Sexual Identity and Orientation

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Your sexual orientation is a reflection of your sexual and emotional feelings toward others. People often use the words straight, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, gay, two-spirit or queer to describe their sexual orientation. Some people know their sexual orientation early on in life, while others go through periods where they wonder: Do I like men? Do I like women? Do I like both? Am I different?

Don’t stress. The truth is that your sexual orientation will emerge over time, probably little by little. You shouldn’t label yourself as “gay” just because you’ve had feelings for people of the same gender. These experiences are common among people your age. Right now the best thing you can do is give it time and explore and experience your sexual feelings with an open mind. If it turns out you’re gay, you may face some unique challenges, but you can also find a lot of support along the way.

You may wonder why some people are gay and some people aren’t? Truth is nobody really knows for sure. As best we know, what “causes” someone to be gay is the same as what causes heterosexuality: your biological make-up. Researchers now know that our sexuality is determined by a combination of both our biology (genes and hormones) and our environment. They also know that biology plays a very large part in it. This is true whether we are homosexual, bi-sexual, or heterosexual.

Today, sex researchers and most doctors view homosexuality as a normal sexual difference. It is something you discover in yourself. Which is not to say it’s always an easy discovery. Even if you know that being gay isn’t a flaw, you might fear that your family and friends won’t accept you if you come out to them. This is a totally normal fear, and there is help available to support people “coming out” to their friends and family. Click here to learn about them.

Special Thanks:
Tommy Chesboro

Dear Auntie, How do I start a gay straight alliance (GSA) at my school?