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Frequently asked questions about Sexuality

FAQs About Diverse Sexuality

Before you check our FAQs about diverse sexuality, check out our glossary which has all the meanings
of different labels and terms; it might answer some of your questions and it will help you understand some of the following FAQs and their answers too.

 

I think I might be gay, lesbian or bisexual; but what if I don’t know for sure?

It’s OK to take time to figure out who you are and being gay, lesbian or bi is most importantly about what you feel comfortable identifying as; not what someone else thinks you are or what you do with people of whichever gender.

Many people will identify with one label for a period of their life and then another for another period of their life. For example, many people identify as bisexual for many years, but then begin to identify as gay or lesbian. This doesn’t mean they weren’t bi as that’s the identity that they felt comfortable with for that period of their life. We’ve also heard many stories of people identifying as straight for years and then coming out as gay or lesbian later in life.

Similarly, we know people who felt they were gay or lesbian from a very early age and lived a happy and fulfilling life with this identity, but then have later fallen in love with someone of the opposite sex. Sexuality is fluid and can change some or many times over a person’s life. Other people’s sexuality is more fixed and they identify as gay, lesbian, bi or straight for their entire lives. The important thing is that you listen to your feelings and trust yourself to know what’s right for you.

Another misconception is that what we do determines who we are; this is not so. Many people have an open approach to sexuality and will identify strongly as gay, lesbian or heterosexual, but may have sex and/or relationships with people that don’t fit with their identity. Similarly, people who identify as bisexual don’t have to be having sex and/or relationships with both genders; someone can identify as bisexual but be in a long-term, monogamous relationship with one person.

Finally, if the terms gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual don’t feel right for you they aren’t your only options. Many people choose to reject all labels, asserting that they are themselves and don’t want a label to determine their sexuality or identity. Others prefer labels like queer, pansexual, omnisexual, dyke, fag, or anything else that feels comfortable for you. Other people dislike some of these terms for various reasons, but if it suits you it’s OK.

 

Everyone has the right to be themselves – what or however that may be. It’s OK to take your time figuring out what’s right for you. Many adults will say they still haven’t and will always be figuring out who they are. Our identities are always changing as we experience and come to know new things. Listen to and trust yourself and stick up for what you know is right for you!

Am I the only one with these feelings?

There are thousands of other people around Australia and the world who feel attracted to the same sex as themselves. You are not alone!

Is it natural to be gay, lesbian or bisexual?

Yes! Being gay, lesbian or bisexual is as natural as being heterosexual. The Australian Psychology Society asserts this and that it is not possible to force someone to change their sexuality through any psychological or medical means.

Why do I feel attracted to people of my own sex?

Young people often ask “Why am I attracted to people of the same sex?” It’s interesting that people don’t ask “Why am I attracted to people of the opposite sex?” The answer is the same to both of these questions.

 

Our society is often looking for a cause for something that is different so that it can be ‘fixed’. Being attracted to people of the same sex is not something that needs to be fixed. We live in a world that often fears and questions difference. This is the reason for racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination and prejudice. Being young and different can be hard, but everyone is different in some way. It makes life interesting!

Being attracted to people of the same sex is just one part of who you are.

I thought gay, lesbian or bisexual people acted in certain ways; if I don’t fit the stereotypes, am I still gay?

Gay, lesbian or bisexual people, like all people, are diverse. They are young, old, Asian, Aboriginal, European, African and from every other nationality, religion and culture. They may have disabilities or impairments. They are mothers and fathers, daughter and sons, friends, and family members. They are construction workers, teachers, doctors, students, secretaries, business people, police officers, politicians, athletes, and every other occupation.

Many of the stereotypes and misunderstandings are about sexuality and gender. We often hear that gay men want to be women and lesbians want to be men. This is confusing sexuality with issues about gender. Check out our Glossary for definitions of these and our Info sections on sexuality, gender and identity for more info about this.

Stereotypes and myths exist because of ignorance and assumptions. Some people fit stereotypes and some don’t. Trust your feelings and be yourself.