Whether our family has direct personal experiences of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) or not it is important that we understand people’s differences so we can talk openly with our youngsters and give them the knowledge they need to remain tolerant and accepting.

For it is through education and awareness that we can build empathy and work towards an inclusive society that is open to everyone’s differences and thus help to avoid the type of bullying, sadly reported here.

The bullying described is often experienced by those with gender dysphoria, (when a person feels differently about their gender than the one they have developed with). Gender dysphoria has been less commonly acknowledged than other differences in sexual development like being gay or lesbian, but all may experience bullying at times. However, it is perhaps because of ignorance and misunderstanding that ostracization and bullying can result.

These are complex issues and it’s likely that most of us haven’t had direct experience of them nor consequently fully understand people’s feelings or orientations. So it’s even more important that we gain information and awareness so that we can discuss them freely with our youngsters and help them come to terms with their own sexuality and gender as well as that of others. These issues are part of the PSHE curriculum and an important part of kids growing towards an inclusive society.

There are a variety of sources of general information on the web both for parents and for children that will aid that understanding.

The NHS site offers information and support through various pages like this one on gender dysphoria. As does the LGBT foundation.

Other organisations who offer information are Mermaids who help to raise awareness of gender non conformity. And Gids the Gender Identity Development Service.

A quick look through the information will help you inform yourself ready for your children’s questions and curiosity, help you open discussions, and create healthy attitudes. This is an invaluable form of support both for those who may be directly affected and also those who are not. For it is through our awareness, our own attitude and openness, we can create understanding and respect for everybody, however different from ourselves they are and however uncomfortable that may make us feel. And it will hopefully eradicate the kind of bullying described above.



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Laura is a Francophile with a passion for literature and linguistics. She also loves skiing, cooking and painting.