Some young people may not be certain of their sexual orientation, or they may know that they are lesbian, gay or bisexual but worry about this. They may be transgender. Awareness of their sexual orientation usually starts during puberty and teenage years but can begin earlier.
The need to provide information on this topic may arise because of specific circumstances eg two young men together touching one another intimately, teenage girls kissing and cuddling together in the classroom, a young man dressing in women’s clothing in his bedroom
None of these young people may have been taught that people can be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and issues can include
• learning about sexual orientation
• helping the young person to understand their emotions
• checking that behaviour is consensual
• understanding public and private behaviour
.Some one-to-one work is required with the young people especially to define public and private, e.g intimate behaviour between the two boys or two girls should be in a private place (and identifying where is an appropriate private place).
The implications of the young man going out in public in female clothes could have negative repercussions. Whilst he may, or may not be transgender, these are issues that could be explored over time with professional help sought if necessary. There is an option for him to seek further help from the local Sexual Health clinic, who could refer him to a specialist centre to discuss Transgender issues and the options. This would be a long term process.
LGBT Youth Scotland (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Scotland) can also help to support young people and their parents.
General learning about Relationships, including same sex relationships, should continue as young people grow up, as part of the Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood curriculum.
Some young people with additional learning needs, for whatever reason, are sometimes sheltered from the fact that same sex relationships exist. This information needs to be part of their learning about the people who make up their own community, and that different relationships are ok. Should a young person decide that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or are uncertain, they will then know that they do not need to be worried or frightened.