MORE than half of young people don’t identify as straight and prefer to forego labels entirely according to a recent survey.

The anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label polled over 1,000 people between the ages of 13 and 26 in an effort to better understand how young people experience sexuality.

The results found that 76 per cent of young people believe labels on sexuality are ‘no longer important’ and that people should be able to date whoever they want.

It also found that 47 per cent of respondents chose not to be labelled at all, saying terms like ‘straight’, ‘lesbian’, and ‘gay’ were too limiting.

Chief Executive of Ditch the Label, Liam Hackett, said the team’s research consistently finds a strong correlation between those who don’t identify as ‘straight’ and experiences of bullying.

“We know many young people grow up feeling confused and also pressured into conforming to specific labels of sexuality,” he said.

“So we became curious about exploring a new, fluid construct which looks beyond the traditional labels people have previously used to identify themselves.

“We hope this report goes some way to reassure young people that there is no right or wrong when it comes to identifying where you sit on the sexuality spectrum and indeed the exploration of your sexual identity is something that is completely normal.”

Other findings in the survey included how 93 per cent of young people felt it was a good thing to explore your sexuality, while 57 per cent said they felt they didn’t fit into the traditional definition of heterosexuality.

Hackett said the report will help to bring greater visibility around sexuality for young people.

“I think giving visibility to people who were once suppressed by society has sent a very positive and clear message: that sexuality is not something that is ‘dirty’ or should be hidden away,” he said.

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