Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
Are you feeling attracted to people of the same sex as you? Do you feel differently from the way people expect people of your sex to feel? Everyone discovers their own sexual orientation at different stages of their lives, but adolescence is often the time when we are developing our self awareness. Some people may find that they are physically and emotionally attracted to people of the same sex, or to both sexes. Some people feel differently about their bodies to the way other people may expect them to, for example a boy with male genitals may feel emotionally like a girl.
You may feel worried and concerned that you feel different to your peers, or you may just have some questions and are not sure who to talk to. You may not know anyone else who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender that you could talk to and ask for help. This can be a lonely, confusing and isolating time. Please remember that your feelings are quite natural and many people share your experiences. Support services and helplines are available which are run by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people who understand how you feel and live happy and fulfilling lives. See the resources below for details.
In many parts of the world millions of GLBT people live openly alongside heterosexual people with laws that ensure they have equal rights, are treated with respect and are protected against acts of violence. Unfortunately, in some countries or communities being GLBT is illegal or considered wrong, due to prejudice, religious or cultural beliefs, and this can cause great distress to the individual.
If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you may find it helpful to talk to someone about your feelings. This can be particularly helpful for young GLBT people, and for people who are isolated and do not have GLBT friends.
If you need to talk to someone, please use our need to talk pages. Trained Befrienders are there to listen to your problems, questions or concerns, whatever they are, in a caring and non-judgemental way. You can speak to them anonymously and in complete confidence.
The following links are selected resources on the internet that provide information about sexual orientation. If you need help or support, please click on the link marked "I need help".
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBT) Youth
International Helplines Directory
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Unsure
American Psychological Association - Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation
Portrait of a son's suicide
Fflag: Families and Friends of GLBT people
Living in the UK as an LGBT student
Polari: Support for Older GLBT people
Useful resources collected by Gaby Clayton
GLBT National Helpline Center (US) - Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queers - An encyclopedia of glbt culture
LGBTQ Friendly Colleges & Student Resources (American)