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Lesbian, gay and bisexual

Everyone has a sexual orientation. Who do you feel sexually, romantically and emotionally attracted to?

If you’re attracted to people of the opposite sex, it’s called being straight (heterosexual). If you’re attracted to people of the same sex, it’s called being gay (homosexual).

Gay is a general term for men and women who are attracted to their own sex, but often used to describe men who like other men. A lesbian is a gay woman. If you’re attracted to both women and men, you’re probably bisexual. If you feel little or no sexual attraction to anyone, you could be asexual.

For many people, sexuality is more of a sliding scale than simply ‘straight or gay’. You can be attracted to someone of the same sex even though you don’t identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Perhaps you’re a woman who usually likes men, but you find yourself feeling attracted to another woman. That doesn’t mean you’re a lesbian. Your sexual orientation is the overall pattern of sexual and romantic attraction that you experience throughout your life.

Sexuality is complicated. You can’t choose your sexual orientation, but you can learn to understand it.

Am I gay?

Understanding your thoughts, feelings and desires can be difficult. You don’t just wake up one day with all the answers about your sexuality, whether you’re gay or not. Some people know that they’re gay, straight or bisexual from a very young age, but for others it’s more complicated.

If you dream or fantasize about someone of the same sex, does that mean you’re gay? If you’re a girl who kissed another girl, are you a lesbian? There are no clear answers. One daydream or experience doesn’t mean you’re gay, but if your fantasies are mainly about people of the same sex then you could be. Only you know how you feel, and only you can figure out your sexuality.
Generally speaking, your sexual orientation is based on your feelings, and who you fall in love with. Of course sexual attraction plays an important part in this, but it’s not everything. Who makes your heart beat faster? Who do you want to spend all your time with?

If you usually imagine falling in love and having sex with someone of the same sex, then you’re probably lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

Remember, there’s no rush! It can take a lot of time to figure out your own emotions and desires. There is no need to label yourself right away, and sometimes people’s feelings change over time.
Sexuality is based on what you feel, not what you do. No one can tell you what your sexual orientation is.

Accepting your sexuality

You may struggle with questions about your sexual orientation, particularly if you live in a society where same-sex relationships are not widely accepted.

Many people want to be straight because they think that their life would be easier that way, or because they’re afraid people won’t like them. If you’ve been brought up to believe that there’s something wrong with being gay, it can be very hard to accept your own feelings.

This is perfectly normal. You may feel scared, angry, or confused. But there’s nothing wrong with being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Everyone deserves a loving and happy relationship.

Being honest with yourself can make life easier.


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