How we help

What we do

Allsorts Youth Project listens to, supports & connects children & young people under 26 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure (LGBTU) of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

We aim to improve the lives of LGBTU young people via a two pronged approach;

Allsorts Youth Project listens to, supports & connects children & young people under 26 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure (LGBTU) of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

We aim to improve the lives of LGBTU young people via a two pronged approach;

1. Providing specialist youth services to children & young people from the ages
of 5-25 who are LGBTU

2. Training the wider community and professionals so all spaces can be better LGBTU safe spaces.

Young LGBTU people deserve to feel safe and thrive at home, at school and in their communities.

There are a number of ways that we support young people:

  • We facilitate age-appropriate workshops and activities that are fun, interactive and often aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
  • Provide safe spaces for young people to develop friendships with their peers.
  • Through our advocacy service, we support young people who are 16+ to understand their rights should they ever face discrimination or issues as a result of their LGBTU identity.
  • Support young people to feel more at ease with their gender identity, sexual orientation or where they are at on their journey of exploring who they are.
  • Provide specialist LGBTU youth support and education in schools, colleges and other youth settings, with the aim to positively promote LGBTU awareness and inclusion.
  • Support young people to engage with mainstream services that range from careers advice to counselling and more.
  • Provide young people with positive LGBT role models of varying ages, ethnicities, faiths, backgrounds, and abilities. This develops cross-generational understanding and a better sense of community history and diverse representation.
  • Offering positive engagement and support to parents and carers.
  • Celebrate diversity in all its forms including ethnicity, background, faith and ability.

FAQ's

How long has Allsorts been around?

Allsorts Youth Project was co-founded by Jess Wood and James Newton in 1999 and Jess continues to lead the project to this day. To learn more about how Allsorts has developed over the years, please click here.

Who works at Allsorts Youth Project?

All of our staff and volunteers identify as LGBT and our trustees are made up of LGBT people, parents with LGBT children and allies from the wider community with a particular skill or interest that benefits our service. Importantly, everyone that works or volunteers with our children and young people are DBS checked, receive regular safeguarding training and follow our safeguarding procedures at all times. If you would like to learn more about our team, click here.

Why do LGBTU young people need a specialist service?

There is overwhelming evidence that LGBTU children and young people are more likely to be victims of bullying in educational settings, at home and in their communities compared to their non-LGBTU peers.

At Allsorts, we believe that providing a LGBTU safer space, as well as positive role modelling and targeted, issue based support goes a long way to improving the lives of our young people. LGBT young people are also more likely to experience mental health issues, unstable housing, substance abuse problems and a lack of LGBT inclusive Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) - all of which are explored within age-appropriate activities and workshops during our group sessions.

We also actively encourage dialogue between Allsorts young people and other non-LGBT specific services and develop their own support and social networks. As an organisation, we avoid working in isolation to enable our service users to engage with our wider world, not just within LGBT specific spaces, however feedback shows that building confidence and life skills in a LGBT safer space is an important part of this process.

For more information on these issues, please follow the links below:
Stonewall School’s Report, 2017
Albert Kennedy Trust
London Friend

 What does LGBTU mean?

LGBTU is an initialism of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and unsure. There are many variations of this abbreviation, such as LGBT+ and LGBTQIA.

Allsorts Youth Project use ‘LGBTU’ as it reflects the language used by the children, young people and families that are a part of our service. We also believe that LGBT is the most universally recognised term to describe our community and we want to be as clear and accessible to potential new members and anyone else that needs our support or information.

Of course, not everyone that is part of our diverse community uses language to describe their identity that features in the LGBTU initialism, but we are absolutely inclusive of those identities. It is also important to know that many terms are commonly used as umbrella terms, for example, the term trans also can also refer to non-binary identities and the term bisexual can refer to pansexual people too.

Some people may choose not to use any particular label for their identity at all - there is no expectation to use labels at here at Allsorts and we always follow the lead of our service users.

For young people that are heterosexual/straight and cisgender (meaning they are not lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, unsure or any other associated identity), you can find lots of youth groups, clubs and activities happening in Brighton and Hove that are inclusive of young people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Here are some examples:
Brighton Youth Centre
The Young People’s Centre
The Crew Club

 I’m not sure if I am LGBT. Can I still come to Allsorts?

Yes, absolutely! We include U in our LGBTU initialism to highlight that we welcome children and young people that might be having questions about their gender or sexual orientation.

This process of self-exploration is completely common, healthy and normal, but sometimes it can be challenging. Allsorts supports young people with any discomfort or distress that they might experience during this time, as well as facilitating service users to make connections with peers that they can relate to.

Many of our young people face difficulties that are not directly linked with their LGBTU identity, but we do our best to support with these issues too and refer young people to specialist services (such as drug and alcohol, sexual health or mental health services) when required.

We want all children and young people to feel safe and able to express themselves in our spaces and beyond, no matter the array of issues that life may bring.

I have heard that LGBT identities are a ‘new thing’. Is this true?

Diversity and variance in gender identity and sexual orientation have existed in history and across the world for hundreds of years.

LGBT identities are not a trend and is nothing new, even if the language to describe LGBT identities have developed over time.

For more information on LGBT experiences across history, please follow the links below to LGBT History month education packs made by our friends at The Proud Trust, Manchester:

2018 Geography: Mapping Our World (page 22)

2017 Citizenship, PSHE and Law (page 10)

Is it right to be discussing sexual orientation and gender with children and young people? Won’t that influence them?

Everything that we do from delivering workshops to facilitating guests, in and outside of our space, is age appropriate.  We don’t believe that there’s an age limit for young people to explore who they are and that it’s important that young people feel listened to.

Allsorts, our staff and volunteers have no desire to lead young people to question their sexual orientation and/or gender identity - we know that young people will do this anyway!

What we aim to do is support children and young people to feel more at ease with where they are on their journey of self-discovery, no matter if they are sure that they are LGBT or not.  

Our work is not limited to children and young people that are LGBTU, we also facilitate workshops on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, colleges and youth settings.

There is strong evidence that shows LGBTU children and young people are vulnerable to bullying, and we feel that positive education is key in making our world a safer place for everyone. For more information on LGBT bullying in schools, click here to read Stonewall Schools Report, 2017.

My child/ a young person I know has come out as LGBT.
Is this a phase?

It might be! Who knows?

But what the important thing to remember is to make sure that the young person is listened to and accepted, no matter where they are on their journey of self-discovery, regardless of whether their identity changes in the future or not.

What that young person will remember is that their family, school, friends and community supported them through a time that may have been challenging for them.

Some people may think that coming out is an attention seeking behaviour however our young people describe experiencing the coming out process as enabling them to be able to live without the pressure of hiding who they are.

Don’t forget, there is no conclusive science as to why people are LGBTU. What we do know is that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are not a result of positive or negative experiences, are not a conscious choice that a person can make and also can’t be changed. With this in mind, it is important that children and young people feel able to express themselves freely, openly and be supported in doing so.

Allsorts have produced free resources and guides on supporting LGBTU children and young people as a professional, being the parent or carer of a trans or gender exploring child as well as others.

Visit our resources page to find out more.

I don’t/ my child doesn’t follow gender stereotypes.
Does this mean that I am/ they are LGBTU?

No. Gender stereotypes are traditional norms of looking or behaving that is associated with being male or female and is not linked to sexual orientation or gender identity. Most people break gender stereotypes in some way, from men being involved in family life to women playing rugby from young girls playing with cars and young boys doing ballet.

At Allsorts, we celebrate diversity and individuality without making assumptions about whether someone is LGBTU. After all, everyone is impacted by gender stereotypes no matter if they are LGBTU or not.

There are also stereotypes about LGBTU people, for example, that all gay men are feminine and all lesbians are masculine. This is not the case and the Allsorts community reflects the many ways children, young people and adults feel comfortable to express themselves. Gender identity, gender expression, sex and sexual orientation all exists on a spectrum and the info-graphic below many help to explain this further.

What is a pronoun?

A pronoun is a word in a sentence that takes the place of a noun. Examples of a pronoun are ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’.

Since pronouns are often gendered, they can be especially important to trans young people. It can be very uncomfortable to be referred to by the wrong pronoun and can be experienced as a challenge to a person’s gender identity, no matter if they are trans or not.

If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun for someone, correcting yourself and moving on with the conversation is generally the best thing to do - mistakes can happen! If you aren’t sure what pronoun to use for someone, it’s okay to ask, but think about whether you should ask in private or not. If in doubt, use the pronoun “they” as its gender neutral, until you can check with the person what language is best for you to use.

The Oxford Dictionary says this about the singular use of ‘they’:
“The word they (with its counterparts them, their, and themselves) as a singular pronoun to refer to a person of unspecified gender has been used since at least the 16th century. In the late 20th century, as the traditional use of he to refer to a person of either gender came under scrutiny on the grounds of sexism, this use of they became more common.… In a more recent development, they is now being used to refer to specific individuals (as in Alex is bringing their laptop). Like the gender-neutral honorific Mx, the singular they is preferred by some individuals who identify as neither male nor female.”

I am/ my child is trans and wants to medically transition. Can you help?

It is not our role as an organisation to administer or encourage any kind of medical transition, treatment, decision making or course of action regarding care.

What we will always try to do is offer appropriate and accurate information about reliable specialist treatment services when we can, but please note that we are not part of a referral pathway.

Considering medical transition can be an emotional time for a trans person and their family. If you are looking for emotional support, please get in touch with us via our contact page and click the button that best describes your age or enquiry.

I have heard that trans children are reassigning their sex, is this true?

In short, no, this is not true.

The only medical treatment for under 16s available in the UK are hormone blockers, with the number of children receiving them being very low.

All treatment provided to under 18s by the NHS or by private medical professionals is closely monitored and tightly regulated.

Gender reassignment surgery of any type is not permitted for under 18s and there is a rigorous medical pathway for trans adults to receive NHS care to change their bodies.

Hormone blockers are used to pause puberty for young people who identify as trans or are exploring their gender identity, preventing irreversible physical changes associated with a persons assigned sex and reducing the need for certain gender specific medical treatment in the future.

Hormone blockers are considered to be completely harmless when properly monitored and, if stopped, the body will resume puberty as normal. The only NHS clinic that supports trans or gender questioning under 18s is The Tavistock and Portman Clinic in London, which reports that only about 20% of children that use their services go on to identify as trans as adults, which highlights the need for trans or gender questioning children to be given the time and space to explore their identities.

Click here for more information on services provided by the Tavistock and Portman clinic.

Please note that usually GPs are required to refer children to the Gender Identity Development Services (GIDS).

I don’t want to medically transition (change my sex), does this mean that I’m not trans?

Whether or not a trans person chooses to pursue medical transition is a significant, life changing decision and there may be many reasons why someone may feel that it is right or not-right for them.

Reasons not to medically transition could include not wanting to engage with a lengthy NHS process, current medical conditions preventing treatment or simply being happy with their body as it is!

In our experience, the changes that are non-physical, such as legal name change, using different pronouns and access to appropriate toilets, are the most important to children and young people and is known as social transition. All of the changes associated with social transition are not permanent and can be reversed at any time. Allsorts emphasises that a person’s gender identity is valid regardless of physical status or social transition and should be respected.

For more information on coping with gender dysphoria or supporting a trans or gender questioning child or young person, view the toolkits and guides we have created on our resources page.

Does being LGBTU/ my child being LGBTU mean that I can’t practice my faith?

Many people still view being LGBTU and part of a faith group as dichotomies (polar opposites) but we know that this isn’t the case. Every person’s relationship with their faith and beliefs is their own and members of the Allsorts community represent many different viewpoints and celebrating this diversity is a core value of our service. If you are interested in learning more from our young people and community regarding faith, please take a look at our stories page.

Stonewall have also produced a guide for tackling homophobia in faith schools which you can view here.

Does being LGBT mean that I can’t have a family?

Family life and the care-givers of children have diversified in recent years beyond the assumption that all children live with their Mum and Dad. The Different Families, Same Love campaign by Stonewall is an excellent example of teaching children about various home dynamics.

Fostering, adoption and IVF are all options for bringing children in to a family, regardless of the care givers gender identity or sexual orientation.

To read a blog post by Jo, an Allsorts LGBT youth support worker, about being a lesbian parent of two young children, click here.

To see the campaign from Stonewall click here.

Why do some LGBT people wait until adulthood to come out?

There isn’t much research available around LGBTU people coming out later in life, but we do know that there are many factors that play a part in creating a safe environment for people to be able to be themselves. The need to ‘come out’ (meaning telling others) as LGBT is born from the assumption that all people are attracted to people of the opposite gender and are happy with their sex assigned at birth (are not LGBT).

The amount of LGBT people in the UK is not entirely clear and the Office for National Statistics report that is it 1.5% and Stonewall estimating it at 5-7%, but regardless of being a minority, LGBT identities are real and valid.

Cultural background, bullying, internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia and stereotyping can all play a part in LGBTU people not feeling safe to be open about who they are. Many people experience a shift in their sexual attraction or gender identity at different points in their life too.

Everyone’s personal journeys are unique and there is no right or wrong way to feel!

For more information on LGBT adults, click here for some research  by Stonewall.

If you are a LGBTU adult looking for support, please click here to access the directory created by the LGBT consortium or searching online for LGBT groups in your area.

Is Allsorts Youth Project a campaigning/ political group?

Allsorts Youth Project is not a campaigning group, but we do support our young people to raise awareness of issues that matter to them.

We also use the Equality Act (2010), the law and best practice guidelines from organisations like Ofsted and the NHS to inform our own ways of working and our training for professionals.

We share anonymised statistics and data about our young people with relevant services, such as the police and the Government Equality Office to help inform change in legislation that leads to better protection for LGBTU young people from discrimination and bullying.

As a LGBTU youth service and charity, we exist in a political climate as our organisation and service users are impacted by decisions made by the government, but we aren’t aligned with any political party. We believe that all people, no matter their personal politics, should want equality and acceptance for LGBTU children and young people.

What support do you offer schools and colleges?

Allsorts delivers workshops for students and staff, addressing issues particular to the setting wherever possible. We also provide support and information on best practice to schools and colleges over the phone and via email if we aren’t able to get to them in person.

Our training and workshops come with a fee, but any profits go right back in to our service, helping us to continue our vital work.

Remember that supporting LGBTU students supports all students.

For more information about what we can offer, visit our Education & Training page or get in touch with us via our contact page. To view and download our LGBT inclusion resources, including our ground-breaking Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit, visit our Toolkits, Booklets and Guides page.

What support do you offer to businesses or adult services?

We currently offer bespoke training and support for businesses and adult services on a case by case basis. Visit our Education & Training page for more information or get in touch with us via our contact page.

I am experiencing harassment/bullying/ hate crime. Can you help?

If you are under 26 and would like to access Allsorts Youth Project for help, please get in touch via the contact us page.

If you are over 26 (or 18+) and are looking for support, advice or guidance, you can contact one of the following organisations:

LGBT Community Safety Forum
MindOut
LGBT Switchboard

To report a crime, anyone of any age can contact Crime Stoppers or call anonymously on 0800 555 111

Non-Emergency Police line is 101

*If you or someone else is in immediate danger, always call 999*

Is Allsorts a mental health service?

Allsorts Youth Project is not a mental health service but we do offer short term one-to-one emotional support through our ‘Talk it Out’ sessions, where young people can explore their gender identity and/or sexual orientation as well as their wellbeing with one of our experienced youth support workers.

We always encourage young people to speak to their GP, access mainstream mental health teams, such as CAMHS (under 18s) or adult mental health services (18+) if they are experiencing emotional distress. For more information visit our Talk it Out page.

Allsorts Youth Project is not a crisis service, but if you are a young person and you find yourself in crisis, please click here for a list of organisations that you can contact.  

How can I help Allsorts?

As a busy and dynamic charity that supports hundreds of LGBTU children, young people and families a year, we are grateful to those who want to contribute to our vision of a world where LGBTU children and young people are free to thrive.

There’s lots of ways to contribute to Allsorts Youth Project:  

If you are a business, you can donate food, equipment or services.
Fundraise for us! 
Donate to us
Volunteer for us
Become a trustee

Allsorts Youth Project Ltd © is registered charity in England & Wales and regulated by the Charity Commission under number 1123014 and a Company Limited by Guarantee under number 04154118. Registered office address: 69 Ship Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1AE.