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How can I support my friend?

Finding information like on this website is a great first step to supporting your friend. You have shown that you are open to new information and hopefully are better informed. Every young person needs different things from their friends. Some friends find that they are better able to understand and support their friend by recognizing the similarities and differences in experiences. You can support your friend by educating yourself and others around you as much as possible about sexuality, gender and diversity.

Feeling marginalized or stigmatized in society can lead to some young people becoming depressed or even suicidal. If you think your friend is depressed or suicidal, get help. Check out our Mental Health and Support info sheets, for info on where to get help or contact us for more info.

 

We also recomend you check out the booklet "My Friend Is Gay" go to http://www.glhv.org.au/node/269
to download a copy.

Could a counsellor or therapist be helpful?

Support for friends who are coming to terms with their friend’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be gained from a counselor or therapist trained in the area of sexual or gender diversity (check out our Support and Mental Health sections for some that FC recommends). You may want to talk about your own feelings and how to work through them. It may help you and your friend communicate clearly through this period.

Young people who have acknowledged their attractions to the same gender, or who have acknowledged their true gender identity can still have feelings of depression, fear and isolation, and may need help with self-acceptance. Supporting your friend to access a counsellor or therapist may be very helpful for them if they feel this way, and you helping them with something like this will not go unnoticed; they will feel better just knowing you’re trying to support them through what can be a very difficult time.

Consulting a counsellor or therapist in the hopes of changing your friend’s sexuality or gender identity has little value. The Australian Psychology Society and Australian Medical Association both assert this, and that homosexuality is not a disease or illness and so is not something that can be ‘cured’.

 

Check out our Info section for more information about Sexuality, Gender, Discrimination, Mental Health, Support and more.

Why am I uncomfortable with my friend’s sexuality?

Our culture and society gives us messages about many things, including sexuality and gender. The negative messages or myths we have learned from our society about sexuality and gender are very strong and not easy to dismiss. However developing a better understanding of your friend and becoming more familiar with the issues will help reduce these uncomfortable feelings. Homophobia is a very strong part of our culture and is similar to many other forms of discrimination and prejudice. As long as homophobia exists on our society LGBTIQ people and their families may have very real and legitimate fears and concerns.