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sexuality

Sexuality & Gender Identity

Sexuality or Sexual Identity is not just about who were having sex with, nor is it something which has to be fixed. It can be fluid and may change throughout someone’s life. People don’t always fit into the carefully defined labels, which have been created by society, so it is important that if you are questioning your sexuality, then you are allowed to do so as an individual.

Below are some universal definitions for Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual. These are, by no means, set in stone nor do you have to feel that should fit neatly into one of them. Sexuality is not about giving yourself a label; it is about learning to be you.

Lesbian – a female who is physically and emotionally attracted to a member of the same sex.

Gay – a male who is physically and emotionally attracted to a member of the same sex.

Bisexual – a male or female who is physically and emotionally attracted to members of both sexes.

Coming Out

Many people have the misconception that every LGBT person ‘Comes Out’ when they are young.
This, as we know is not always the case, with people struggling with their sexuality and gender identity for a number of years. This is also more common in a rural place like Dumfries & Galloway where people have historically found it harder to ‘Come out’.
We’re not suggesting that you suddenly leap out of the closet making some huge declaration, but what the next section will do is give you some helpful tips about ‘coming out’ safely if it something you feel you are ready to do.

Before

  • Try to come to terms with your sexuality/gender yourself first
  • Prepare yourself for the questions – practise what you want to say
  • Don’t expect too much too soon
  • Be happy in yourself first, and love who you are, don’t try to be what other people want to you be
  • If in doubt, wait until you feel right about it
  • If you are comfortable doing so, make some hints and people might guess for themselves

Where

  • Think about the setting and environment (best not to do it at a family gathering)
  • Do it on neutral ground
  • Do it somewhere you feel safe

When?

  • When YOU’RE ready!
  • Pick the right occasion where you’ll have time to talk
  • Don’t feel pressured into it – make sure it’s the right time for YOU
  • Don’t come out in an argument

Who?

  • Someone open minded
  • Don’t feel obliged to tell everyone
  • Tell people you trust
  • Don’t tell people that you know like to gossip
  • If you have any LGBT friends, tell them first as they are more likely to understand

How?

  • Be discreet
  • Do it in a way that is right for YOU
  • Take it at your own pace
  • If you can’t do it face-to-face, send a letter or tape

After

  • Get back-up for after – talk to friends
  • Don’t let anyone force labels on you
  • Don’t pigeonhole yourself, allow yourself to grow and change
  • Don’t take homophobia to heart
  • Get in contact with the OUTfront project on 01387 255 058 or www.outfront.org.uk
  • Look for support information for friends and family
  • Give people time to come to terms with it – it’s not always going to be easy for them in the beginning.
  • Keep communicating with those important to you – let them know that nothing has really changed
  • Remember it’s not only a difficult time for you