What is Sexual Orientation?
Sexual orientation is part of someone’s sexuality - it’s about who you’re attracted to. It isn’t just about the sexual side of attraction, it covers emotional and romantic attraction too.
Here are some of the terms that people use to describe their sexual orientation:
- Bisexual - this can generally be defined as sexual and emotional attraction to both men and women.
- Gay - someone who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the same sex. This is most often used to refer to men who identify as gay. Many women also identify themselves as gay.
- Lesbian - a woman who is sexually and emotionally attracted to other women.
- Straight, Heterosexual - This is someone who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the opposite sex.
For information and emotional support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families, friends and supporters across Scotland please visit: LGBT Health or Call : 0300 123 2523
No matter what you choose to call yourself, your sexuality and preferences may change or you might be questioning what you want - this is totally ok.
What does "Coming Out" mean?
Coming out is the process of telling others about your sexual orientation or gender identity. This can be difficult because there is still a lot of stigma and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. There is often no way of being sure about how people will react and this can be scary.
Sometimes when you do tell others about your sexual orientation or gender identity it can be a very empowering and life changing experience.
If you would like more information or advice about ‘coming out’ then go to the following websites:
LGBT Youth Scotland
Terrence Higgins Trust
If you want to talk about your sexuality or any issues surrounding it then there are lots of helpful organisations out there that can help you out so get in touch:
LGBT Youth Scotland - They run a wide range of services, including drop-in groups around the country. They also have lots of advice and information on their website.
Terrence Higgins Trust - offers advice to young gay and bisexual men. Phone their helpline on 0845 12 21 200 (Mon to Fri 10am - 10pm, Sat & Sun 12noon - 6pm). You can also get leaflets on their website.
Parents Enquiry Scotland – Here you can talk to other parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children. All their contact details are on their website, and they can also offer support for people who have religious concerns around their son or daughter’s sexuality.