It is common to start to feel confused about your sexuality. This is completely natural and is tied up with the hormones surging through your body. It may take time to work out your own sexual preference but only you can feel completely sure of it.

What is Sexuality?

Sexuality is many different things to different people.
Sexuality is about who we love, like, lust-after or have a crush on. Sexuality is also about physical activities, such as kissing or having sex. But sexuality is also about knowing who you are, loving who you are and being aware of your sexuality.

What is Sexual Diversity?

Sexual diversity means that everyone has different understandings about what sexuality means to them.
Sexuality can mean that you are attracted to someone of the opposite gender (straight), the same gender (gay or lesbian) or both genders (bisexual) – there is no wrong, right or ‘normal’ sexuality.
It is up to you to decide what kind of sexuality you have, and you cannot decide for anyone else what kind of sexuality is right for them. Bullying, homophobia and harassment can all change what you think and feel about your sexuality, but only you can know what suits you best.
Whatever sexuality you decide, this can change throughout your life, and it is best to see sexuality as being whatever you want it to be, whenever you want it to be – because you never know what will happen in your life.

How do you know if you are gay, lesbian or straight? I feel confused

There is no one thing that can tell you if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight. Some people feel that they have always just known that they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. But other people say that it is something that they slowly realised later in life after experiencing different relationships and finding out what was best for them.

If you are feeling confused about your sexuality it helps to talk to someone about it. Find a friend or someone close to you that you trust and feel safe with, to talk about your feelings and experiences.

If you don’t have someone that you can talk to, there are many different people that you can contact who will give you confidential advice. Click here to find your nearest health centre, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Is there something that makes people gay?

There is no particular factor that can make someone gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight. It is up to every person to decide for themselves how to experience and define their own sexuality.

Can I call someone gay, lesbian or bisexual?

If you think it is important, it is always best to ask that person what they like to be called. But a lot people just like to be called by their name and may not want to be defined by their sexuality.

If I call someone queer, is that ok?

It is always best to ask someone how they define themselves. Queer and other names can be used to put people down so it is always best to ask the person you are talking to, what they prefer.

When should I come out?

When someone says they have ‘come out’ or are thinking of ‘coming out’ it means that they are ready to tell other people about their sexuality.
There is no right or wrong time to come out, and you don’t have to tell anyone about your sexuality if you don’t want to.
If you are thinking of coming out, think about who you might tell and what their reactions might be. If you feel scared or unsure, speak to someone close to you that you trust or if there isn’t any one you feel comfortable talking to, call Lifeline 13 11 14 and have a private chat to them.
Coming out can happen anytime during someone’s lifetime and as you meet more people and join the workforce, you may chose to come out to new people. It is important to think about how you feel about all aspects of coming out.
Don’t forget – it is your decision to come out, no one can force you and you don’t have to come out if you don’t want to.

What does transsexual, intersex and transgender mean?

As well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight there are some other words used to describe terms in relation to sexuality that are not typically male, female, gay or straight.

Transsexual is a word used to describe someone who may like to cross-dress (a man dressing in women’s clothes, or a woman dressing in a man’s clothes). It also includes a number of different definitions, but generally means that someone is exploring what gender, being a man or being a women means to them.

Intersex is a medical term where a baby is born with reproductive organs that are not entirely male or female. For example, it might be difficult to tell for various medical reasons if that baby is a boy with a penis, or a girl with a vagina.
When someone describes themselves as transgender this means that someone feels that their reproductive organs, or genitals such as their penis or vagina do not match the gender that they feel they are. For example, someone may be born as a female, with a vagina, but feel they are or identify as a man.

If you think that you may be intersex, transgender or transsexual and want to know more find your nearest doctor here or call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and they can provide you with more information.