Many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people are strong, determined and happy with themselves, but everyone finds it tough sometimes, and it's important to get the right kind of support when you need it. LGBT young people can be affected by all the same problems as other young people.  For this reason, we've put together a support section to point you in the right direction if you need to find some information:

What do 'gay' and 'lesbian' mean?

The word gay is often used to describe a person who is attracted, both sexually and emotionally, to someone of the same gender.  It is normal to question your sexuality, and part of growing up is discovering and learning about yourself.  It is also normal to have feelings towards someone of the same gender. 


Am I old enough to know?

Everyone is different and there is no right or wrong age to realise you are gay or lesbian.  Sexuality can be fluid, and you may be attracted to different people at different times in your life.

Young people are often told that they don’t know themselves well enough or should wait until they are older before they decide.  Many young people say they have known for a long time that they feel ‘different’ and they are aware of their attraction to people of the same gender at a young age.  It’s okay to feel like this and it is okay to change your mind.  Sexuality does not need to be fixed forever – for some people it will be, and for others it might shift over time.



What do gay people look like?

Myths and stereotypes about gay people can lead people to believe that all men and women who identify as gay or lesbian must look and act a certain way – e.g. feminine (often referred to as camp) or butch for women.  Gay people are as varied and different as straight people, some may be camp or butch but others may be very masculine or butch or feminine.  Being a gay person is not a way of life, it is a part of life.  Straight people are not defined just by who they are attracted to, so there is no reason why you should be.  Stereotypes don’t really define any individual; we are much too diverse for that! You can be exactly the person you want to be and should never feel pressure to act or look a certain way.


Is it normal to be LGB and/or T?

There are still some messages out there that make us believe that it is not okay or normal for a person to fancy someone of the same gender.  Some societies and communities do not accept this difference.  It is completely normal to have feelings for people of the same gender and we can offer support and advice to help you feel more comfortable about who you are.


What does 'bisexual' mean?

The word bisexual describes a person who is attracted to both men and women. It is normal to question your sexuality and part of growing up is discovering and learning about yourself.  It is also normal to have feelings towards other people, both men and women. 


What does 'transgender' mean?

Transgender is an umbrella term that we use to describe someone who does not conform to society's view of being male or female. It includes a variety of gender identities and expressions, some of which are explained below.

Transsexual is a medical term used to describe people whose gender and biological sex are different, for example someone whose biological sex is female, but they identify as male gender.  Transsexual people often seek medical treatment to align their biological sex with their true gender.

Abbreviations MTF: male to female transsexual person.  FTM: female to male transsexual person.

Intersex people are born with chromosomal abnormalities or ambiguous genitalia (for example they may have an external penis, but internal female reproductive organs such as ovaries). At birth, doctors and parents often decide whether the infant should be male or female and then they get surgery to assign them this gender. They may develop issues with their gender identity as they grow up.

Other transgender identities include:

·       Drag queen

·       Drag king

·       Cross-dresser

·       Androgyny – having both masculine and feminine characteristics, or also describes being neither    male nor female 

·       Anyone else who identifies as transgender


What is 'Coming out'?

Coming out is when someone tells someone else their sexual orientation or gender identity. Most of us are brought up to think that everyone is attracted to the opposite sex and that our gender identity will match our physical body (or the gender we were assigned at birth). For people who this is the case, they very rarely need to come out, as who they are attracted to matches what is seen as ‘normal’ and how they feel inside matches what society sees as being male or female. These people may not even consider themselves to have a sexual orientation or gender identity because it’s not labelled as ‘different’. 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, however, have to make the choice to either publicly ‘hide’ how they feel or tell people their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people come out at all stages of their life and to varying degrees. For some it will be essential for them to live fully as themselves, whereas for others it might be that they only come out to themselves.



What do I do if my child is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and/or Transgender (LGBT)?

For some parents and carers it can come as a huge surprise to hear your child say they might be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, for others it may not be a surprise but you still may be unsure how to talk about it. Many parents and carers find it easy to accept their child’s sexuality however others may feel anger or disappointment. A person's sexuality is an essential part of who they are. Coming to terms with your child’s sexuality may take some time. Bear in mind that a person cannot ‘turn’ gay or straight. Even if you find it difficult, it's important to show support and reassure your child you love them whatever, after all they are still the same person.

Create an environment where your child or young person feels safe to tell you they are gay – don’t allow people to say negative things about gay people under your roof; your child will be very alert to attitudes about gay people in your home.

If your child or young person has told you they are gay it will have taken a lot of courage for them to do so – don’t dismiss the information as a phase, this could undermine their confidence which will make them less likely to open up to you in the future.

If you are totally against the information that your child or young person is gay, the truth is you are going to have to live with it and accept it. Regardless of their sexuality, you love them and want them to be happy. The fact they are gay or lesbian does not change that. If you reject the idea you will damage the relationship with your child and you will miss out on a really important part of their lives.


My child is being bullied at school about being gay, what can I do?

Children have the right to be taught in a safe environment where they can reach their potential. Teachers should be aware that stamping out homophobic bullying is an important part of their role. Growing up is difficult for all children but for those that may be gay or lesbian they may become isolated in the school environment. Bullying makes school miserable and leads to all sorts of problems.

If your child is being bullied it is important they know they can come to you for help.

If the school is not aware of the problem it is up to you and your child or young person to inform the school and ensure it is dealt with appropriately.

Ensure any measure put in place to tackle the bullying is followed through.

Reassure your child at all times, tell them you love them and you will work through the problems with them – knowing they have your support will give them confidence to face difficult situations

Access the following websites for further information and advice:




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