This snapshot, taken on
03/10/2012
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
 
 
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.

Website of the UK government

Please note that this website has a UK government accesskeys system.

Public services all in one place

Main menu

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Sexuality

If you think you're gay or a lesbian, you may be worried about how people will react if you tell them.

The basics

The word homosexual describes people who are sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Men who are attracted to other men are usually called gay men, and women who are attracted to other women are called lesbians. People who like both men and women are called bisexual.

Am I gay?

Understanding your sexuality and becoming comfortable with it can sometimes be a confusing experience. A lot of people feel drawn towards a member of the same sex when they're growing up, but not all of them are bisexual, gay or a lesbian.

If you do think you may be gay, remember that there's no reason to feel embarrassed about it. You don't choose your sexuality, so there's no reason to feel that you're doing something wrong.

Coming out

You may want to tell people about your sexuality or 'come out' if you feel comfortable, but don't feel you have to. There isn't a set time when you should have told your family and friends about your sexuality, and some people decide not to tell anyone at all.

Although you may want to ask friends for advice, only you will be able to judge when is the right time to tell people about your sexuality, so don't let anyone pressure you into doing it before you're ready.

Bullying

Unfortunately, a small minority of people can be bullied or victimised because of their sexuality. This can happen at school, college or at work.

If you are being bullied because of your sexuality, you should not accept it. Tell someone who can do something to stop it, like a teacher or a manager at work.

Help and advice

If you'd like to speak to someone about your feelings, most areas of the country have regional helplines that can give you advice and information. Look in your local phone book for their number.

If you're after free and confidential advice about sex and relationships, you may also want to call the Sexwise helpline. The number is 0800 28 29 30 and it's open seven days a week from 7am until midnight.

Access keys