Gender Identity and Sexuality
Many young people will be aware of how they identify in terms of gender and who they are attracted to before they reach adolescence. For some adolescents puberty can be the catalyst for recognising that they may identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or that they sit elsewhere on the gender spectrum.
For many this can cause stress and anxiety, feelings of being “different” and worries about how they’ll be accepted by family, friends and society.
It’s important to remember that language, values and attitudes can be key to encouraging young people to open up if they want to. Being LGBT is not in itself a problem or a risk, but how other people respond to it can be. It is up to each individual if and when they choose to talk about their gender identity or sexuality and who they tell. Like with any young person things that might feel supportive include:
- Being able to be themselves and valued for who they are
- Feeling included
- People not making assumptions or reinforcing harmful stereotypes
- Being supported to challenge discrimination and inequalities
- Having access to resources and information relevant to them (this includes moving away from heteronormative relationships and sexual health education/information)
- Feeling they have people to talk to and knowing how to access support services