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Information for Parents & Carers

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Advice for Parents & Carers

Think your child might be LGBT?

Finding out that your child is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered can bring with it a whole range of emotions and how you respond depends a lot on who you are and your own personal circumstances. There are a whole range of issues that will impact on this response, probably too many to cover here. We’ve included a link to an excellent nhs webpage that explores many of these issues.

If you want any advice on how to speak to your child about sexuality then there is an excellent local charity, [Parent to Parent], which uses a peer-led approach to support other parents to talk to their children about sex and sexuality. Equally, get in touch with us if you think we can help.


We recognise that any form of bullying has long-term effects on the person who is subjected to it. When someone is bullied due to his or her sexuality (whether real or perceived) it can be really difficult to cope with. Young people may not want to disclose to parents/ teachers why they are being verbally or physically harassed. The emotional distress caused by bullying ‘can prejudice school achievement, lead to lateness or truancy and, in extreme cases, end in suicide’ (DfEE Circular 10/99).

At Fruitbowl, we offer support and guidance to anyone experiencing bullying around their sexuality. We can also support schools and other youth settings in developing anti-homophobic bullying policies and procedures.

Support for parents and carers

For parents and carers, we recognise that having a child who is exploring their sexuality or ‘coming out’ can be a difficult time. They may be anxious or concerned as to what the future holds for their children, may experience feelings of guilt, blame or even embarrassment or disappointment. These feelings are all common and understandable and we recognise how important access to information and support is for all the family. A useful national support organisation is FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).


As from January 2001, an equal age of consent for all young people regardless of sexual orientation was set at 16. At Fruitbowl, we acknowledge and support this equal age of sexual consent. We are a part of the Opening Doors scheme in Sheffield, so are trained to give sexual health resources such as condoms to young people.

Any advice given by workers at the Fruitbowl is mindful of, and will adhere to, the 2001 South Yorkshire ACPC procedures in terms of child protection issues. If a young person under 16 attends Fruitbowl and discloses that they are having or are planning to have sex, we would provide access to safer sex information and resources in line with the Sheffield Multi-Agency Sexual Health Guidelines. This means we would only give condoms and sexual health advice to young people who satisfy the Fraser Competence Guidelines (Gillick ruling 1985). Therefore, we would:

  • ensure the young person understands the advice/information given
  • ensure that they understand the legalities of the Age of Consent
  • and strongly urge them to tell a parent, guardian, carer or other appropriate adult outside of the group

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