If you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans (also called transgender) or you are unsure or questioning your gender identity or sexual orientation there is help and support available.
Some young people can feel confused and isolated, especially if you think you might be LGBTQ+. It can really help to talk to and meet other LGBTQ+ people and to other young people who are also exploring their gender identity or sexual orientation.
It can be helpful to think of sexual orientation and gender identity as being made up of three aspects:
- Sexual orientation – whether you are attracted to people who are the same-sex, the opposite sex or a different sex to you, or both
- Gender identity—a person’s inner sense of who they are, either male, female, some of each, or neither
- Sexual behaviour – what you do and who you do it with
Young people can and do experiment while they’re trying to work out their gender identity and / or their sexual orientation. For example you might have relationships with someone of the opposite sex because this is seen as the “normal” thing to do, when you are actually attracted to people of your own sex.
The ideal situation is for all three aspects (sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual behaviour) to match up – so you feel confident in who you are and able to express this to others. But it can be tough to get there and can affect your self-confidence.
Coming out is when someone tells someone else about their sexual orientation. Most of us are brought up to think that everyone is attracted to people of the opposite sex, known as heterosexual. For people who this is the case, they very rarely need to come out, as who they are attracted to matches what is seen as “normal”.
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people, however, have to make the choice to either hide how they feel (known as being closeted) or tell people they are attracted to people of the same gender or both genders (known as coming out). Lesbian, gay and bisexual people come out at all stages of their life and to varying degrees. For some people it will be essential for them to live fully as themselves, whereas for others it might be that they only come out to themselves or to close friends or family.
Remember, coming out is your choice and you should never feel pressured to tell people if you don’t feel ready. Coming out can be a lifelong process and only you can know when, where and who to tell.
Influencing social change to achieve a fairer and safer society. www.diversitytrust.org.uk/
Are you lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or questioning (LGBTQ)? Aged 13-19?
We have set up a dedicated website for the LGBTQ community in South Gloucestershire https://www.diversitytrust.org.uk/young-peoples-services/
You can also join our closed Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/LGBTQyate
You can find more LGBT+ groups in the Bristol Area on the Well Aware website.
TransUnite is a UK directory of support groups for gender-variant people: https://www.transunite.co.uk/
Depend: Free, confidential and non-judgemental advice, information and support to adults in the UK with a partner, friend or family member who is considering or undergoing transition or who has transitioned. www.depend.org.uk/
GIRES (Gender Identity Research and Education Society is a UK wide organisation whose purpose is to improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people of all ages, including those who are non-binary and non-gender. www.gires.org.uk
Switchboard – the LGBT+ helpline – a place for calm words when you need them most. We’re here to help you with whatever you want to talk about. Nothing is off limits, and we understand how anxious you might feel before you pick up the phone.
FFLAG – https://www.fflag.org.uk
Gendered Intelligence – http://genderedintelligence.co.uk
Kooth – Free, safe and anonymous online counselling support for young people aged 11-18yrs olds.