and C N Lester as a grass-roots civil rights group, its formation was inspired by YouthSpeak. it was called the "Queer Youth Alliance" until December 2006, and "Queer Youth Overground" for a short period between 1999 and 2001. In the beginning the movement consisted of two member groups, Queer Youth Manchester (a local social support group based at the Hollywood Showbar in Manchester's gay village) and Putney High School's Gay Straight Alliance (the first of its kind in the UK). Henry and Lester got together to form a national alliance of LGBT Young People.

As many of the organisation’s original aims began to be achieved (eg abolition of Section 28 and lowering of the age of consent for young gay men), the group decided to focus on youth support and representation to ensure homophobic legislation such as that brought about by the Conservative government of the 1980s is not repeated.

The first president of the organisation was David Joseph Henry, who stepped down in August 2005, to make way for Greg Justice, with Katherine Parlour taking over as Vice President.

With the departure of Greg Justice and Katherine Parlour, the organisation re-grouped, after a period of no clear control in 2007 the organisation changed its name to the Queer Youth Network, and with David Henry back at the helm.

Core Work

Instrumental in overturning Kent County Council's "mini-Section 28" policy after a long campaign, the alliance was known for its vibrant, rowdy protests and youth-led campaigns. The organisation was one of the growing number of groups in Britain to have reservations about the Government's Civil Partnership Act that granted equal rights to same sex couples. The Queer Youth Network campaigned for the legalisation of marriage for same sex couples and as a result the organisation was one of the founding members of the Coalition for Marriage Equality (UK) together with OutRage! and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.

The National Queer Youth Conference was hosted annually by the Queer Youth Network. In 2003 it took place in London, 2004 in Birmingham, 2005 in Manchester and 2007 in Birmingham. The event was the largest gathering of LGBT Young People in Europe and was based upon similar events held in the United States.

Overground was the organisation's national magazine. It was distributed nationally to schools, youth groups, colleges, universities and through events.