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What does being lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender mean?

Simply, being gay or lesbian means being emotionally and/or physically attracted to members of your own sex. Being bisexual means you have these feelings for both sexes.

Nobody knows for sure why some people are lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual (straight), scientific evidence suggests that sexuality may be determined by genetic factors, but one thing we know is that few people choose their sexuality. Many gay, lesbian and bisexual people have said they felt ‘different’ from a very young age.

Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate.

Gender identity is a person's internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or someone outside of that gender binary).

For transgender people, the sex they were assigned at birth and their own internal gender identity do not match.

Remember you are not alone, even though it may feel that way sometimes.

This means realising and accepting that you are attracted to people of the same sex as yourself or that you are a different gender to the gender you were born as. Realising is the first stage of ‘coming out’, self acceptance can take a long time. With time you will probably realise that this isn’t a phase, no one knows when this time may be, for some it happens as teenagers, for others it happens later on in life. When you reach this point you may decide you want to ‘come out’ to other people, here are a few things to think about before you ‘come out’.

Good things about coming out:

  • less stress – you don’t have to hide things
  • you can be yourself around your family and friends
  • it might bring you closer to your family and friends
  • it can bring new friends that can be relaxed around you

Not so good things:

  • more stress if people react badly
  • some people might not like you being honest
  • some people might not want to be close to you
  • you can never be totally sure how people might react

You wont ‘come out’ just once in your life it is a process that will happen over and over again, like when you get a new job and meet new people. The good news is it gets easier.


Need advice, support or information on this topic?

You can always talk to a Youth Support Worker: