What is LGBT?
L.G.B.T stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. It accounts for people who have emotional and sexual feelings towards people of the same sex or both sexes as well as people who express their gender differently to their biological gender. There are many issues that teens can face from LGBT, including discovering their sexuality, being open about their sexuality (also known as "coming out") and sadly in some cases homophobic bullying which can make sexuality a very scary thing for teens.
I think I might be...
Coming out (or telling people of your sexuality) is a big thing, and definitely a brave thing to do! Unfortunately for most young people it can be incredibly difficult, especially when trying to find where to start. Luckily for you, we are now in a time where society is a lot more loving, caring, supporting and accepting of LGBT youth making it easier for people to come out into a safe environment.
There are many things that you might be worried about that you might be considering before coming out:
- How your parents and other family members will react.
- How your friends will react.
- Whether you are going to get bullied.
- Are you sure of your sexuality?
- Are you comfortable with your sexuality?
You should always consider these things, but should not always let this hold you back. We aim to inform you as much as possible about coming out, and there might be some facts on here that make you think twice. But coming out is an amazing thing, and really is a good thing to do, you just have to make sure that it is completely the right time to do it.
Parents and Family Members:
What is great is that the majority of families are completely supportive and accepting when their child comes out as LGBT to them. In fact in most cases it makes your family proud, and even love you a little bit more knowing that you are able to trust them enough to tell them something that is so difficult to say. It is always important that you tell your family, and some people aim to tell theirs first. However you need to consider some things first.
- Are your family homophobic, or do they express anti-gay views? If they do, then this could certainly put you off telling them.
- Are you financially dependant on your parents? It is possible that when coming out to your parents, that if they take the new badly, they may ask you to leave your home. (It is estimated that in the USA 1 in 4 young people who come out to their parents are asked to leave their home). This only usually happens if your parents share extreme views against homosexuality. If you think that this is a possibility then you should consider waiting until you are financially stable and able to support yourself, or ensure you have another place to stay before you consider telling your parents.
The idea of telling you these facts is not to scare you off of telling your parents, it is too ensure that you remain safe when considering your options. In most cases, families will be loving and supporting and you will have nothing to worry about. It is important to tell your family at some point, so if it is not safe to tell them whilst you are young then just stay patient and tell them when it is safe too.
Your parents may not know much about homosexuality or transgenderism, so you may need to educate them a little bit on the subject. With it becoming increasingly socially acceptable to express homosexuality and transgenderism, it will be a lot easier for you and your parents to find positive information and support online.
For most people who are ready to come out, the first people they tell will be their close friends. It is easier telling your friends, as you most likely have a lot of trust for them. When telling your friends however, consider just how trustworthy they are and make it clear how public you want your news. You don't want your friends telling people before you are ready for others to know.
Unfortunately, some of your friends might feel uncomfortable hearing the news, and may even have homophobic or anti-gay views. Sometimes they will be able to move on from these and continue with your friendship, however occasionally they may decide that they want to end their friendship with you.
A positive point towards telling your friends before your family, is that you will have a supportive background who will be able to support you when telling your family. One of your friends may even be able to provide a space for you to stay for a short while if something was to go wrong in your home.
Are you sure of your sexuality?
We aren't trying to make you think twice, you just need to make sure that before you confidently come out and start telling people of your sexuality, you are sure that it is right.
If you can confidently answer "Yes!" if someone was to ask "Are you gay?" then you know that you are most likely ready to come out.
If you still aren't definitely sure of your sexuality, then just have some patience. You don't want to rush into coming out, because it is possible that you could discover that you have made a mistake, or that you were just passing through a phase.
Are you comfortable with your sexuality?
Whilst you might be completely certain with who you are, more often than not it can take some time for people to accept it. When you come out, it is very common that people will want to talk to you about it, or ask you lots of questions (especially your family) and to be able to answer these and be comfortable receiving them, you need to make sure that you are comfortable in your sexuality. For some this will be straight away, and for others this can take some time. Again, it is about patience, when the time is right you will be able to tell people providing that you are completely comfortable.
If anything serious happens when coming out, for example you are seriously bullied, then you should ensure that you report this immediately. If it happens in your school or college then you should speak to a teacher or counsellor and if it happens outside of your school or college you should contact your local police. If you have any problems regarding your family, including being kicked out of your house then visit the Contact Us page to either contact someone within Teenage Helpline or some of the other useful contacts listed on that page. Alternatively you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many ways that you can meet other people in the LGBT community:
- LGBT support groups within your schools or colleges. These will be small groups that allow the LGBT community in your school to meet and socialise. There may also be a group that is anti-homophobia with aims to stamp out homophobic related bullying in your school or college.
- Locally sources LGBT Support Organisations. Most places will have youth groups and LGBT support groups that you will be able to attend and meet other LGBT people in your area.
- Online support groups and chat rooms. Although you have to make sure that you stay safe on these sites, and you should never meet people that you have met through the internet, these are great places to meet and discuss with LGBT people through the internet. We understand that this may be a tough time for you, and that you may be feeling a bit down or even worse. If you are having any confused feelings, or are feeling a little down then you can always talk to someone at Teenage Helpline by going to the Contact Us Page, or talk to some of the other contacts listed on that page. Alternatively you can e-mail us at email@example.com.