Posted: 10 October 2018

National Coming Out Day: the importance of talking about sexuality as a young person

Growing up with her mum and sister in Essex, Louise Thacker, one of our campaign champions, looks back at the pressure she felt to fit in as a teenager.


Dealing with sexuality as a teenager

Sexuality is so complicated, and even more so for teenagers when everything is a lot more intense, new, exciting and confusing. There are so many new feelings and it’s hard to understand what they all mean.

I always felt sexuality was not discussed enough in school, especially in secondary school when my sexuality was at the centre of my thoughts. There was a very limited view of sexuality in my school. When I found myself liking a girl rather than a boy, I didn’t understand what that meant. There wasn’t a lot of discussion about being gay in the classroom. Most of the teachers assumed if you were a girl then you liked boys and vice versa.

Teachers assumed if you were a girl then you liked boys

At home, coming from a very traditional family, I felt like there wasn’t any way I could talk to my family about how I was feeling. I knew my older sister would support me, but at that point I didn’t really know what I was feeling or if it was real.

I felt like there wasn’t any way I could talk to my family

Being a teenager means starting to discover who you like. I think parents and schools should approach this with an open, healthy mindset. They should prioritise having open conversations about sexuality and educating children on what it really means. They should show young people they’re supported and valued no matter who they like.

If parents and schools can support young people this way, I think more teenagers will feel respected and valued, and growing up can be a lot less terrifying.


Based in this year's Good Childhood Report, we've compiled advice on discussing sexuality, dealing with mental health and communicating with young people.

READ OUR ADVICE

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