In this section you will find information about Sexual Identity, Gender, Coming Out and Organisations you can contact for Support, Advice and Guidance.
Sexuality and sexual orientation is about who you are physically and emotionally attracted to. Everyone is different, and sometimes understanding your sexuality can be confusing.
5 things to remember about your sexuality:
- Sexuality isn’t a choice.
- It takes different people different amounts of time to understand their sexuality.
- ‘Coming Out’ can be a tough experience but it can often get easier as you start to tell more people.
- There are lots of different types of sexuality.
- Sexuality can change over time – this is OK.
Check out this video by Childline discussing stereotypes about Sexual Identity:
It might take some time to work out what your sexual orientation is. Remember there’s no such thing as normal. And you don’t have to feel pressured or rushed to give yourself a label.
There are many different types of sexuality. Some of the more common terms to describe sexuality include:
- Aromantic. Not feeling romantically attracted to anyone.
- Asexual. Not feeling sexually attracted to anyone.
- Bisexual. Feeling emotionally and physically attracted to both sexes.
- Demisexual. Someone who doesn’t have any sexual attraction unless they have a strong emotional connection with someone first.
- Gay. Feeling emotionally and physically attracted to people of the same sex.
- Lesbian. Girls who are emotionally and physically attracted to other girls.
- Pansexual. Feeling emotionally and physically attracted to people of any gender or sexual orientation. This includes transgender and non-binary people.
- Queer. Once used as an insult, many Sexually Diverse people have reclaimed the term as a celebration of not fitting into social norms.
- Straight. Feeling emotionally and physically attracted to people of the opposite sex.
A person’s gender identity is how they choose to define their gender, whether that be male, female or other.
Some people feel they are assigned the wrong gender at birth and decide to transition from one gender to another (Trans*). Others don’t identify as either male or female, and this is classified as being non-binary. Sometimes people might feel both male and female, or they might feel like they’re neither.
A person may not want to transition fully to the opposite gender but may choose to just express their gender in a different way. The Genderbread Person is a really good example of the difference between biological sex, identity and expression.
When a person is ready they may choose to tell people about their sexuality and/or gender identity, this is called: ‘Coming Out’. It can be an emotional and turbulent time in a person’s life as they may feel worried, anxious or scared about how their friends and family will react and treat them.
Check out this video by Childline discussing the journey of Coming Out:
Telling someone about your gender or sexuality doesn’t just happen once. You could ‘Come Out’ to lots of different people at different times. Or you might not want to come out to anyone.
Coming Out can help you to feel less isolated and more accepted, but it’s important to be ready. There’s no right or wrong time to Come Out to someone about your sexuality or gender identity. Only you can say when it is the right time to Come Out.
LGBT+ people often need more protection as a minority group due to discrimination and prejudice known as Homophobia (also see Biphobia and Transphobia), this is “The fear or dislike of someone, based on prejudice or negative attitudes, beliefs or views about lesbian, gay or bi people”.
In the UK, we have laws that protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination – predominantly the Equality Act 2010. This covers everyone who has a protected characteristic from discrimination. There are seven protected characteristics:
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Identity
- Religion or Faith
There are also laws to protect people in work, at home and in the provision of goods and services. For example, it is illegal to fire someone for being Gay, to refuse to rent a flat to a Lesbian couple or to not sell someone something because they are Trans.
The RCT Youth Engagement and Participation Service is committed to Equality and Diversity and creating safe spaces across all of our provision for young people no matter who they are or what they believe. We are working across schools and the Education service with Stonewall to increase awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, provide more quality support to young people, signpost to reliable, up-to-date information, and to empower young people from minority groups such as the LGBTQ+ community more to use their voices.
Check out this video from Childline where they discuss homophobia:
If you are struggling with bullying, coming to terms with your sexuality, or have been a victim of Hate then you can contact Stonewall’s Information Line on 08000 50 20 20 for FREE, confidential advice. Remember, in an emergency always contact 999 or for a non-emergency you can contact the emergency services on 101.
Here is a list of services that can offer information, advice and support for Gender and Sexual Diversity Issues:
Stonewall – Stonewall campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain.
Mermaids UK – Family and individual support for gender diverse and transgender children and young people.
Umbrella Cymru – Gender and Sexual Diversity Support Specialists in Wales.
The Beaumont Society – The Beaumont Society is a national self help body run by and for the transgender community.
Trans*Form Cymru – Trans*Form Cymru empowers and supports trans young people to access their rights.
Pride Cymru – Celebrating and promoting LGBTQ+ equality & diversity! #ProudToBeMe