Glasgow will be more colourful than usual this weekend as the city centre will be awash with rainbow flags and posters as Glasgow Pride takes place. Scotland’s largest Pride festival is a chance for the LGTBQ+ community to come together and celebrate themselves.

At Childline Glasgow, we are proud to be taking part in the festivities. We will have a team of our staff and volunteers marching along with the crowd. We will take the opportunity to talk to people about the work we do at Childline. If you see us, please feel free to say hello. We’d love to chat!

While the day is one of celebration, the NSPCC’s Childline counsellors know that this spirit of support and togetherness is not always the case for thousands of children and young people in Glasgow and across the country.

New figures show that Childline delivered almost 3,400 counselling sessions over the last year where gender identity and sexuality were a child’s main worry.

The most frequently mentioned concerns by these young people were worries about coming out, questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity, gender dysphoria and discrimination.

Many young people will approach Childline to speak to a trained counsellor if they are finding it difficult to reach out to a trusted friend or adult to discuss these topics.

Concerns around bullying due to gender and sexuality issues are also regularly being addressed by counsellors - Childline gave 404 counselling sessions in the past year where young people mentioned this type of bullying.

While many LGBTQ+ young people have the support of their friends, others were exposed to face-to-face bullying. The number of Childline counselling sessions concerning in-person bullying relating to sexuality or gender identity remains much higher than online bullying.

It is important that adults, parents and carers also know how to respond to young people who are exploring their sexuality and gender identity, and to offer support to young people who want to talk about these topics.

It can be a confusing and difficult subject and might take some time for young people to work out their sexuality or gender identity. Childline encourages young people to remember there's no such thing as normal, and there are resources available online for parents and children.

The NSPCC wants to remind young people across Glasgow that Childline is there for anyone who needs a safe and confidential place to turn to. Our counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and offer free, impartial and non-judgemental counselling to everyone no matter the worry or issue.

Children can also visit the website to find more advice on any concerns or questions they may have on gender identity and sexuality and they can also use the service’s monitored message boards to get support from their peers.

Parents and carers can also get advice on how to have conversations with and support young people on these topics at the NSPCC website.

Carla Malseed is NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager (Scotland)