CHILDLINE ADVICE: Helping instil confidence and pride in who a young person is
Each February, countries around the world mark LGBT+ History Month – a celebration of the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements, that has been running since 1994.
Just like Pride month, which is marked every June, LGBT+ History Month is a great way to encourage young people to feel comfortable to talk about sexuality and gender identity.
As children grow up it’s natural they develop and express their sexuality in healthy ways. Older teenagers might start dating or having relationships, while younger children might show curiosity about sex or physical and emotional changes that happen during puberty. Many young people also feel unsure about their sexuality, who they’re attracted to or find their sexuality changes over time.
Here at Childline, we are regularly contacted by children and young people who feel like we are the only people they can speak to about their gender identity or sexuality.
We’re always here to offer support, and have delivered over 125,000 counselling sessions on gender identity or sexuality since records began.
But by having a conversation with their child, parents can also help them understand themselves and others, and give them the confidence to be proud of who they are.
Remember that LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and more, and although people often confuse them, it’s important to remember that gender identity is different from sexuality.
Sexuality is who someone feels physically and emotionally attracted to, whether romantic, emotional or both.
Gender identity, on the other hand, describes how someone feels about their gender.
Some people identify as a boy or a girl, while others may find neither of these terms feel right for them and identify as neither or somewhere in the middle.
If you find this confusing, imagine how a young person might feel as they try to understand who they are, often alone while also dealing with the other pressures young people face.
By learning more this LGBT+ History Month, we can all help young people become more confident and proud of who they are, and there is information on the NSPCC and Childline websites which could be an enormous help to you and your family.