There is a range of different terms for the rainbow of different sexual orientations. You may hear of trans-gendered, bisexual and gay and wonder what the differences are. All these very clinical sound terms can be confusing, so we’ll try to break it down for you.
First off, LGBTQ stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans-gendered (or trans-sexual) Queer (or sometimes questioning), and is meant to be an inclusive way of meaning sexual orientation and gender identity.
Everyone has their own identity and orientation. Your feelings – both sexual and emotional – towards one sex or another may stay constant over time or change over the years. Although a lot of people may know early on in their lives what their sexual identity and/or orientation are, sometimes it may take time to realize what feelings are the most true.
What ever feelings you’re wrestling with just remember it’s okay to be yourself and it’s also ok to explore who you are. Your orientation can be a source of pride but it can also be scary to let other know who you are. There are many people out there who can understand, and who are ready and willing to be supportive. See our resource links for more info!
Learning to Like Yourself
It may not be easy to discover that you are gay. Some people make it very clear what they think of gays and lesbians by telling terrible jokes, promoting hurtful stereotypes, and spreading rumours. Some people who are not straight and many people are uncomfortable just being around them. It’s no wonder that you might choose to hide your same-sex feelings from others.
You might even be tempted to hide them from yourself. You may wonder if you are normal. Perhaps you worry about people finding out about you. Maybe you avoid other kids who might be gay or lesbian because of what people will think. Working to conceal your identity is called ‘being in the closet‘. It can definitely be a painful and lonely place to be. It takes a lot of energy to deny your feelings and it can be bad for your physical and mental health. Some try using alcohol or other drugs to deal with their homosexuality/trans-gendered/trans-sexual feelings. Some contemplate running away or even committing suicide. If you have considered suicide, please consult one of the resources on this web site or feel free to chat with one of our trained volunteers in order to talk to someone about your feelings rather than thinking about this drastic step.
All people have a right to feel good about themselves. We’re all valuable human beings. Developing self-esteem is very important for all young people, including sexual minority youth.
It helps to read books about bisexual, lesbian and gay lives, but the books you read should have accurate information. Many of us lead fulfilling lives and are proud of who we are. If you live in BC check out the resources to learn more about local queer friendly youth groups and organizations.