Questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity can be difficult, often because of other peoples’ attitudes. But it could help you make sense of feelings you’ve had for a long time.

Whether you’re straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, if you feel comfortable to, you should be able to feel confident and proud of who you are.

I keep hearing the word ‘sexuality’ – what is it?

Sexuality isn’t just about sex, it’s about your feelings, emotions, attractions and desires and how you express these.

It includes whether we’re attracted to people the same gender as you, a different gender, or are attracted to more than one gender (which is what makes up what is known as our sexual orientation – whether we identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual) as well as what we do sexually.

Having sexual thoughts and feelings is a normal, healthy part of human life. This is true no matter what gender you’re attracted to. Some people aren’t interested in sex at all, and this is normal too and you might then identify as asexual.

When will I know if I’m gay or straight or bisexual or transgender?

It takes time to figure out who we are sexually and to understand our gender identity and orientation, just as it takes time to figure out other areas of our lives.

The important thing is to be true to how you feel at the time and to respect yourself and others around you.

Someone knows me really well and reckons I’m gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender – am I?

It’s true that good friends can sometimes tell us things about ourselves we might not have realised, but you shouldn’t be swayed too much by what anyone else says about your sexuality or gender identity.

Only you know can how you really feel inside.

If I think I am gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender – should I tell people?

We have a guide on coming out as gay, lesbian or bisexual. There are many different things you should take into consideration when it comes to coming out, but it’s entirely your decision. 

I suddenly thought about someone of my own gender while I was masturbating – what does it mean?

For lots of us, sexuality isn’t as simple as being gay or straight. Lots of people have fantasies involving people the same gender as them, even if they wouldn’t want to actually have sex with them.

Meanwhile, if your sexual fantasies are usually about people of your own gender and have been for a while, it could be an indication you’re attracted to people who are the same gender as you.

I had a sexual experience with a friend – am I gay/lesbian?

Having a sexual experience with someone the same gender as you does not automatically make you gay or lesbian. That’s up to you to discover and find out – you could be gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight or one of many different sexual orientations. One experience doesn’t make up your whole identity.

In the meantime, you should know that what happened is a fairly normal part of growing up and try not to stress about it.

What if I feel I’m a different gender?

If you find yourself questioning your gender we have a list of gender identity terms which may help you understand these terms.

The term transgender describes a range of people whose feelings about their gender identity differ from the assumptions made about them when they were born.

Transgender people can be attracted to people of the same gender, or different gender, or multiple genders. Their sexuality and who they are attracted to is something completely different to their gender identity.

Some transgender people choose to live as their assigned sex, and others as the gender they really are. Others may decide to be open about being transgender with some people but not with everyone. 

LGBT Youth Scotland is Scotland’s national charity for LGBTQI+ young people aged 13-25. Find out more about the work they do here.

Visit our LGBTQI+ information page.

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