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Cute lgbtq college girls at campusLGBTQ+ is a grouping of people who feel that they don’t fit into traditional categories of gender or sexuality. They identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and +.

Questioning your sexuality or gender identity can be a lot to process for children and young people, as well as their trusted adults, bringing up a lot of emotions so don’t be afraid to seek support.

What is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation, or sexuality, is about who you're attracted to. It doesn't have to be sexual; it could be a romantic feeling. People can be quick to assume everyone fits into the traditional category of liking the opposite sex, which of course is not the case. This can cause people to feel like an outsider or that they are wrong for feeling the way they do.

How to support your child

Your child develops their sense of identity from a very early age. They will pick up on your language and behaviour to gauge your feelings towards certain groups or situations.

How to support a young person who may be LGBTQ+

Portrait of two young handsome men with blond hair together against view of the cityThe most important thing for your child to know is that their family supports and loves them. Your child is unique with their own experiences and feelings so listen to them and don’t make assumptions of their situation.

You don’t need to know all the answers and there are lots of organisations that can help you find out. Get support for your child if you think there is any bullying going on.

Families who might need further support

Some children and young people need further support in understanding their own identity. Some may need support in learning about those who are different to them, and in understanding and accepting that difference is to be respected and celebrated.

Like autism, gender identity and sexual orientation exist on a spectrum. Some research suggests that gender identity and sexuality are more varied in autistic people. Being LGBTQ+ and autistic are two identities that co-exist, and being autistic does not change any LGBTQ + identity.

Useful resources

  • The BeYou Project connects young people in Kent and Medway who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning their sexual or gender identity.
  • The Proud Trust has information for LGBT+ young people exploring coming out, faith and religion, and staying safe. Read experiences from other LGBT+ people.
  • Gendered Intelligence supports young trans people aged eight to 25 with resources for trans and gender questioning young people, and their families.
  • Young Minds has more information on supporting a young LGBTQ+ person when they come out.
  • Kent School Health is inclusive to all LGBTQ+ young people and can offer one-to-one support to any children and young people.