17 May 2002

I May Be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Trans, But I Don't Know

I May Be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Trans, But I Don’t Know

Équipe -Pose ta question!-

Sexual orientation and gender identity are complex issues.  Figuring out your identity can be difficult and confusing for anyone.  Coming out as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans youth can be especially complicated and fraught with questions.

As a questioning or LGBT youth, you are at a time in your life when you are becoming an adult, yet you, might not have adult rights. Your relationship with your parents or family is changing. You’re becoming more independent, and they’re having to accept that you’re not their little girl or boy any more. That’s not easy for either of you. And all of a sudden, something you didn’t think about a few years ago might feel like the most important thing in the world.

If you’re a gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans (LGBT) teenager — or if you think you might be or wonder if you are — it’s even more confusing, because probably no one ever prepared you for that. Growing up, your friends and family may have teased you about liking girls if you’re a boy, or boys if you’re a girl. Maybe they talked about dating, falling in love and getting married. But they probably never talked about when you grow up and fall in love with another guy, or about marrying a woman just like you. In fact, in your family or at school you probably have heard “gay,” “fag” or “dyke” used as an insult or witnessed (or experienced) harassment based on sexual orientation.

Popular culture is still dominated by heterosexual images. TV, movies and magazines mostly show men and women together. The music you hear is about falling in love with the opposite gender. If you’re a guy, your friends are probably talking about girls, and if you’re a girl, they’re talking about boys. And, while most people your age seem to fit neatly into expected gender roles, you may feel you don’t —or don’t want to.

All of that makes things hard if you’re LGBT — or think you might be — because you don’t have much that relates to you.

Understand three things:

  • One: It is ok to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans. Being LGBT is as much a human variation as being left-handed — your sexual orientation and gender identity are just another piece of who you are.
  • Two: It takes time to know who you are. It’s OK to be confused, it’s okay to be unsure if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans, and it’s okay to take your time finding out. There’s no need to rush.
  • Three: You’re not alone. Right now, there are tens of thousands of other youth, all thinking they’re LGBT or wondering if they are, all wondering if they’re the only one, all trying to find someone to talk to about it. Hundreds of thousands more, however have already traveled that road.


Adapted from “Be Yourself: Q&A for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered Youth” written by PFLAG