Childline says it’s seen the number of visits to its website on being transgender almost double in the last year.
The confidential helpline and website for children says its gender identity pages had over 12 thousand views over the year. That’s up 80% on the year before.
I’m trans and my parents don’t understand me
“I’ve been feeling depressed and suicidal for about 3 years”, said one boy who contacted Childline.
“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.”
Childline say that children aged 12 to 15 were the most likely to contact them asking for help and advice on gender or sexuality.
They held 6 thousand counselling sessions on gender or sexuality during the year, that’s about 16 a day.
409 of those sessions were with children aged 11 or younger.
Overall more than a third of the counselling was about coming out.
rejection, depression and suicide
Childline is now part of the NSPCC charity, but it was originally set up by Dame Esther Rantzen in 1986. She is still Childline’s President.
“I’ve met young people who were desperately unhappy because they couldn’t talk to anyone about issues regarding their sexuality or gender”, Dame Esther said.
“They fear they’d lose their friends and be rejected by their families if they disclosed their feelings to them.
“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”.
advice on being trans
Childline has also released a new video this week, looking at what it means to be trans. In it the trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf speaks about her own transition, and what she would say to her younger self.
Childline works with children under the age of 19. Calls to their 0800 1111 number are free, and don’t even show up on the phone bill. They can also be emailed through their own email service.
Media Credits: Child in contemplation, from Childline/NSPCC. Dame Esther Rantzen, from Childine/NSPCC. Munroe Bergdorf video from Childline on Youtube.