Take Action: You can read the magazines GT (Gay Times) and Diva on Zinio using your computer, smartphone, or tablet. You need to have an Oxfordshire library card.
People say I'm gay or say mean things about my gender
If you are a young person who is being bullied because of sexuality (homophobia or biphobia) or gender identity (transphobia), this is not OK. Any kind of homophobic, biphobic or transphobic abuse is wrong - whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or not.
It is also wrong and hurtful to say nasty or mean things about gay or trans people. It's reported by 97% of young LGB people that they regularly hear insulting homophobic remarks at school. (Source: Stonewall, Education for all) This makes them feel bad, even if the remarks are not directed at them.
Take Action: If someone in your class or group says bad things about LGBT people, you can help everyone if you challenge them. Here are some good challenges:
Saying "gay" to mean rubbish or bad isn't acceptable.
That's homophobic language, you cannot say that.
Using that negative language is insulting and isn't okay.
You need to use respectful language when you talk to people.
Sometimes when people are using homophobic, biphobic or transphobic language, or you are being bullied because of gender identity or sexuality, it is not possible to challenge the behaviour. Your safety is important, but it is also important not to let people get away with bad behaviour. Reporting bullying makes the environment safer for everyone and helps protect people in the future.
Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is as unacceptable as any other sort of bullying. Whether you are in the workplace, in a club, out and about or in your school, it should be reported, taken seriously and stopped.
Crucial: You don't need to be LGBTQ+ yourself to challenge homophobic, biphobic or transphobic language or behaviour. In fact, being an ally (a term for individuals that support a cause despite not identifying within the community) is really important. Everyone can help make the world a safer and friendlier place.
For more information about bullying or what to do if you are being bullied please visit the Oxme Anti-Bullying Pages.
Homophobia is a word that describes negative attitudes and views or discrimination towards people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. It also includes negative attitudes and views towards people who others assume or think are lesbian, gay or bisexual, whether or not they actually are.
Biphobia is a word that describes negative attitudes and views or discrimination towards people who identify as bisexual or pansexual. It also includes negative attitudes and views towards people who others assume or think are bisexual/pansexual whether or not they actually are.
Transphobia is a word that describes negative attitudes and views or discrimination towards people who identify as transsexual and/or transgender. It also includes negative attitudes and views towards people who others assume or think are transsexual and/or transgender whether or not they actually are. The discrimination is based on negative views of gender identity.
Discrimination - To discriminate means to treat someone unfairly.
Instant expert: Crimes committed against someone because of that person's sexual orientation or perceived orientation are called homophobic/transphobic hate crime - find out more, including how to report a crime.
Sex and safer sex
The age of consent for gay men is the same as for heterosexual couples, sixteen. If a woman has sex with a girl under sixteen she can be prosecuted, under different laws.
Before you have sex, you need to know about safer sex, consent and the law. You should still know about how to use contraception to avoid STIs and pregnancy, as even if this is not a concern in your current relationship. This will help you support friends, and be ready if a future partner is opposite sex or trans.
Any sexual contact risks transmitting or catching a Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Find out more about Sexual Health, or visit Sexual Health and Contraception Oxfordshire for advice, support and clinic information.
Respect and Relationships
When a young person starts having relationships, there is a risk of being targeted by adults or other young people who will abuse them. Young people who are LGBTQ+ are also at risk of child sexual exploitation. Young men are also at risk of child sexual exploitation.
At any age, respect in relationships is really important. Learn to spot the signs of Domestic Abuse and coercive control and insist on respect.
My experience: coping with isolation
Being gay can be quite isolating. I don't live in a big cosmopolitan city, I didn't know anyone else who was, or thought they were gay. Realising there are groups of young gay people, for young gay people, feels really good. You know you're not alone. You know you're going through what they're going through. You know all you have to do is pop along one day and meet them all in total confidentiality, whether you're out or not. I found it really helped. Just making new friends, meeting new people, and, better than that, it meant I could start being me and doing things I'd always wanted to. It gave me a safe place to go just 'be' gay, however ridiculous that sounds - Anon, Way Out (LGBT Youth Group)
My friend has come out - what can I do to support them?
When a friend comes out to you as LGBTQ+, you might have lots of feelings. You might feel shocked, confused, or even angry that you didn't know sooner! But your feelings are something for you to deal with. What your friend needs is for you to listen, support, understand and be happy for them. It's fine to ask questions, but respect it when they don't want to answer. Everyone's journey is different!
This video can be really helpful if you want to ask questions, but aren't sure if they're too personal. In it people who are trans give answers to questions people have asked on Google about being trans.