Questioning your sexuality; how to find support when you need it

It's LGBT History Month; a time to put the spotlight on LGBTQ issues and to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. 

The Student Room has a buzzing LGBTQ community, with lots of chat and advice in the relationships forum

Here, TSR members ivybridge, Transtorm, Rainbow Student, ForgetMe and The_Lonely_Goatherd - as well as some anonymous users - talk about their experience of coming out, and the support they would offer to others. 

Coming out: finding help and support

Coming out is a different experience for everyone. For some, support might not be readily available.

I didn't really intend to come out, I was 'outed' by somebody I had confided in. During this whole process, I had very few indefinitely supportive friends and only, really, one or two teachers that stood behind me. 

I didn't really have any support from anywhere. I did it on my own and the few friends I had that were supportive simply just said "it's okay" but I didn't expect them, even then, to understand too well or know what to say.

ivybridge

But even if, like ivybridge, you find you lack the support of those around you, there are networks that can be helpful for advice and a friendly ear to confide in. 

If you're out but struggling with it either due to negative reactions or internally then seek help. There is no shame in saying that you need help over your sexual or gender identity. 

For gender identity Gendered Intelligence and Gires are good for material on dealing with family and yourself.

Transtorm

The most helpful support I've ever had is my friends and a group called The Facebook Transgender Alliance (FTA). Seriously, check it out, it's amazing.

Rainbow Student

If you do want to tell people but are unsure of how to do it, perhaps a face-to-face conversation isn't what you need. 

If you're finding it difficult to tell people then you can write them a letter instead. This gives you a chance to word it correctly and not panic in the moment.

Transtorm

While, for other people, coming out isn't something they feel they have to do. 

I just feel like it's not that important since it hasn't changed me as a person and there's nothing wrong being gay, so I feel if they ever ask me and if I'll want, I will tell them or any other people.

ForgetMe
More on TSR:
Check out the Relationships forum for chat and advice 
I can't come out 
MOGAI vs. LGBTQIAP+

Getting help from others' experiences

No matter what life might throw at you, you're never alone. The internet is full of websites that can help answer your questions. 

"When it comes to exploring your sexuality I think hearing other people's experiences and being able to go 'huh, yeah, that's really similar to me,' is a great help," says an anonymous TSR member.

"Some online resources such as Tumblr are useful because of the varied experiences available and general culture of acceptance. AVEN is also really great for just explaining things in a really logical and simple way." 

LGBTQ conversation on The Student Room

The Student Room is quite useful if you need somebody to chat to who'd get it and understand where you are coming from.

ivybridge

There is tons of LGBTQ conversation on The Student Room. This discussion on coming out stories is a good place to start. 

Here's some more advice from the community for people with questions about their sexuality.

There is only one you in the world, no one else, so claim that and own it! Be proud and take care of yourself. You are fabulous

Rainbow Student

Don't feel pressured to yell to the world about your sexuality. If you are not sure what to expect, first ask questions what they think about gay people and their views

ForgetMe

Sexuality's a thing you figure out as you grow up, and you don't need to feel like you have to go out there and date someone of the same gender to be not-straight.

Anonymous

And some advice they would give their younger selves... 

Seriously don't bother worrying about your sexuality too much, and stop trying to put all of those exciting labels onto yourself.

Anonymous

It's OK to be confused and that there's no need to label oneself right away, or even at all.

The_Lonely_Goatherd

Do not give a single damn about people's ignorant opinions about you, and don't listen to the gas-lighting and invalidation. You know yourself best. Be you. And embrace yourself.

Rainbow Student

Share your experiences, advice and messages of inspiration in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you!
 

More on TSR: 
'Coming out' as LGBT+ Stories and Support 
Join in the general LGBT chat here 
Need some support on your relationship? Ask your question in the relationships forum