Childline receives eight calls a day about gender identity issues

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Childline has been receiving an average of eight calls a day from children and adolescents about gender dysphoria and transgender issues, more than double the number received the year before.
Record numbers of children sought counselling about gender identity from the NSPCC’s helpline during 2015-16, with 2,796 calls being made compared with 1,299 calls in the previous 12 months.Childline received calls from children as young as 11 who said their biological sex did not match their gender identity. The calls ranged from anxiety about telling parents, experience of transphobic bullying and mental distress caused by long delays in receiving medical treatment.The doubling of calls to Childline mirrors increases in referrals of young people to gender identity clinics across the UK. There was also a twofold increase in referrals of children and adolescents to the Sandyford clinic in Glasgow, from 90 in 2014 to 178 in 2015.“I don’t think we can be clear in why there is a big increase in the number of calls. I think we’re slowly trying to talk more openly about trans issues,” said Emily Cherry, head of children and young people participation at the NSPCC.She added that Childline counsellors were often the first adults young people talk to about being trans and that teenagers often called to seek advice about how to do so to parents and carers.“We’re hearing about a huge amount of anxiety about talking to trusted adults about transitioning, one thing we give them is confidence and help with finding the words to talk to parents,” said Cherry.

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