All of our projects follow our equality and diversity guides, which set out the ways we expect teams to promote equality and diversity in their day-to-day work and planning.

Diversity and understanding is supported by ongoing learning and development opportunities. We raise awareness of issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity.

We run LGBT+ conferences for our staff and service users, encourage dialogue, interaction, discussion and debate. We also provide resources, materials and advice to all our staff and project users when necessary.

Halton Youth Service, Cheshire

We make sure all staff are trained to be able to support LGBT+ young people. The service has a dedicated weekly LGBT+ youth group, where young people can access specific support and activities.

Halton Youth Service's Operations Manager and Director for LGBT+ Youth North West, Sally Carr said: "We regularly celebrate LGBT+ events throughout the year and we train LGBT+ young people to deliver workshops in youth provisions and schools, and at major events such as the Halton anti-bullying conference. We are active members of the borough's LGBT+ planning group, and have set up our 11 youth clubs as third-party hate crime reporting centres, including training our staff to support young people to make reports, if necessary."

Mermaids joint creative project

We developed a partnership with Mermaids to help provide a voice to children, young people and families living with gender identity and transgender issues. The first element of that partnership saw us produce “Where do the mermaids stand?” an anthology of poetry, prose and artwork developed by children, young people and parents.

We also produced a good practice guide, developed and produced alongside a number of children, young people and families and informed by the expertise of Mermaids and other key support groups and organisations.

Adoption services, Kent

Anne and Karen, a lesbian couple:

"Action for Children welcomed us straight away. We had home visits, visits with friends and relatives, and a three-day training course where we met other couples hoping to adopt. The whole experience was great and we made friends with other prospective adopters.

"As teachers, we were interested in adopting one or two boys with more challenging behaviour, especially those that were slightly older as these are often harder to place. We had mixed experiences with social workers at this stage. Some showed intolerance or negativity due to our gender or sexual orientation. Eventually, though, the social workers of two boys contacted Action for Children enquiring about us. When they visited it was immediately apparent that they were seriously interested in us as prospective parents.

"We spent two weeks getting to know the boys and at the end of the two weeks they came to live with us. This was the end of what, at times, had seemed like an impossible task, but the beginning of what has been an amazing journey for all of us.

"Action for Children were hugely supportive and we will always be grateful to them. We would also like to encourage anyone seriously interested in becoming adoptive parents to persevere - it will at times seem like a long, drawn-out process but one that is so definitely worth it."

LGBT+ Young People

Young people can often find it difficult to reveal their sexual orientation to friends, family and colleagues. It is important that they feel supported and given good advice by staff and volunteers.

"I feel that it is important because, when you come out at a young age, you’re likely to get bullied and disowned by your friends and maybe even your family. To have that support lifts a lot of stress of the young person and it can also make them feel more happy and confident about themselves."

Alex, 18

It is essential that all Action for Children’s services are inclusive for LGBT+ young people and that every setting provides a safe environment for young people to be themselves and not feel at risk of bullying or harassment. All services should have accessible information for LGBT+ young people and create an environment that values and respects everyone for who they are what they bring to the setting.

Top tips for creating an inclusive service for LGBT+ young people:

  • Tackle homophobia immediately. Take a zero tolerance approach
  • Ensure that all staff are familiar with LGBT+ definitions so that they are able to provide the appropriate support
  • Display positive LGBT+ images within the service setting
  • Have a movie night and show a Stonewall film followed by a discussion of
    what the young people have observed in the film
  • Ensure all staff do not assume all young people are heterosexual
  • Undertake sexuality monitoring of the young people who access your service. Ensure this communicated as being confidential

Other useful websites

Mermaids - Support and information for UK-based, gender-variant children and teens, their families and friends.

LGBT Youth Scotland - Scotland's largest youth and community-based LGBT+ organisation.

LGBT Youth North West - Supporting LGBT+ young people and LGBT+ youth organisations in the North West of England.

Young Women's Peer Health Project - Working to improve young lesbian and bisexual women's health.

NHS Gender Identity Development Service - A specialised clinic for young people presenting with difficulties with their gender identity, with helpful guidance for young people, and for parents and carers.

Further help and support from Stonewall

If you need support or advice you can call Stonewall on 08000 502 020 or Childline on 0800 11 11.