This page is for Everyone!
You do not have to be LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning) to look at this page or find out more information.
Crucial: Estimates and measurements of how many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender vary from 2% to 10%. That means in a group of 100 people somewhere between 2 and 10 people might be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, although there may be more.
If you or someone you know thinks they might be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender please do not worry. Many people identify as LGBT. Sexuality is something personal to you. But if you do need to talk, there are lots of options.
People don’t fit neatly into boxes, particularly when there are only one of two choices, man or women, female or male, or masculine or feminine, homosexual or heterosexual, sexual or non-sexual. People have an individual experience of gender and sexuality, and this needs to be respected.
Sexuality - LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual)
Sexuality describes who you are attracted to, love and have relationships with. Gay men and lesbian women are attracted to people of the same sex. Bisexual men and women are attracted to people of either sex.
People who identify as pansexual are attracted to people regardless of their gender, sex or presentation. People who don’t feel sexual attraction to either sex or that don’t feel romantic attraction in the typical way may describe themselves as asexual.
Some people know they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual from an early age. Some people find out when they begin to have feelings for others. Some people may find that who they are attracted to changes as they grow older, or when they meet new people. Some people go through periods of not being attracted to other people.
Being unsure is normal!
Crucial: You can find out more about LGBT+ community and services on the www.lgbtoxon.uk website.
Gender - Transgender
Transgender people identify their gender in line with their inner-self rather than with biological and/or physical features of their body. For example, a transgender man may have been born with female reproductive organs and hormones but internally identifies as being male.
Transgender people may partly or completely transition (change) to become the gender that they identify with. They may change their clothing and appearance as well as change their name, pronouns (he/she/they) and legal identity in order to identify with their gender. Some transgender people may chose to also have surgery in order to change physical aspects of their body.
Some people identify as non-binary as their gender identity doesn’t align with ‘man’ or ‘woman’.
I think I might be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
If you want to talk to someone about your thoughts and feelings about your sexuality or gender identity, there is lots of help and support available.
Many people find that a good first stage is to talk to a friend or adult that you trust (for example: teacher, youth worker, sports coach).
You can also get in contact with LGBTQ+ youth groups. There are several in Oxfordshire which offer support and also run fun drop-in sessions.
Topaz is an LGBTQ+ youth group which runs in Oxfordshire. It runs all over the county, linked to different youth groups, and supports young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, unsure or questioning. Find out more about Topaz here. Link up with Topaz on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TopazOxfordshire or Twitter @Topaz_LGBT or by emailing email@example.com to find out more, ask for support, and arrange to go to a meeting.
Oxford Pride holds an annual Parade and Festival in May/June with events throughout the year, and have lots of opportunities to get involved for all ages.
My Normal Oxfordshire has made a documentary about being LGBT in Oxfordshire:
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.