An ex-pupil from Smithills Scholl has shared their coming out story with pupils at Westhoughton High School in hopes of inspiring the next generation.

Adrienne Wood, 26, grew up in Bolton, and came out as gay when they were 15 years old to their mum.

They didn’t initially get the best reaction, although their mum has come around now.

Adrienne said: “I was 15 when I came out.

“One of my friends turned round and said, ‘it’s now or never’.

“I told my mum, and I was banned from seeing friends.

“I was doing my GCSEs, and finding out who I was, was more important, and it should have been the other way round.

"My mum has come around now, and has said she wouldn't have me any other way."

At the time Adrienne felt as though she didn’t have the support she needed.

The Bolton News: Adrienne loving her jobAdrienne loving her job

It is one of the main reasons she decided to share her story with the pupils, to show them the options available now, and to offer advice for those coming to terms with their identity.

They said: “My experience is what got me out to give LGBTQI+ talks, because it starts in the classroom.

“I had some quite educational talks with 12-13-year-olds about why we have LGBTQI+ pride, and ideas around creating a safe place for children like each other.

"It was a very fun day.

“I wanted to give kids something I never had and give them the confidence to come out.

"There can be a lot of homophobia in schools, and if no-one talks about it then it's gonna continue."

Adrienne is now the owner of Pricklez piercing studio, and also works at The Painted Man Tattoo Studio, where they are a body piercer.

Part of their inspiration behind setting up the studio was to create a safe space for those in the LGBTQ+ community.

They added: "I left school with no GCSE's, but I'm still a business owner.

"But I would have passed my GCSEs if I had the right support and help, which is why I want to offer a safe space.

"All they can do is do the best they can, if it is the white collar job they want or not.

"But the main thing is that they are safe.

"A lot of kids get kicked out, which can be so scary.

"This is why we need to get a support system in place for them other than their mum and dad."