Being a teenager is difficult. Between juggling school and your social life, dealing with a sometimes stressful family, and trying to figure out your future, there is so much going on at any one time. When you throw in trying to understand your sexual orientation on top of those things can feel pretty overwhelming.
In a society where being straight is the most common sexuality, it can be daunting to feel things that those around you don’t. ‘Am I gay?’ is one of the most common questions to be googled, and the answer to this question is rarely straightforward, however.
As sexuality is an extremely personal thing, no one else can define your orientation for you. Only you can come to the conclusion of whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, or something else. However, there are some ways you can help yourself to understand what you might be feeling, knowing that what you’re experiencing is totally normal.
How will I know if I’m gay or bisexual?
BeLonG To have a range of scenarios on their website which may help you to figure out if you are part of the LGBTQ+ community. The list is as follows:
- Maybe you’re a guy who’s noticing how gorgeous some male celebrities are – you’re not interested in the female celebrities your friends are always talking about.
- Maybe you’re a girl who’s got a huge crush on one of your female teachers.
- Or, are you a guy or a girl who’s feeling attracted to both your male and your female friends?
- Maybe you’ve always felt different from your friends, and you’ve just realised that the word ‘gay’ might fit how you feel.
- Maybe you’ve always known you were gay, and you’ve been feeling alone. Now you’re looking to meet other young people who are like you.
BeLonG To stress, however, that even if any of the above situations resonate with you, or if you are questioning your sexuality for other reasons, it’s important to know that there is absolutely no pressure in defining your sexuality. Your feelings may take a long time to work through, and that’s completely normal for many people. Putting a label on yourself isn’t something you should feel pressured to do.
Am I transgender?
It’s important to note too that identifying as transgender is different from your sexual orientation, as BeLonG To says: “Being gay, lesbian or bisexual is about who we’re attracted to. Being transgender is about how we feel about our own gender (being male or female).” If you feel that you may be transgender, you can learn more about that on both BeLonG To and here on KISS.
What is it like to be LGBTQ+ in Ireland?
If you understand your sexuality a little better now, you may be wondering what it’s like to be a part of the LGBTQ+ family here in Ireland. While sadly homophobia does still exist in many societies in the world, here in Ireland we have made huge progress in the right direction to secure an equal and safe society for openly LGBT+ people.
“There are now a lot more people who are openly LGBT+ who are living happy and fulfilled lives all around Ireland. Some live in long-term relationships with their partners. Others are bringing up children in families that are very like the majority of Irish families.”
“Irish human rights laws mean that LGBT+ people now have the right to equality and cannot be discriminated against.”
If you are struggling with understanding your sexuality, or are just coming to terms with the orientation that you identify as, always know that you’re not alone. There are many organisations that are happy to speak with, and help you out on your journey. Below are just a few where you can find supportive communities and more.