EastEnders viewers are celebrating: Fans of Ballum are collecting funds for an LGBT+ charity.
During tonight’s show, everyone’s favorite EastEnders couple Ben Mitchell and Callum Highway finally tied the knot (May 11).
The couple’s love story and wedding day have motivated fans, who call them Ballum, to raise money for the LGBT+ charity Just Like Us in honor of the couple.
Jen, an EastEnders fan, created the JustGiving page, which has already received generous donations to help them reach their £1,500 target.
The following is the outline of the fundraiser: “Ben and Callum’s story and wedding is important because it gives the opportunity for young people to see LGBT+ characters, living full and rounded lives full of love (and the typical soap opera drama!), and to say ‘these people are just like me’.
“This is why to celebrate their wedding episodes, the Ballum fandom has decided to raise money for Just Like Us. Just Like Us is a charity for young LGBT+ people, aiming to tackle the fact that growing up LGBT+ is still unacceptably tough.
“Both of our main characters, Ben and Callum, didn’t come out until adulthood (in Ben’s case, he tentatively came out at 15 and then went back into the closet for a few years due to the familial and societal pressure), which is indicative of the continuing struggle faced by young LGBT+ people growing up across the country.”
EastEnders viewers are celebrating
Speaking about the fundraiser, Just Like Us chief executive Dominic Arnall said: “We’re so touched that EastEnders fans have chosen to fundraise for Just Like Us to help improve the lives of LGBT+ young people across the UK.
“Ben and Callum’s relationship on the show has clearly brought some much-needed representation and we’re delighted that fans have decided to organise this fundraiser for Just Like Us to celebrate the special moment on the show.
“The fundraiser will help us to improve the lives of LGBT+ young people by supporting our programmes that help make schools safer, happier and more welcoming places for pupils who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or trans or have LGBT+ families.”
“Our independent research of almost 3,000 young people across the UK this year has found that LGBT+ young people are twice as likely to have depression, anxiety, panic attacks, be lonely and worry daily about their mental health,” he continued.
“They are also far less likely to say they feel safe in school (58% of LGBT+ young people feel safe in schools, versus 73% of their non-LGBT+ peers) and one in four (25%) is facing daily tension at home. We’re hoping to change this through School Diversity Week in June as well as our school talks by our volunteer ambassadors, showing young people that it’s OK to be LGBT+.”
You can contribute to Ben and Callum’s wedding fundraiser by clicking here.