Confused about your gender and sexuality? Childline can help

Jenna Lloyd is a Childline spokesperson. She talks about how the charity can help if you are confused about your gender or sexuality.

Struggling with gender and sexuality
Image posed by a model. Picture: Tom Hull photography 

Every year, the month of June is the celebration of Pride.

Throughout this month people across the world come together to celebrate and raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and these celebrations continue throughout the summer.

What does LGBTQ+ mean?

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and more. Sexuality is often used to describe sexual and romantic attraction, whereas gender identity describes people who feel the sex they were assigned at birth doesn’t match how they feel inside.

Here at Childline, we want to reassure anyone who is confused about their sexuality or gender identity that this is normal.

Some people know who they’re attracted to and feel comfortable with their gender identity from a really young age but, for other’s, it’s not always so simple and can take a while to work out. However, if you’re questioning your sexuality or gender identity we want you to know that there are always people who can support you and listen to how you are feeling. 

It is also important to remember that coming out is different for everyone and it can get easier as you tell more people. Also, sexuality can change over time and you should not feel pressured or rushed to give yourself a label.

Talk to a trusted adult

Trusted adults you can talk to include: a doctor, parent or carer, sibling or cousin who is 18 or older, grandparent, teacher or one of our Childline counsellors.

Here at Childline you can call one of our counsellors or chat to them online about anything that you are worried about. This is completely confidential and no worry is ever too small.

How Childline can help

The Childline website also has lots of information and advice for young people and you can also use tools such as the art box to express your feelings or the message board to chat with other young people.

One child who contacted Childline* said “I’m just really confused about who I am and would like a bit of help.

“I just can’t decide what gender identity and sexuality I identity as. For the past year or so I’ve began to feel as though I don’t fit in. I was born female but ever since I was young, I was never girly and was seen as more of a tomboy. Occasionally I switch and feel more female and other times more male and it’s just really confusing me.

“I’ve done some research into gender identity but there are so many I just can’t find one I fit into and I’m afraid of what people may say.”

How you can help

If you know someone struggling with their gender identity or sexuality there are lots of things you can do to support them.

  1. Let them know you accept them by including them in activities and not asking them difficult questions
  2. Listen to their worries to show them they are not alone
  3. Respect and try to remember how they identify
  4. Tell a trusted adult if someone says something disrespectful to them

If you are struggling with your gender identity and sexuality and want to speak with someone then Childline is here for you on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk for further support and advice.

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