What is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation is who you’re attracted to and want to have sexual and/or romantic relationships with. Sexual orientations include gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, asexual, and more. Read the LGBTQ+ section for definitions of these terms. Sexual orientation is different from gender and gender identity

 

How do I know my sexual orientation?

There is not a “right way” to find your sexual orientation. Many people know at a young age what their sexual orientation is. You might not know what it is now. You might find one that works for you and then feel that that label doesn’t work for you anymore. No one is better than you to know what your sexual orientation is, although having open conversations about your emotions and ideas with peers, trusted adults, and family, helps :)

 

What is coming out? 

Coming out is the process that an LGBTQ+ person experiences to accept and share their sexual orientation. There is no one “right way” of coming out. It can produce anxiety for some people because of a reasonable fear of being rejected and discriminated against.

 

Some tips for coming out

  • Take your time. Coming out is a process of discovering yourself.

  • Understand that coming out is not a one-time thing. It should be a journey to be enjoyed and celebrated!

  • Consider coming out slowly, talking with the people you trust most first.

  • Coming out has benefits and risks. What does it mean to your family? Could it put you in danger? That’s why thinking of it as a process helps. 

  • Be yourself and trust your heart!

  • And remember, you deserve respect for you who are! 

 

Need more help?

  • You can also call the Gay and Lesbian National Hotline. They provide peer counseling at 1-800-246-PRIDE. 

  • If you are thinking about hurting yourself, get help right away with the Trevor Project. They can be contacted 24/7 through chat, text, or phone.