CHILDLINE ADVICE: Lots of children and young people are not confident about their gender and sexuality
You may recently have noticed an increasing number of rainbow banners and logos appearing in shops and venues or on social media accounts across the North East.
That’s because June is Pride month, and the rainbow flag was designed to exemplify inclusion for everyone, regardless of their sexuality or gender.
Sadly, however, our Childline counsellors know that for lots of children and young people here in the North East and across the United Kingdom, gender and sexuality are topics which they do not feel confident about, or which they need support to deal with.
Each year, our counsellors carry out thousands of counselling sessions related to gender or sexuality with children and young people across the country.
They have also noted an increase in the number of reports of gender or sexuality-related bullying.
Nobody should be made to feel ashamed of their gender or sexuality, so for young people in the North East and across the country it’s vitally important that our Childline counsellors are available around the clock on the phone and through our website to offer any support they need if they feel they are struggling.
But it’s also important for parents, carers, friends and family to listen to young people if they speak out about any thoughts or concerns about their gender or sexuality.
As children and young people grow up it’s only natural for them to develop and express their sexuality.
Older teenagers might start dating or having relationships, while younger children might show curiosity about sex or the changes that happen during puberty.
Many young people also feel unsure about their sexuality or who they’re attracted to or find that their sexuality changes over time.
Coming out was the top concern for LGBTQ+ young people who contacted Childline about sexual and gender identity in 2020/21, and many were worried about how their family might react.
If you need support or advice on how to help a young person with these issues, the NSPCC helpline and website has lots of information on how you can help, but the best thing you can do is to listen to how they feel.