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Fact Sheet

I think I might be gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgender

1

ReachOut fact sheets are written by young people for young people and edited by a mental health professional. Want to discuss the topic in more depth? Visit the ReachOut Forums.

…but what if I don’t know for sure?

Trying to know for sure if you’re attracted to someone of the same sex can be very confusing. The process of discovering sexuality differs for everyone. It might take a while for you to figure it out, and there’s no need to rush. Some gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people say they “felt different” from the time when they were young. They had an idea or sensed they might be different, but it took a while to think of themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. As they grew older, they realized that those words fit in with their feelings.

Many other people don’t discover their attractions until later in adolescence and some not even into adulthood. If you’re feeling confused, you’re not alone. It isn’t unusual to feel attracted to someone you’re close to or admire, like a close friend or a great teacher. But this doesn’t mean you’re gay, a lesbian, or bisexual.

You also don’t need to be sexually active with other people to recognize your sexuality. One or two experiences with someone of the same sex may not mean you’re gay, a lesbian, or bisexual, just as one or two experiences with someone of the opposite sex may not mean you’re straight.

Sexual orientation and gender identity, like many things in life, develop over time. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure. Experimentation and exploration are often a part of figuring things out. Over time, you’ll find that you are drawn mostly to men or women, or both, and you’ll know then. And over time your questions about gender will also become clearer.

Remember: A label is something you need to feel comfortable with, and you don’t have to label yourself today or ever. The choice is yours.

For more information

There are many misunderstandings about sexuality and gender, and exploring your sexuality might be a confusing thing to do, whether you’re straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. If you’re curious to learn more about your sexuality, you might want to check out these additional fact sheets:

These resources may also be helpful:

Trevor Project and Trevor helpline (1-866-488-7386)
GLBT National Resource Database
National GLBT Talkline (1-800-246-7743)
National GLBT Hotline (1-888-843-4564)
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
The National Day of Silence (brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools).
National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Youth
Youth Resource, a website by and for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people
PFLAG, Parents, families, and friends of lesbians and gays

Last reviewed: Mar 13, 2013

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