FAQs for Young People

These FAQs were most recently updated in September 2021

These FAQs are in two sections:
1. About Allsorts
2. About being LGBT+

We'd also recommend having a look at Stonewall's LGBT+ Glossary for a wide range of LGBT+ terminology

About Allsorts

What can I expect at Allsorts youth groups?
You can expect to meet new people, have opportunities to discuss what matters to you, learn new skills, have fun, and get involved in activities and workshops.The style of all of our youth groups are very similar. Most of the youth support team work across all our groups  so you will have an opportunity to get to know different youth support workers over time. Free veggie and vegan food will also be provided!

How many people come to groups?
The groups vary in size depending on which group you are coming to. In some sessions there may be 5 - 7 young people whilst in others there could be up to 25 young people. It really depends on the day however we will always plan sessions to suit the number of young people attending.

Do I have to come to every group?
The groups run after school time on a week day and you don’t need to come to every group, it is completely up to you if you want to attend once every now and again, or every time.

Where are Allsorts youth groups?
Our youth groups take place online via Zoom and in-person. The in-person groups currently run in Brighton, Horsham, Chichester and Worthing. We are hoping to expand our groups in areas in East Sussex.

How do I get involved in Allsorts? What does an initial meeting look like? Can I bring someone with me?
To get involved with Allsorts you will need to fill in the referral form on our website on the ‘make a referral’ button. Once you have done that independently or with support (for example a professional might make the referral for you or your parents/carer) an Allsorts Youth Support Worker will get in touch with you to arrange an initial meeting.

The meeting might take place on a Zoom video call or in-person depending on what is best for you.  In the meeting we will talk to you about confidentiality and ask you some questions about your identity, any support you might already have in place and what services you might like to access at Allsorts. You can ask us any questions too! It is absolutely fine for you to bring someone with you to this initial meeting such as a support worker, parent/carer or social worker.

Do parents/carers need to know we are accessing your services?
If you are under the age of 13 we will need consent from your parent/carer for you to access Allsorts youth groups and Talk it Out support services outside of a school setting. This means they will need to either fill out the referral form with or for you, or they will need to be aware that you are being referred to Allsorts.

If you are age 13+ and your parent/carer is not aware, we will talk through your reasons for accessing Allsorts without parent/carer awareness and see if this is something that would be important and beneficial to you. The decisions are made on a case by case basis and in collaboration with you.

Who can come to Allsorts?
Anyone based in Sussex from the age of 5 to 25 who is LGBT+ or exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity can come along to Allsorts. Many children and young people who come to Allsorts are not sure about who they are attracted to or what their gender identity is and it is really important to us that if you are exploring that you know you are welcome too!

We also know that some trans young people are straight and don’t feel connected to the LGB aspect of Allsorts but use our services for support relating to their gender identity.

What help will there be for me to settle in?
Quite often young people feel anxious about attending a new group with other young people. However, Allsorts staff and volunteers have lots of experience helping new young people relax and settle into our groups.  

What are the online groups like? Is it okay to have the camera/mic off in online groups?
Our online groups are shorter in time than in-person groups and there young people from all over Sussex attend. We encourage you to have your camera and mic on in groups but we know for some young people this is not possible for various reasons. Some young people opt to use the chat function on Zoom and this is a great way to build confidence in interacting in the groups.

What if I find the topic/theme of a group challenging?
Groups are a place for you to make friends, have fun, connect with the LGBT+ community, explore your identity and participate in workshops and activities. We plan activities and workshops (either delivered by Allsorts staff or visitors) with you in mind. On occasion, we will cover topics including (but not limited to) sexual health, hate crime, mental health, relationships and identity.

At times, you might feel like it is difficult to participate in a particular workshop or activity. We encourage all young people to give it a go as we pride ourselves on creating a safe and supportive environment to talk about challenging topics. If you do find that a topic is too tricky for you to engage with, it is your responsibility to make that decision and decide if you would like to leave the group early or access another activity during the group if there is one available. We know it is important to provide spaces for open and honest discussions, to learn together and to feel safe and comfortable to challenge each other. We won't shy away from tricky conversations and we will support you through these discussions, topics and themes.

Am I protected from other people finding out about me being a part of Allsorts?
When we meet you in our initial meeting we talk about confidentiality and how this is an important part of accessing Allsorts. We ask that young people make a commitment to following our confidentiality agreement and not sharing with others outside of Allsorts who they have met at our youth groups. It is important for us to recognise that whilst all young people commit to this in order to attend groups, it is beyond our control to completely manage this outside of Allsorts group spaces. Staff and volunteers at Allsorts will not share with anyone else that you are attending our services unless we need to in order to keep you or somebody else safe.

Can I use a different name/pronoun with you?
Yes, many young people use coming to Allsorts as an opportunity to try a new name & pronoun and this is completely fine for you to do. We will be led by you if you would like us to change the name and/or pronoun we are using for you and continue to follow your lead if it changes over time.

What ways can Allsorts support me outside of youth groups?
Allsorts offers lots of different services that you might be interested in alongside the youth groups, including;

How long has Allsorts been around?
Allsorts Youth Project was co-founded by Jess Wood MBE and James Newton in 1999. To learn more about how Allsorts has developed over the years, you can visit the ‘Our Journey’ page.

Who works at Allsorts Youth Project?
All of our staff and volunteers are LGBT+ and our trustees are made up of LGBT+ people, parents with LGBT+ children and LGBT+ allies from the wider community with a particular skill or expertise that benefits our project. Importantly, everyone that works or volunteers with our children and young people undergoes a Police check (DBS), receives regular training, including safeguarding training, and follows our safeguarding procedures at all times.

Is Allsorts a mental health service and do you offer counselling?
Allsorts Youth Project is not a mental health service and we do not offer counselling but we do provide short term one-to-one support through our ‘Talk it Out’ sessions, where young people can explore their gender identity and/or sexual orientation as well as their social and emotional 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.  

If you are a young person and have any questions that have not been answered here, you can get in touch with us at youth@allsortsyouth.org.uk, and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

About being LGBT+

What does LGBT+ mean?
LGBT+ is an initialism of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans, and the ‘+’ (plus) covers the many other ways people might use to refer to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. There are many variations of this initialism you may have heard of, such as LGBTQIA+.

Allsorts Youth Project uses ‘LGBT+ and exploring’ as it reflects the language used by the children, young people and families that are a part of our service. Many of the young people coming to Allsorts don’t identify with a specific word to describe their sexual orientation and/or gender identity because they haven’t found the right “fit” yet, or are simply exploring. If a young person is in that position, we believe it’s important for them to have access to a supportive space like Allsorts to hear about other people’s experiences, have yours heard, and feel free to explore your identity.

Of course, not everyone that is part of our diverse community uses language to describe their identity that features in the LGBT+ 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, some people who are genderfluid, bi-gender or genderflux might also identify with non-binary as an umbrella term for someone who’s gender is neither male/man/boy or female/woman/girl.

Some people may choose not to use any particular label for their identity at all - there is no expectation to use labels 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, exploring or any other associated identity), you can find lots of youth groups, clubs and activities happening in Sussex that are inclusive of young people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

I’m not sure if I am LGBT+, but am starting to understand or realise I might be, can I still come to Allsorts?
Yes, absolutely! We welcome children and young people that might be exploring or developing an understanding of their sexual orientation and/or gender and think maybe they are LGBT+ but are not yet sure or certain.This process of exploring sexual orientation and gender identity is common, healthy and typical for many young people, but sometimes it can be challenging. Allsorts supports young people to explore any challenges 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 LGBT+ identity, but we do our best to support them with these issues too and refer young people to specialist services (such as drug and alcohol, sexual health, mental health, or housing support 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 lots of new and different ways that people describe their sexual orientation and gender identity - why is that?
Diversity and variance in gender identity and sexual orientation have existed in history and across the world for thousands of years.

LGBT+ identities are not a trend and are nothing new, even if the language and concepts we use to describe and understand LGBT+ identities has 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:2017 Citizenship, PSHE and Law (page 10)

I don’t follow gender stereotypes. Does this mean that I am LGBT+?
No. Gender stereotypes are traditional norms of looking or behaving in a way that is associated with being male or female and are not linked to sexual orientation or gender identity. Most people break gender stereotypes in some way, from men wearing make-up to women playing rugby, from girls playing with cars and boys doing ballet.

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

There are also stereotypes about LGBT+ 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 exist on a spectrum, and every person’s experience of gender and/or sexual orientation will vary.

What is a pronoun and why are they important?
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 commonly understood to be gendered, they can be especially important to trans and non-binary 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 their name until you can check with the person what language is best for you to use.

I am trans and want to medically transition. Can you help?
Our role is to support, listen to and connect children and young people, regardless of what stage they have reached in exploring their identity. We connect them with LGBT+ peers in youth groups, provide a professional listening ear through one-to-one support with LGBT+ Youth Support Workers and support their development as young people by providing fun, educational and inspiring workshops and activities.

It is not our role as an organisation to administer or encourage any kind of medical transition, assessment, 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 for medical transition.

Does being LGBT+ mean that I can’t practice my faith?
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 Allsorts of Faith resource.

Stonewall has 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?
No. Families come in all shapes and sizes and the parent/s might be LGBT+ or straight and cisgender. There are many different ways to have a family as an LGBT+ person which might include fostering, adoption or IVF. Not only that, but there are lots of single parents and foster carers who choose to have a child by themselves.

Family life and the care-givers of children has changed a lot in recent years and there are lots of ways you could have a family if that is something you choose to do.

The Different Families, Same Love campaign by Stonewall is an excellent example of teaching children about various home dynamics.

I am thinking of coming out as LGBT+, but not quite sure how to do this, can you help?
Yes we can. Our one-to-one support is a great place to talk through any thoughts and feelings you have about coming out. We have also produced a great resource all about coming out and you can find that on our resources page.

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 into our service, helping us to continue our vital work. Remember that supporting LGBT+ students supports all students.

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

I am experiencing harassment/bullying/hate crime. Can you help?
If you would like to talk to Allsorts about bullying you may be experiencing, we are here to listen and support in one-to-one support sessions. We can help you talk to those concerned (school, work, university etc) as well as support you with reporting if needed. We will also keep you connected with a community of LGBT+ young people who may have experienced similar challenges.

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

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

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*

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.