What is LGBTQ?
LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.
Sexuality and sexual orientation is all about who you have sexual feelings for
- People who only fancy people of the same sex are gay or homosexual. Being gay is perfectly normal and acceptable.
- Women who fancy women can also be called lesbians. Being a lesbian is perfectly normal and acceptable.
- People who are attracted to both sexes are bisexual. Being bisexual is perfectly normal and acceptable.
- People who are transgender may have the genitals of one sex but a gender identity associated with the other. Being transgender is perfectly normal and acceptable.
- People who only fancy people of the opposite sex are heterosexual or straight. Being straight is perfectly normal and acceptable.
As a teenager, sexual feelings can be very intense and can change quite frequently. You might find this confusing and exciting. Just take things at your own pace. You might want to talk to someone. Don’t feel you have to be in a hurry, explore and enjoy at your own pace, your sexual orientation will develop over time.
There are some people who might tell you that being transgender, lesbian, bisexual or gay is wrong, unnatural or unacceptable. Hearing these things can be distressing and this can sometimes make it harder to understand and come to terms with your sexuality. If you are worried about this, people in your position often find it helpful to talk to supportive and friendly people about this. You will find suggestions of who to talk to below. It is often reassuring to know you are not the only one feeling how you are feeling.
Sexual health and gay and bisexual men
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk from STIs if they have unprotected sex. Young gay and bisexual men are the group at greatest risk of getting infected with HIV in the UK and they are also at increased risk from other STIs.
Sexual health and lesbian women
Even if you only have sex with other women you can still become infected with an STI – remember any sexually active person who has unprotected sex is at risk. If you’re going to be in contact with your partner’s vaginal fluids, protect yourself by using a dental dam. This is a very thin sheet of latex that you can stretch over your partner’s vulva and then lick or suck through so that you reduce the risk of an STI infection.
Realising and accepting that you are mainly attracted to people of the same sex as you is the first of several stages of coming out. For many people, accepting that they are gay or lesbian can take longer. Coming out at any age can be a challenging but also an amazing experience. However if you’re a teenage living with your family there are probably a few particular issues you need to think about. Ask yourself:
- Will coming out threaten my situation at home?
- Will I be safe? Is it physically and emotionally safe for me to come out to my parents?
- If coming out changes my situation at home, do I have other support and the emotional and financial resources to keep me safe?
To read more about coming out see the Turing Network resources database provided by London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard. (previously known as Queery)
For any sexuality related query or issue you can speak to an LGBT community advisor at the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (daily 10am -11pm. The rate is the same as for local calls, even from mobiles, and the number is included in both landline and mobile bundles.) or see www.llgs.org.uk
For local support and an LGBT youth club contact LMO youth group: www.shoutyouthgroup.org.uk
The Bridge is open to all LGBT young people between the ages of 14 -19yrs (under 25yrs with additional needs). The Bridge is a Croydon based Youth Group. Email: email@example.com; Tel: 07540 722 171 for further details.
Download The Gap Youth Club postcard by clicking here