Words: Steve Brown
Children as young as 11 are calling helplines for counselling after being bullied for coming out.
UK-based charity Childline has carried out thousands of counselling sessions for children who are concerned about their sexuality or gender identity in the UK and it has been reported many are suicidal.
According to the Birmingham Mail, one of the children said: “I have been feeling depressed and suicidal for about three years. My parents don’t understand me at all.
“I came out as trans and they think it’s just a phase and refuse to accept me. I am in pain.”
On the transgender page on the website, it reported an 80 per cent increase in visits between 2017/18 to 2018/19.
During Pride month, the organisations is raising awareness of LGBTQ issues for young people and have been working with trans influencer Munroe Bergdorf.
Bergdorf said: “There’s nothing wrong with being LGBTQ+, expressing your gender or even being unsure of your gender.
“No-one should ever make you feel like you shouldn’t exist because you feel differently to them.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that your emotions or feelings don’t matter because if you hear it enough it will break you.
“Find friends, teachers, parents or organisations like Childline who you can open up to and express any worries or concerns you have.”
Founder and President of Childline, Dame Esther Rantzen, added: “I have met young people who were desperately unhappy because they couldn’t talk to anyone about issues regarding their sexuality or gender, and often turn to Childline because they fear they would lose their friends and be rejected by their families if they disclosed their feelings to them.
"So, I am glad that they felt able to talk to Childline and reveal their feelings without being judged or stigmatised.
“I know that some adults feel uncomfortable talking about these issues with young people, but if we create a taboo around them, that can make children feel guilty, rejected and in some cases has even led to depression and even suicide.
"We all need to listen sensitively and support young people and protect them from this profound unhappiness and loneliness.”