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“It is vital children and young people feel confident and supported to speak openly about sexuality or gender identity without fear of negative reactions and abuse."
By
Michaela Morgan

3 Feb 2017 - 12:33 PM  UPDATED 3 Feb 2017 - 12:33 PM

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has revealed that the number of calls made to Childline about LGBT+ issues has risen by nearly 50% compared to last year’s figures.

The UK counselling helpline says receive around 21 calls per day from children aged 12-15 who are worried about coming out, gender dysphoria, transgender issues, and acceptance.

The charity’s CEO, Peter Wanless, says that talking about sexuality and gender issues can be daunting, especially for children.

“Fear of being stigmatised or subjected to bullying can force many to bottle up their thoughts and feelings which can leave them feeling isolated, and can trigger serious mental health issues.”

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"My sadness was now beside me. I felt lost. Soon, I didn’t want to leave the house. I couldn’t be bothered to talk. I felt permanently drunk, as if a fog had permanently settled behind my eyes. I didn’t feel present, and this only made me lonelier."

In a quarter of the calls made to Childline about LGBT+issues, the young people said they had not told family members or friends what they were going through.

“It is vital children and young people feel confident and supported to speak openly about sexuality or gender identity without fear of negative reactions and abuse,” says Wanless.

The President of Childline, Esther Rantzen says the adult world has created a taboo around LGBT+issues.

“Which effectively imprisoned young people and in some cases has even led to depression and suicide. Childline is calling upon the adult world to listen sensitively and support young people and protect them from this profound unhappiness and loneliness.”

If this article has touched on issues for you, please don’t hesitate to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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