There are lots of resources online that can help you understand what you’re feeling – and which offer advice for you and the important people in your life.
Here are some general sites for all young people who think they might be lesbian, gay, bisexual or are questioning their sexual orientation, and/or who think they might be trans, non-binary or are questioning their gender identity:
- www.youngstonewall.org.uk – Stonewall Youth website, with helpful advice and information. If you need to talk to someone, you can also call the Stonewall information service on 08000 50 20 20
- www.theproudtrust.org/for-young-people – The Proud Trust are a charity who support LGBT+ youth. They have lots of help and advice for young people on their website.
- www.rucomingout.com – RUComingOut is a site that shares coming out stories from LGBT+ people around the world. Some are good, some are bad – but they’re all told by people who are now happily out and proud to be themselves.
Advice for trans and gender-diverse people
If you are questioning your gender identity, you might also want to take a look at these sites:
- www.mermaidsuk.org.uk – Mermaids works with young people who feel at odds with the gender they have been assigned. They also work with parents and carers of young people going through these feelings. As well as reading information on their website, you can also call the Mermaids helpline on 0344 334 0550 (Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm) if you’d prefer to talk to someone. Mermaids also operates an emergency text service – if you need help now, text ‘Mermaids’ to 85258.
- Mindline Trans+ is a UK-wide helpline run by and for trans, non-binary, gender-diverse and gender-fluid people. They offer a confidential and non-judgemental listening service – just call 0300 330 5468 (Monday & Friday, 8pm-midnight). The service is also available for friends and families of trans+ people in need of support and advice. Calls are occasionally answered by cisgender allies.
- genderedintelligence.co.uk – Gendered Intelligence run projects for young people who identify as trans. Their Knowledge is Power resource is a great place to start educating yourself about trans people and trans issues. They also have information for parents and families, as well as for adults who work with young people (such as teachers and youth workers).
If you feel you are ready to be sexually active, sex education at school might not have provided you with much information about LGBT+ sex. Here are some good places to find information so you can stay safe:
- lgbt.foundation/sexualhealth – the LGBT Foundation have lots of advice on lots of different topics. This is the main section of their website dedicated to sexual health, but further info is available throughout the site.
- www.kent.gov.uk/sexualhealth – this site lists local sexual health services. It isn’t specific to LGBT+ people but it’s a good place to find out what support and advice is available near you.
- www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/sexual-health/improving-your-sexual-health – the Terrence Higgins Trust have a section of their website dedicated to advising LGBT+ people about sex and sexual health.
- allsortsyouth.org.uk/what-we-do/sexual-health – this section of the AllSorts site offers some good and practical advice on sexual health.
- getit.org.uk – run by charity Metro, this site allows you to order free condoms and gives advice about sex and relationships. It isn’t specific to LGBT+ people but offers some good advice.
- www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/sexual-health/home-testing-for-sexually-transmitted-infections – if you’re over 16, you can visit this site to get free home testing kits for various sexually transmitted infections.
There’s a lot of new and sometimes confusing language used by people talking about being LGBT+. It can be difficult to understand what people mean – which can also make it difficult to explain what you’re feeling inside.
Stonewall Youth have two very handy explainers of what we mean by sexual orientation and gender identity:
You can also find detailed explanations of lots of other terms you might have heard on the main Stonewall website:
Community and campaigning
When you start to explore your sexual orientation and/or gender identity, it can be comforting – and really inspiring – to read perspectives and experiences from people in the same situation as you. Here are a few places to start:
- beyondthebinary.co.uk – Beyond the Binary is an online magazine for non-binary people, by non-binary people, sharing opinions and advice on everything from activism to healthcare to representation in the media.
- www.bgdblog.org – Black Girl Dangerous is an online magazine by and for queer and trans people of colour. The site is no longer updated but has a huge archive of opinion and advice articles.
- actionfortranshealth.org.uk – Action for Trans Health are a national organisation who promote trans people’s access to healthcare, from providing a list of trans-friendly GPs to campaigning for changes to the law.
- www.them.us – them. is an online magazine and platform written by and for the LGBT+ community. Its content covers news, politics, opinion and arts and culture.
Housing and homelessness support
For some young LGBT+people, being who they are can end up making their living situations difficult or dangerous. Because of this, LGBT+ young people are more likely to be at risk of becoming homeless. If you feel at risk, or you need help to find somewhere to stay, support is available.
- www.porchlight.org.uk – Porchlight offer support to people who are homeless, or who are at risk of becoming homeless, across Kent. Their services are not specific to LGBT+ people, but they have a wide range of services that can help. Call the free helpline for advice, information or practical housing support: 0800 567 7699
- www.akt.org.uk – the Albert Kennedy Trust are the national LGBT youth homelessness charity. They don’t have any offices in Kent, but they have a huge amount of experience and expertise and can provide support online, including through their digital mentoring service Inter-AKT.
Health and wellbeing
Some people need a bit of extra health support as they work out who they are and how they feel. There are local services that can provide this – don’t wait to seek it out, get help if you feel anxious or worried and could do with some support.
- www.bigwhitewall.com – a safe, anonymous online community where you can talk about what you’re going through, and share experiences with people who feel the same as you. There are trained counsellors – called Wall Guides – on hand 24/7 to keep the community safe and the site also hosts a library of articles, tips and courses to help you understand how you are feeling. The service is available to young people in Kent aged 16-18.
- www.nelft.nhs.uk/services-kent-children-young-peoples-mental-health – find out about children and young people’s mental health services in Kent. If you feel stressed and things are starting to get on top of you, call them on 0300 123 4496 to find out what help they can offer.
- www.nelft.nhs.uk/services-kent-medway-eating-disorders – are you finding that you’re worrying a lot about what and how you eat? Sometimes people take strict control over their eating habits because they don’t feel in control of what’s happening elsewhere in their lives. If you’re worried and feel like you need some support to manage this, call 0300 300 1980
- www.nhs.uk/service-search/Psychological-therapies-(IAPT)/LocationSearch/10008 – if you or someone you care about is aged 17 or over and needs additional help with depression, anxiety, stress or trauma, use this tool to look for NHS counselling and therapies in your area.
- www.headstartkent.org.uk – Headstart is a service that helps young people in Kent (aged 10-18) build their resilience so they’re better prepared to handle big changes or stressful times in their lives. They have online resources that can help you – and that can help your family to support you better at home.
- www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/early-help-support-for-families – find out what support Kent County Council can offer to help families be happy, healthy and more resilient.
- youngminds.org.uk/find-help/feelings-and-symptoms/self-harm – self-harm, or thinking about harming yourself, is common among young people. Normally it’s a sign that something is upsetting you and you don’t know how to talk about it. This page has some simple, practical advice that can help you find better ways to deal with your feelings.
- www.addaction.org.uk – Addaction helps people change their behaviour, whether by helping them to tackle their drug or alcohol use or to manage their mental health. They also run the Mind and Body programme which offers great advice for young people on avoiding self-harm, and guidance for parents and carers too.
- www.kentyouthhealth.nhs.uk – a really helpful resource of advice on physical and mental health and wellbeing for young people.
- kent.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk – an easy way to find the right medical help for your needs if it’s not an emergency. If you need medical help in an emergency, dial 999.
- www.goodmentalhealthmatters.com – this site offers online resources to help young people, parents and teachers get a better understanding of how they can look after their mental health.
Domestic abuse and violence are serious crimes which can affect people of all genders and sexualities. If you’re experiencing abuse – which can be emotional, sexual, physical, financial or psychological – seek help immediately.
- www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk – there are several domestic abuse support charities in Kent – use this site to find your local support organisation.
- www.choicesdaservice.org.uk – Choices are a domestic abuse charity who support people in North and West Kent (Dartford, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Malling and Medway). They give support to all kinds of people affected by domestic abuse, including a specialist service designed to help people who identify as LGBT+. If you need help, call them on 0800 917 9948 for non-biased, non-judgemental and confidential support.
- www.galop.org.uk/domesticabuse – Galop are the national LGBT+ anti-violence charity, offering advice, support and advocacy. Visit their website for info and advice on domestic abuse within LGBT+ relationships or call their helpline on 0800 999 5428 (from 10am-5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays) or email email@example.com for emotional and practical support.
Advice for parents, carers and friends
Your parents or other family members might need some help and advice as well. They can find lots of helpful information here:
- www.fflag.org.uk – FFLAG are a national charity who are dedicated to supporting parents and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans children. As well as providing resources and information on their website, they also run a helpline (call 0845 652 0311 to speak to someone) and recommend books that can help parents and carers understand and properly support their LGBT+ child.
Advice for teachers and school staff
A supportive learning environment is vital to ensure that LGBT+ students get the most out of their education. If you’re a teacher or work in an educational setting with young people, here are some resources that may help:
- www.schools-out.org.uk – Schools Out is the UK’s only national charity campaigning to make schools safe spaces for LGBT+ people as students, teaching and support staff, parents and carers and school leadership. They carry out research, education programmes and campaign for policy change. Schools Out also manage and deliver LGBT History Month in the UK – visit lgbthistorymonth.org.uk for more information and resources.
- the-classroom.org.uk – The Classroom is an online resource created to help teachers include the LGBT+ experience in their lessons. Resources are free to download; site users can also upload their own.
- Switchboard – LGBT+ helpline. Call 0300 330 0630 – available 10am-11pm every day and for online chat and email service at switchboard.lgbt
- Samaritans – helpline. Call 08456 90 90 90 at any time of the day or night for emotional support and befriending in complete confidence
- Papyrus – suicide prevention helpline for young people. Call 0800 068 41 41 / text 07786 209697 / email firstname.lastname@example.org – Monday-Friday 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm, bank holidays 2pm-5pm
- Childline – helpline for children and young people. Call 0800 11 11 at any time of the day or night to speak to a counsellor
- Saneline – helpline offering information and emotional support to those experiencing mental health difficulties, their families and carers. Call 0845 7678 000 Monday-Friday 12pm-11pm, weekends 12pm-6pm
- NHS 111 service. Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it is not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (free from landlines and mobile phones)
In an emergency call 999 or go to your nearest Accident & Emergency hospital