Many young people struggle with concerns about identity, sometimes feelings about gender are unclear and puberty can be a very difficult time.

Gender identity (how you feel about your gender) and sexuality (your sexual preferences) aren’t the same thing, but they’re both linked. Teenagers who experience gender discomfort might feel unhappy, lonely or isolated from their peers and friends. There may be social pressure from friends, teachers and family to conform to gender stereotypes, or they may face bullying and harassment. Their discomfort about being male or female may affect self-esteem, depression, self-harm and face suicidal thoughts.

Many children and young people will generally know that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or question their sexuality or gender identity from a young age. A large number don’t tell anyone until they are older – this is mainly because they are scared and worried about what others might think. This gap between initial questioning of their identity and starting to accept it can leave a window of time when young people can suffer with lower self-esteem, depression and isolation.

Links below can also help:

Mermaid UK – Homepage – Mermaids (

RUComing Out – RUComingOut – LGBT Coming Out Support Charity

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