TORONTO, June 22, 2011 /CNW/ -
"Am I gay?"
"Will I lead a normal life?"
"Will I be able to get married and have kids?"
These are common questions for young people who are struggling to
understand their sexual identities. Although sexual identity can be an
ongoing process, it can be particularly complex for LGBTQ youth - young
people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer
or questioning - which is why Kids Help Phone wants to get people
talking about the identity issues that these young people face.
"The Q in LGBTQ sometimes stands for a question mark," says Alain
Johnson, Clinical Director of French-language Services at Kids Help
Phone. "But there isn't always one answer. There is no formula to
Sexuality is something that people continuously develop and explore
throughout their lives. For young people, these new feelings can
sometimes create confusion, anger, and low self-esteem.
"Youth will also question whether they're gay because they look at other
people of the same sex, or because they have feelings they don't
understand," Johnson explains. "They don't yet understand that
questioning their own sexual orientation doesn't necessarily mean that
you're gay, or will be gay."
Why we want to talk about the questioning in LGBTQ
Questioning all aspects of who you are is a normal process of growing
up. Sexual imagining about people of the same or opposite sex doesn't
necessarily mean that a person fits into a particular type of sexual
"Questioning" youth may not yet associate with LGBTQ help lines or may
not wish to confide in family members or friends. Kids Help Phone is
often the first place they call.
And if kids do identify at LGBTQ but aren't ready to reach out to other
help lines, our counsellors can refer those youth to a specific agency
when, and if, they're ready to take that step.
LGBTQ youth are often victims of bullying and homophobia. They are also
approximately three times more likely to attempt suicide than other
As a first point of contact for these young people, Kids Help Phone
wants to help parents, educators, youth professionals and anyone with
kids in their lives to talk about sexuality in a safe, open
What kids are telling us
"I've been living with the constant question of 'Am I Gay' for the past
3 or 4 years. I've been trying my best to do some self-examination to
see if I could answer this question but I cant. I write hoping that you
might be able to help, I find myself being attractive to both men and
women. I just don't know what is going on with me. Friends of mine have
come out telling people that they were bi, however when they did this,
a lot of "Drama" went on and everyone made fun of these friends." -
real post at kidshelpphone.ca
About Alain Johnson
Alain Johnson is Clinical Director of French-language Services at Kids
Help Phone. He holds a Master's degree in psycho education studies from
the Université de Montréal. For over 20 years Alain has worked in high
schools as a non-teaching professional and assistant director. He has
worked with different community organizations providing help to kids in
need since 2000, and joined the Kids Help Phone team in 2006.
About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada's leading youth counselling service, moving
kids from distress and isolation to confidence and competence.
Available anytime of the day or night, in English and French, by phone
and by web, it is the go-to resource for kids in Canada from five to 20
when they need help or trustworthy information on issues that are
difficult to discuss with anyone else. Providing a service that is
free, anonymous and confidential, Kids Help Phone is a respected
charity, vitally dependent on individual donations and corporate
support to remain available to kids looking for help; sometimes looking
for a lifeline.
SOURCE: Kids Help Phone
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