• Childline delivered 3,397 counselling sessions over the last year where gender identity and sexuality were a child’s main worry 
  • The service also provided 404 counselling sessions in the past year where young people mentioned of bullying in regards to gender and sexuality 
  • The top five concerns that young people have discussed around sexuality and gender identity with Childline’s trained counsellors include: coming out, questioning sexuality/gender identity, gender dysphoria, discrimination/prejudice and self-acceptance 


Insight from Childline 

Many young people approach Childline to speak to a trained counsellor if they are finding it difficult to reach out to a trusted friend or adult to discuss these topics.


One young person, aged 14, told Childline: “I’m really worried about coming out. I told my mum I thought I might be gay, and she just told me “No way”. I thought about telling my friends at school instead, but they’re always making homophobic jokes and picking on anyone they think is gay. I don’t know anyone who is gay like me and I don’t know if you can even talk to a teacher about your sexuality. I don’t think I could cope with being called names for it, but I want to come out.” 

Others turn to Childline as they experiencing bullying because of their gender and sexuality. After the pandemic, many LGBTQ+ young people were relieved to be back in school and to have the support of their friends, but others were exposed to face to face bullying. The number of Childline counselling sessions concerning in-person bullying relating to sexuality or gender identity remains much higher than online bullying.  


One non-binary young person, aged 15, said: “For the last few months this group of students have been following me home. I know they target me because I’m out as non-binary. They pinned me down this week, touching me and pinching me to try and “prove” what gender I am. I have friends and teachers who support me at school but I as soon as I leave, I don’t feel safe.” 


Quote from Childline’s Director 

Shaun Friel, said: “Young people can face difficulties when expressing their thoughts and concerns around sexuality and gender identity.” 

“It can be hard to explore how you’re feeling without fear of judgement. Childline counselling sessions are here for every young person who needs support that is judgement free and impartial.” 

“This Pride Month, the NSPCC will continue its ongoing support to those exploring their sexuality and gender identity, as well as those facing unacceptable bullying, both online and in person.” 


Advice for children struggling with their gender identity or sexuality  

  • Speak to a trusted adult. Sharing how you feel can be scary, but it can help build your confidence and help you feel less alone. 
  • Get support from people you trust or reach out to other young people on the Childline message boards. 
  • Distract yourself when things feel difficult and overwhelming. You could do this by listening to music or playing a game. 
  • Let your feelings out by talking to someone you trust, writing them down or creating something. 
  • Express who you are in a way that feels comfortable to you. This will help you feel more confident. 
  • If you are questioning your gender identity you can visit your GP. They can talk to you about ways to cope and share what support is available 


NSPCC at Pride 

  • This Pride Month, the NSPCC is sending a message to young people that Childline is there for them, and the charity has been present at Pride events up and down the country, including Liverpool and Manchester, to show their support. In May, staff and volunteers from the NSPCC marched together at Birmingham Pride to celebrate 25 years of the celebrations in Birmingham and challenge prejudices, as well as to show their support for LGBT+ young people.  
  • The NSPCC is proud to celebrate its ongoing partnership with GoHenry, the prepaid debit card and financial education app for kids, which helps to provide young people with crucial financial skills. This Pride Month, GoHenry has produced a new card, designed by queer African-American illustrator and designer, Mia Saine. Mia says their work focuses on the empowerment of marginalised groups or individuals, and they use colour and body language to embrace difference and bring their characters to life. Pride card holders will also be supporting the work of the NSPCC, as GoHenry will be donating £1 to the charity for every card sold. 
  • This year Lidl GB is sponsoring all NSPCC Pride events in Great Britain, helping the charity to demonstrate that together, we are here for all children and young people. Lidl’s funding covers the cost of the NSPCC’s entry to Pride events and NSPCC and Childline Pride t-shirts and banners to ensure there is a powerful presence at each event, including heading up a float at Birmingham Pride. 



Childline is available for young people via the phone on 0800 1111 and online where there is a 121 chat on the Childline website. 

  • Children can also visit the website to find more advice on any concerns or questions they may have on gender identity and sexuality and they can also use the service’s monitored message boards to get support from their peers. 
  • For parents and carers, the NSPCC also has information on its website on how to talk to children about their sexuality and advice on how to help keep them safe.  
  • Through their Talk Relationships service, the NSPCC is also supporting secondary school teachers to feel more confident  when delivering sessions around healthy relationships and leading inclusive discussions. 

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