Am I lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans?
This is a question that in the end only you can answer.
Lots of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans will tell you that they knew from when they were very young but for some people it’s not so clear cut.
One of the main things to realise is that it is OK to be unsure about how you feel.
Being gay or lesbian means you are attracted to and/or may have sexual feelings for people of the same sex as yourself. If you are bisexual you may have these feelings for members of either sex. You may have same sex encounters or relationships whilst you explore your sexuality, but this does not mean that you are definitely gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight. Being trans means that your gender (how you feel about being a boy, girl, neither or both) doesn’t match with your assigned sex at birth or with the gender roles that society expects people to follow. Trans people can also identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, straight (or any other sexual orientation).
Similarly if you have ever had same sex experiences that were against your will or if you have had dreams, or fantasies about members of the same sex or about being the opposite sex this does not necessarily mean that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans. You might feel that you’re the only one questioning your sexuality or gender identity but be reassured that there are people all over the world feeling the same way as you.
A good place to start might be to attend a LGBT youth group or joining the LGBT society at university, both are great places to talk to people about how you're feeling and your experiences, meet new friends and get involved in the LGBT community. These spaces can offer knowledge, support and a wealth of experience and diversity within the LGBT community.
If you don’t feel ready or able to attend a group but would like to talk to someone about how you’re feeling you could contact our helpline 0845 3 30 30 30 between the hours of 10am and 10pm Monday – Saturday and on a Sunday 10am - 8pm.
Telling people about your sexuality and/or gender identity is called coming out.
You don’t have to tell anyone that you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans if you don’t want to.
Coming out is a very personal journey for each individual, some will tell people straight away, others will tell people in stages as they go along and others may not tell anyone at all. There should be no pressure to tell people and it’s important to set a pace or goals that are practical for you.
Coming out isn’t something that everyone has to do but many people do feel much happier when they’re able to be honest about who they are.
Making a plan or taking your journey in steps can be a good start. This will enable you to prepare for people’s reactions and most importantly to prepare yourself too!
A good idea is to start by telling someone you really trust, and who you know will be supportive. It might also be helpful to get an idea about people’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender before you talk to them. Referring to LGBT celebrities or characters in programmes may be a way to gage someone’s opinions.
Lots of people that you tell will be really positive and will be proud of you for telling them, they might even be flattered that you trust them enough to tell them. Sadly not everyone will be so positive and supportive. You should be prepared for some negative reactions and understand that this may be a difficult thing for some people to understand or come to terms with but hopefully something that given some time, people will come round to understanding and accepting.
Ultimately there is no right or wrong way to come out. The important thing is to do it the way you want to and the way you feel comfortable.
Some people find it helpful to read around and listen to other people’s stories and experiences. There are lots of resources available on the web, we have compiled a list of some of the ones we found most useful below:
To view The LGF coming out resource and tips click here
LGBT youth north west
Coming Out animations
Youth trans group Afternoon Tea have create a Trans Guide
GI have lots of helpful trans resources created by young people
LGBT youth Scotland
LGBT Youth Scotland have produced two coming out guides for LGB and trans young people
Stonewall have a comic style guide answering some of the most commonly asked questions about coming out.
- RU Coming Out is a website where people share their coming out stories. Lots of well known celebrities have also contributed their stories to the site!