LGBTQ+ Information for Parents
Many young people will come to conclusions about their sexual orientation and gender identity during their teenage years. This is during a time of already immense change.
In a world which still views being heterosexual as ‘normal’, gender as being the same as the biological sex you were born with, and anything else as ‘different’, coming out can really add to the pressure and anxiety that young people feel.
The increased risk of poor mental health and being LGBTQ+ is well documented. Being LGBTQ+ doesn’t cause these problems. But some things LGBTQ+ people go through can affect their mental health, such as discrimination, homophobia or transphobia, social isolation, rejection, and difficult experiences of coming out.
Embracing being LGBTQ+ can have a positive impact on someone’s wellbeing. It might mean they have more confidence, a sense of belonging to a community, feelings of relief and self-acceptance, and better relationships with friends and family.
In response to these issues Chosen Hill School is aiming to become a positive LGBTQ+ inclusion school. To help us achieve this goal we are excited to announce that we have enrolled on the Rainbow Flag Award. This is a quality assured whole school approach framework towards LGBTQ+ inclusion, as well as developing strategies to effectively challenge and combat LGBTQ+ phobic bullying. It is aimed at improving the lives of all the young people within the school, as well as the LGBTQ+ young people in our care, those from LGBTQ+ families, and LGBTQ+ staff members.
"Coming out" is a lifelong journey of understanding, acknowledging and sharing one's gender identity and/or sexual orientation with others. It may be quick and easy for some, or longer and more difficult for others.
It is important for parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) teens to remember each child is unique and will have their own experiences and feelings along the way.
- Take it seriously. It’s positive that they can place their trust in you and want to be honest with you.
- If possible, give yourself some time to think things through. It’s OK to tell your child that it may take you some time to come to terms with their news. But reassure them that you’re working on it, and you’re still here for them.
- Think about how you felt about them before they came out.
- Think about their feelings. Recognise the courage it’s taken to tell you.
- Be aware of your own values and judgements.
- Be open. If you can share your feelings, then they are likely to be open too.
- Ask questions and find out what they need from you (if anything).
- Let them educate you: ask questions, be curious. It shows you’re interested, and this can really boost their confidence and self-esteem.
- Saying: “It’s just a phase”. While some children and young people may be exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity, phrases like this can dismiss or make light of how they feel.
- Saying “I thought so”. This could make them anxious that people have been talking about them or they may worry about what they have been doing to make it obvious to others.
- Overly questioning if they are “sure” that they are LGB or T. It’s important to listen to and accept how they feel. Dismissing or disrespecting their feelings could push them away at a difficult time.
- Reacting with confrontation or anger.
- Try not to panic. If you can be relaxed, it should become normal to be able to talk about this – and anything else.
- Don’t make it all there is. Their identity isn’t everything they are. They’re still the same person you know and love.
- Thinking “where did I go wrong?” There is nothing you have done or failed to do. They are simply who they are.
- Keep talking to them. They might not open-up fully at first but in time they may want to confide in you.
At Chosen Hill School we feel that it is important to value, celebrate and be inclusive of everyone, regardless of their identity, diversity, or background. We believe that every student should be accepted for who they are, and encouraged to embrace this, and not made to feel awkward about it. PRISM is our student led LGBTQ+ support group. It focuses primarily on helping LGBTQ+ students find their own voice and increase their confidence levels. Students who are allies are more than welcome in the club and are appreciated in the community as well. As long as students are respectful and understanding, they are welcome.
As with any club at Chosen Hill School, PRISM has aims. These are shared below -
- To provide a safe and social space for LGBTQ+ students and allies.
- To provide an opportunity to educate others on LGBTQ+ matters and give members the chance to organise events and activities for other students.
- To help students develop self-confidence and gain courage so that they accept themselves as well as others.
- To make allies of the Chosen Hill School LGBTQ+ community feel welcome, known and appreciated.
- To engage parents, carers, and the wider community on LGBTQ+ matters.
PRISM is held every Friday lunchtime in the quiet room which is in the library. Feel free to drop in at any point over lunch.
For further information contact club supervisors – Miss Hall (EH) and Miss Hanwell (EHA).
Pronouns have become a big thing, so let’s talk about them. There are many different types of gender, not just the two we tend to box people into – male/female. Genderfluid is an example of a type of gender. A gender fluid person switches their gender depending on how they feel each day/hour.
Humans have paired gender to pronouns for easy grouping/sorting of people. Pronouns are words used to refer to a person’s gender in conversation - for example, ‘he/him’ or ‘she/her’. Referring to a person in this way only considers the male/female gender, and not those that fit into different genders. To take into account different genders, some people may prefer others to refer to them in gender neutral language and use pronouns such as they/their and ze/zir.
Agender: a person who does not identify with any gender or assigns themselves no gender.
Asexual: the feeling of little to no sexual attraction towards people.
Aromantic: a person who has no desire for romantic relationships.
Bisexual: people who are attracted to people of male and female sexuality.
Cisgender: a person who does identify as the gender they were assigned at birth.
Deadname: a term used when you use a trans/gender neutral person’s birth/old name.
Gay: men who are attracted to other men; sometimes also used to describe lesbian and gay sexuality in general.
Gender: how a person refers to themselves in the way they feel and behave.
Heterosexual: a person who is attracted to the opposite gender.
Homosexual: a person attracted to another person who is the same sex as them.
Lesbian: women who are attracted to other women.
LGBTQ+: acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Plus (any other sexuality/ gender).
Nonbinary: a person who does not identify as male/female. Usually uses they/them pronouns.
Pansexual: Attracted to anyone regardless of their sex or gender identity.
Queer: a term used by those wanting to reject specific labels of romantic/sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Questioning: a term used when a person is questioning their identity in either their gender and/or sexuality.
Trans/transgender: a person who does not identify with the gender they were assigned with at birth.
Sexuality: The sex that a person is biologically born with – male or female.
Sexual orientation: this refers to who you are attracted to and want to have a relationship with.
We provide support for people of any age who have concerns about issues in relation to their sexual orientation or gender identity, their families and friends. We also run a youth group for people aged 14-18.
Tel: 07903 472899
A support website for transgender, non-binary and gender diverse children, young people and their families.
Tel: 0808 801 0400 Mon-Fri 9am-9pm.
We are a national voluntary organisation and charity dedicated to supporting families and their LGBT+ loved ones.
Tel: 0300 688 0368