Working with LGBTQIA+ children and young people
A member of the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) shares their advice for professionals working with LGBTQIA+ children, young people and families.
When working with LGBTQIA+ children and young people, professionals need to always respect and maintain an LGBTQIA+ person’s privacy.
The reason for this is that some children and young people may not be out to their parents or guardians, for many different reasons, and they may not want to share that information with their guardian at that moment in time. Professionals should always assure the young person that their sexual orientation and or gender identity will be kept private and won’t be shared without their consent.
Some young people may receive a lack of support from family, friends and services which can make coming out a very isolating experience. To reduce this, professionals should never make assumptions about a person’s identity, whether that be gender or sexuality, or based on any aspect of their looks or personality.
Professionals need to educate themselves on basic LGBTQIA+ terminology, for example, what it actually stands for (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex & Asexual+) and they should use gender-neutral language. An example of this could be rather than saying “cameraman” you could say “camera operator”.
When first meeting with a child or young person, a professional should start by asking them what their preferred name and pronouns are. This can overall make the young person feel more comfortable and more open to be talking to you!
The FJYPB have created top tips for professionals when working with LGBT+ children and young people.