More than 10% increase in children worried about coming out as LGBT, says Childline

Childline has recorded a more than 10 per cent increase in Scottish children saying they are worried about coming out, compared to last year.

Children said they were concerned about coming out in more than 170 counselling sessions with the charity in the past year, an 11 per cent increase on the year before.

The NSPCC-run helpline has delivered a total of 305 sessions to young people in Scotland about gender identity and sexuality in the past year.

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Releasing new figures to mark Pride month, the charity said in some cases coming out had been made more difficult for children by the pandemic.

Childline has given more than 300 sessions to children about gender identity and sexuality.Childline has given more than 300 sessions to children about gender identity and sexuality.
Childline has given more than 300 sessions to children about gender identity and sexuality.

Lauren Burke, Childline Glasgow team manager, said: “At Childline, we know that coming out or speaking about sexuality and gender identity can be really challenging.”

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She added: “Some children with sexuality and gender concerns revealed that lockdown had been particularly hard for them, as they’d been cut off from their usual support networks, whereas others told Childline that lockdown had given them the confidence and freedom to come out to their friends and family.

“No matter what a young person’s experience is with coming out or speaking about their gender identity or sexuality, at Childline we believe every young person has a right to be listened to and speak about any worries or questions they may have without feeling judged.”

One 12-year-old girl who spoke to Childline said: “I want to tell somebody that I'm gay, but I just can't find the courage to. I don't want people to judge me or treat me any differently if they find out.

"Some people really hate gay people and I'm scared of what will happen if I tell someone”.

A transgender 15-year-old said: “I'm around my parents way more than I'm around my friends, especially now with Covid.

"My friends know about me being trans and they’re doing everything they can to make me feel comfortable, like using he/him pronouns and calling me by my preferred name instead of my birth name.

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"My parents, on the other hand, hate my entire being and still refer to me as a girl, which hurts me so bad.”

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