Sex describes biological differences between the female and male genitalia. A child’s sex is usually assigned at birth.
Gender describes a person’s internal sense of their identity. For example, someone might identify as a woman or girl, non-binary, transgender, a man or boy, gender fluid, or something different.
These are some words people use when talking about gender identity:
Your child may use different words to describe their gender. For more information about the different terms and gender identities, visit Stonewall.
Questions around gender identity can emerge at any time, and there is a wide range of reported experiences. Some individuals know from childhood that they feel mis-gendered, while others might not recognise this until adulthood. Parents may be aware that their child is questioning their gender identity from an early age, or they may not. Some people may also feel that their gender identity, and the words they use to describe it, change or develop at different times.
If your child is questioning their gender and they are being supported by professionals, you may hear doctors using terms such as gender dysphoria, gender identity disorder (GID), gender incongruence or transgenderism.
Gender identity is a deep-rooted sense of self. Having a sense of identity in this way is really important for our mental health, wellbeing and sense of resilience.
If your child doesn’t feel certain about their gender, life can be very stressful, and there may be times when they feel that they don’t fit in anywhere. Young people going through gender identity issues can experience stigma, bullying, isolation and even violence from others. They might also struggle with difficult feelings and use coping mechanisms like self-harm.
Remember that there are things you can do to help your child and to make sure they have the right support around them.
The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is England’s only NHS service for children and young people experiencing difficulties in the development of their gender identity. The service has main clinics in London and Leeds, as well as satellite clinics elsewhere across England in places like Exeter.
GIDS has a staged approach to supporting young people. Every young person is different and will be treated as an individual. If your child is referred to GIDS, first they will have a full psychosocial assessment, which is usually three to six appointments with two experts. They will work with your child, and family, to explore your child’s understanding of their gender identity, and to talk about how their feelings may have changed over time, and how they might change in future.
Who not What is a group of young people who have come together to represent the voice of the young lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning community of Hertfordshire.
They are looking at services available throughout the county and will be working towards improving these services for young LGBTQ people aged 13-24 who live, work or are educated in the county.
They conduct regular consultations to hear the views and opinions of young LGBTQ people aged 13-24 who live, work or are educated in the county.
Provides a range of educational programmes for teens as well as targeted services for young people including care leavers, young parents and LGBTQ teens.
YC Hertfordshire provides youth work projects and programmes, information, advice, guidance, work related learning, outdoor education and support for young people aged 13-19 (to 24 for young people with learning disabilities). For young people leaving care, support is provided to the age of 21.
We now deliver youth work projects and programmes, information, advice, guidance, work related learning, outdoor education and other services under the new name of YC Hertfordshire.
The new name reflects national developments and the diversity of projects and programmes delivered to children, young people and adults – in schools, colleges, Children’s Services settings and the community.
Our websites and materials will be updated over the coming weeks and months to reflect this change of name.
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, continue to follow us on Twitter at @ychertfordshire
Mermaids supports gender-diverse children and young people until their 20th birthday, as well as their families and professionals involved in their care.
Transgender and gender-variant children and teens need support and understanding, as well as the freedom to explore their gender identity. Whatever the outcome, Mermaids is committed to helping families navigate the challenges they may face.
Talk to us on
0808 801 0400
Helpline Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm
The YC Hertfordshire Who Not What Project supports young LGBTQ people aged between 13 and 24, providing them with safe and confidential places to meet, socialise and talk about issues of interest and relevance to them as young LGBTQ people, with the support and guidance of trained YC Hertfordshire youth workers.
We’re here to let all young lesbian, gay, bi and trans people – as well as those who are questioning – here and abroad, know they’re not alone. We want to empower all young people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to campaign for equality and fair treatment for LGBTQ people, and against discrimination.
We believe we’re stronger when we work together, so we partner with organisations that help us create real change for the better. We’re here to support those who can’t yet be themselves.
But our work is not yet finished. Not until everyone feels free to be who they are, wherever they are.
The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is a highly specialised clinic for young people presenting with difficulties with their gender identity. Our service was established in 1989.
We are commissioned by NHS England who set the service specifications for how we work.
Some people feel uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth whilst others are unhappy with the gender role that society requires. We help our clients to explore their feelings and choose the path that best suits their ideals.
We spend a lot of time engaging with clients to understand their thought processes and to help them manage any uncertainties they may have and be understood.
For adults presenting with difficulties with their gender identity, the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation Trust are the providers of the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).
020 8938 2030/1