Joint Statement from Allsorts Youth Project & Brighton & Hove City Council.
We introduced our Toolkit in response to a city-wide assessment of trans people’s needs, and because our schools had asked us for guidance for working with trans, non-binary and gender-exploring students.
The Toolkit provides suggestions for how schools can support vulnerable students within a framework of whole-school approaches to anti-bullying – including sexist, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Individual schools choose whether they use these suggestions or not.
The feedback we’ve had from our schools and parents has been overwhelmingly positive. They say they’ve found it incredibly useful.
Given the outstanding legal challenge in relation to guidance to support trans students in other parts of the country, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further.
Allsorts Youth Project listens to, supports & connects children & young people between the ages of 5 and 25 years old, who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure (LGBTU) of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We provide a non-judgemental space for children and young people to feel heard, valued and safe.
We are a small charity offering support to people dealing with real life sensitive situations. We are not a lobby, campaigning or activist group or an organisation that has any say regarding the medical process when discussing transgender issues or concerns. Our approach is person-centred, meaning we are non-judgemental, non-directive (ie. we do not tell people what to do) and do not have an agenda in our work with children, young people or their families.
Media attention regarding the issue of gender identity and how our organisation operates is factually incorrect, misleading and distressing for service users, families and staff. As we head into our 20th year of operation, we are proud of the essential role we play in supporting children & young people who are exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation who need a supportive and safe environment to do so.
We have gained a solid and sustained reputation for working collaboratively with local authorities, schools and other aligned local and national voluntary organisations for our values, approach, expertise and innovation for 20 years.
We are very proud of the legacy we are creating to support a group of children and young people who are often at a crisis point in their lives, by creating the UK’s first primary aged kids group where children and their families can come together to explore and question their thoughts and feelings in a fun, safe, non-clinical setting.
The national conversation around transgender issues is wide and complex however our role as a small charity is purely to listen to and support children and young people exploring who they are, and facilitate peer support for parents.
Our comments on the following:
- We provide support and information on best practice relating to LGBT+ inclusion to schools and colleges and deliver age appropriate workshops to students and staff on LGBTU awareness.
- Our Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit offers information & guidance for schools to help them develop their approach to trans inclusion and support. It is co-authored with the Standards & Achievement team at Brighton and Hove City Council.
- The toolkit encourages trans inclusive practise to actively challenge gender stereotypes, gender roles, sexism and sexual bullying.
- The toolkit also offers guidance to professionals to increase their confidence to support & help trans and gender-exploring students whilst providing practical information and help to highlight areas to consider for development.
- Allsorts Youth Project works within the jurisdiction and framework of the Pan Sussex Child Protection & Safeguarding Procedures Manual and regard the safety & wellbeing of children as paramount.
- We work closely with safeguarding bodies, such as Front Door for Families, Adult Social Care, The Police and SafetyNet to ensure all safeguarding issues are reported and managed in the appropriate way.
Young person focused
- Allsorts offers a safe and non-judgemental space for all LGBTU children & young people. We meet the young people where they are at so that they feel listened to and heard.
- Our approach as a youth service is to work with children & young people in an age and developmentally appropriate way.
- We firmly believe that it is for the young person to discuss their feelings directly with their parents, guardians or carers when they feel happy, safe and comfortable to do so. We work with young people to explore how and when they will communicate their feelings to their parents, guardians or carers and help them to find necessary support networks should they need it.
- A child has the right to privacy until they feel ready to discuss these issues with their parents, guardians or carers, however we respect & acknowledge that in some situations it may not be in the child’s best interest to inform their parents/ carers.
- When working with children & young people our approach centres on enabling young people to express their views about the things that matter to them.
Engagement with other services
- There is overwhelming evidence that LGBTU children and young people are more likely to be victims of bullying and experience isolation.
- Our approach is to work in collaboration with other services to enable our service users to engage with our wider world and not just within LGBT+ specific spaces.
- Diversity and variance in gender identity and sexual orientation have existed throughout history and across the world for hundreds of years.
- LGBT+ identities are not a trend and are nothing new, even if the language used to describe LGBT identities has developed over time.
We will not be making any further comments or statement. Should you require any further information about the work we do, facts & stats, testimonials, FAQ's etc please download our media pack.