LARC

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Questioning?


It's normal to be attracted to both girls and boys when you're growing up.

During puberty, you have lots of emotions and sexual feelings. It's absolutely normal for girls to think about girls in a sexual way, and for boys to think about boys in a sexual way.

Some people realise that they prefer people of the opposite sex, while others prefer people of the same sex. Some people realise that they're gay later in life, and some know it from an early age.

You don't choose your sexuality; it chooses you. If you're attracted to people of the same sex, this is natural and normal, and you deserve to be with someone you love, whatever their gender.

What if I'm gay, lesbian or bisexual?

It can help to talk to other people who are going through the same process of realising their sexuality. You should find out if there's a young LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) group in your area.

Should I tell anyone?

This is up to you. Being gay, lesbian or bisexual is normal, but some people don't understand this, for different reasons. Telling people that you're gay, lesbian or bisexual is known as 'coming out'. In reality, coming out takes time and most people find that it happens in stages.

What about sex?

We all have the same feelings and anxieties about sex, whether we're gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight. Deciding when you're ready to have sex is a big step, whoever your potential partner might be.

It's a huge decision, but only you can make it. Although the legal age of consent is 16, that's not necessarily the right age for you to start having sex - many people wait until later. There are also no rules about how long you have to be going out with someone before you do it - everyone is ready at different times.

The main thing to remember is that you shouldn't have sex just because your friends or your boyfriend or girlfriend are pressuring you. It's fine to say no - you should decide when you are ready.

If you think the time is right, talk to your partner about needing to use condoms or other types of contraception, about having safer sex, picking the right time, and how you would both like the experience to be.

STIs can pass from girls to girls and boys to boys, as well as between girls and boys, so it's important to have safer sex.

What about pregnancy and STIs?

If you're having sex with someone of the same sex, there's no risk of pregnancy, but you can still get or pass on STIs.

The best way to find out if you have an STI is to get tested at a sexual health clinic or by your GP. All clinics and health professionals should give you the same level of help and support, no matter what your sexuality. Don't let fear of prejudice (judgment) prevent you from asking for help.

The information about safer sex on this website is just as relevant to you if you are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Safer sex is not just about protecting yourself; it is about respecting yourself and your partner.

If a guy is going to have sex with another guy, he should always wear a condom - or get the other guy to wear one. It's worth getting to know what condoms are like and practising how to use them. You should also use a water-based lubricant ('lube') on the outside of the condom to make sex feel smoother and to reduce the effect of friction. This means the condom is less likely to break.

For oral sex, you can use flavoured condoms which reduce the risk of passing on STIs through the mouth. Likewise, to make oral sex on a girl safer, you can use a flavoured dental dam. This is a sheet of latex which is placed over the vagina and acts as a barrier against any infections.

Make sure that you know about all the methods of contraception, whether you have sex with males or females, in case you also have straight sex. It's better to be prepared with contraception than to put yourself at risk.

Free condoms

easy access points for condoms

Bullying

Some people don't understand that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is normal. Nobody has the right to tell someone else how to live their life, or to pick on them because of who they're attracted to. If someone bullies you because you're gay, lesbian or bisexual, it's their problem, not yours, and they shouldn't get away with it. This is called homophobic bullying.

Bullying can take many forms, including stares, looks, whispers, threats and violence. If you're being bullied because you're gay, lesbian or bisexual, tell someone you trust. This could be a teacher, a friend, your parents or a helpline.

Schools have a legal duty to ensure that homophobic bullying is dealt with. If they aren't doing this, you have the right to complain and take action.

  • Report it! Talk to someone you trust. They could be a teacher, form tutor, school counsellor, mentor, personal advisor or school nurse. If you don't feel that you get the support you deserve, talk to someone else.
  • If a member of staff is bullying you, you need to report it. Talk to someone who can do something about it. You might consider talking to the police. Each police force has a Schools Liaison Officer who is there to deal with crime in schools. They also have a Community Safety Unit, whose job is to help people who are being homophobically (or racially) abused.
  • If you report it, remember the issue is that you are being bullied because of somebody's opinion of your life. That's the problem. You can ask for something to be done about it without getting into discussions about your sexuality.
  • If you are being bullied outside school, contact the police. Bullying is a hate crime and the police have the power to prosecute people for homophobic behaviour .
  • Talk to someone at an LGBT youth group - you'll almost certainly meet other young people who have dealt with this problem. You'll be able to share experiences and feel less isolated.

For more information visit:


Contacts

You Choose
info@uchooseonline.co.uk

NHS Direct
0845 4647

Sex - Worth Talking About
0800 28 29 30

 Lambeth Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Partnership
©2011 NHS Lambeth. Terms & Conditions