LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer or Questioning. You may identify as one or more of these categories. It’s okay to feel confused about yourself and who you are attracted to. Here are what these terms mean:
Lesbian - “a woman who is primarily attracted to other women."
Gay - “A person who is attracted primarily to members of the same sex."
Bisexual - Often shortened to “bi”. “A person who is attracted to both people of their own gender and another gender”
Transgender - Also called “trans”. “A person whose gender identity is different from their biological sex”. A transgender individual may undergo medical treatments in order to align their biological parts with their desired gender, or may simply just live their life as their identified gender.
Queer - An umbrella term LGBTQ people use to refer to the LGBT community as a whole.
Questioning - "the process of exploring and discovering one's own sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression."
For more on these definitions and for the meaning of other terms of gender and sexual identity: LGBT Terms and Definitions -International Spectrum
I think I might be Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual?
Realizing who you are attracted can be a confusing time. While society often makes us think that boys liking girls and girls liking boys is the only “normal” way, being attracted to the same sex, or both sexes, is also normal. It is also important to remember that you do not have to pick one of these terms to define yourself if you don’t want to.
Here are some resources to help you figure out how you might be feeling and what you want your next steps to be.
I Think I Might Be Transgender?
Do you feel like you’re stuck in the wrong body? If you identify with a different gender than the biological sex you were born into, you may consider yourself transgender. Here are some resources to help you sort out your feelings and tell your parents, and live the life you want to. Check out additional resources here.
- Youth and Education - Trans Youth Equality -Resources for your rights and how to deal with school as a trans teen
Check out other sections of the Trans Youth Equality website too!
If you have sex with people of the same sex, remember you are still at risk for STDs and it’s important to use appropriate protection.
- Read this booklet if you’re a guy interested in having sex with other boys for tips and ways to have safe and enjoyable sex- Gay & Bisexual Men Sex -AVERT
- Check this out if you’re a girl interested in having sex with other girls- Why Should Lesbians Think About Safe Sex? -AVERT
It might be interesting for you to know that gay teens have a higher rate of pregnancy than straight teens! It’s believed when gay teens do have sex with someone of the opposite sex, they are riskier and do not use protection. Remember to check out our sections on Birth Control and STDs in order to protect yourself fully with any partner.
If you feel like you are being bullied or discriminated against in school because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you are protected under The New York State Dignity for All Students Act. This protects you against bullying and discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender, as well as other characteristics of who you are. Learn more in our bullying section.
Resources for LGBTQ Youth
Trevor Space - social network for LGBTQ youth around the world
Receiving LGBTQ appropriate healthcare - Out for Health
It Gets Better Project - compiles personal stories about individuals who struggled with their identity and “coming out”
Human Rights Campaign – advocates for rights of LGBTQ youth and provides resources
Feeling sad and lonely is common among LGBTQ youth as they start to figure out who they are. If you are feeling depressed, it is important to find someone to talk to about these feelings. LGB youths are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers and nearly half of transgender people have seriously considered suicide. There is help for you.
- Try to talk to your family or friends if you think they would be understanding and helpful. It might be useful to see these tips for coming out.
- Make an appointment with your school counselor to talk.
Here are hotlines you can call for support if you are feeling depressed, suicidal, or just want to talk.
The Trevor Project LGBTQ Lifeline - 866-488-7386
For LGBTQ teens who may be struggling with problems and thoughts of suicide. Will connect you with a trained volunteer.
Online chat service to serve LGBTQ teens who want to talk.
- Available 7 days a week from 3pm-9pm ET
- TrevorText- Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200
- Available on Fridays 4pm-8pm ET
- Standard text messaging rates
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Speak with a trained counselor in the area who will listen to you and connect you with nearby services.
- Available 24/7
- Can help you with any type of problem, not just suicidal thoughts
- Confidential and free
- For Spanish speaking:1-800-628-9454
The GLBT National Help Center Youth Talkline - 1-800-246-PRIDE (7743)
- Free and confidential
- Monday-Friday 4pm-midnight, Sat 12noon-5pm
Resources in and around Rockland Community for LGBTQ Youth
- 120 N Main Street Suite 301, New City, NY, 845-634-6677
- TRUST weekly support group for LGBTQ high school students and allies.
- Trans Youth Group meets monthly for help and support to trans youth.
- 77 South Main Street New City, NY
- LGBT-friendly trained volunteers offer counseling services for LGBTQ individuals and their families.
- Support Groups - Lesbians, Gay Men, Transgender adult, Transgender Youth
- Sponsors Rockland County Pride
- (845) 268-2373
- Programs and support groups for LGBTQ individuals, families, and friends
- Advocacy and education on LGBTQ issues
- Events, resources, and advocacy for LGBTQ people
Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center, Inc. (The Loft)
- 252 Bryant Avenue White Plains, NY (Westchester County), 914-948-2932
- 914-948-4922 Helpline
- Hosts services and programs for LGBTQ community- social events for individuals and families, cyber center, education and advocacy on LGBTQ issues
- Support groups and educational workshops
- Newsletter on local LGBTQ events and news
My friend is LGBTQ and came out to me. What do I do?
It is important to understand that this is a big step for your friend. Whether they came out to just you, or to a group of people, you should be proud that they trust you enough to tell you this.
Remember to respect your friend’s wishes. It is not your job to tell anyone else that he/she is LGBTQ. Ask your friend if they need any help with anything, or if they want to talk about it. Remember to not be pushy.
Don’t forget to thank your friend for telling you and to tell them that you are proud of them. Remind him/her that you are there for them regardless. It’s important to put behind any personal feelings on LGBTQ individuals and just be there for your friend. You care about them and want to support them.
Here are some resources to help you understand what LGBTQ means and what your friend might be dealing with: