Kids Help Phone addresses LGBTQ-related questions throughout the month of June

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 sexual orientation."

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 orientation.

"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 youth.

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 environment.

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

For further information:

To set up an interview, please contact:
Liz Worth, Communications Coordinator
416-581-8955
1-800-268-3062 ext. 8955
liz.worth@kidshelpphone.ca


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