Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I know if I’m gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender?
- I recently realized I’m gay, but I was raised very religious and was wondering what this means for my faith?
- Should I have sex with my partner?
- I feel like I’m a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Is there something wrong with me?
- I have a crush on a friend from school. How do I know if the friend likes me back?
- I think I might have put myself at risk for HIV. How do I know?
- I want to get tested for HIV but I don’t have any money and can’t ask my parents. What should I do?
- How do I have safer sex?
- Can you tell me more about the different types of STIs and how I can prevent them?
- I’m from a small town and don’t know anyone else who is GLBTQ. I’m feeling really alone. How can I meet other people like me?
- How can I begin a youth group in my area?
- Do you have information on dealing with being both gay and a youth of color?
- I recently came out and now I’m constantly being bullied at school. What should I do to stop being harassed?
- When is the right time to come out to my family?
- How can I help my parents become more accepting of GLBTQ issues?
- My family is totally unaccepting of me and I’m thinking of running away.
- I get so stressed out that I cut and burn myself, how can I stop?
- I think one of my friends is being abused by their partner. What do I do?
- I’m a survivor of sexual assault. Where can I go for help?
- I feel really alone and I have suicidal thoughts.
- I had unprotected sex with a guy last night and now I’m worried I might be pregnant. What should I do?
- Where can I find information on body image and eating disorders?
- Can I submit an article or my personal story to YouthResource?
- How can I volunteer for Advocates for Youth?
- Are there any scholarships available for GLBTQ students?
- I’m working on a school project on GLBTQ youth. Can you refer me to some good resources?
Q: How do I know if I’m gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender?
A: Figuring out your sexual orientation and gender identity can be very confusing and overwhelming. It is totally normal to question your sexuality and gender identity. Check out our sections for:
- gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young men:
- lesbian, bisexual, and questioning young women:
- bisexual and questioning youth
- transgender youth
Q: I recently realized I’m gay, but I was raised very religious and was wondering what this means for my faith?
A: Exploring your religion and how it relates to your sexuality can be a complex, personal experience. YouthResource has a whole section on faith! It discusses various faiths and stories from the GLBTQ youth who practice those faiths.
Q: Should I have sex with my partner?
A: There is no ‘should’ when it comes to sex. You and your partner need to discuss together whether or not you are both ready for sex. It’s OK to decide you aren’t ready- there are many other ways to enjoy your time together. If you decide that you are ready, be open about your past experiences and sexual history! Honesty and communication are important in safer sex. Visit our section on safer sex. Learn about how to communicate with your partner and how to use protection if you decide to have sex.
Q: I feel like I’m a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Is there something wrong with me?
A: Questioning your gender identity is a completely normal, healthy thing to do. Check out our section on transgender living. You’ll find plenty of info and resources to help you through this.
Q: I have a crush on a friend from school. How do I know if the friend likes me back?
A: Well, the only way to be completely sure is to ask how he or she feels about you. However, maybe you should first find out how the friend feels about GLBTQ folk in general. If the friend doesn’t seem too comfortable about GLBTQ people, then it might be safer for you to keep your crush to yourself. We have a feature on communicating with others. You might also want to look up a youth group in your area to meet other GLBTQ youth, who can probably relate to your relationship concerns.
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Q: I think I might have put myself at risk for HIV. How do I know?
A: Learn how HIV is transmitted and how and where to get tested!
Q: I want to get tested for HIV but I don’t have any money and can’t ask my parents. What should I do?
A: Call one of the following hotlines. They operate 24 hours a day and they are confidential, and can tell you where to get tested in your area. Many clinics offer free testing, and counselors can answer your questions about how to protect yourself in the future.
1-800-342-AIDS (1-800-342-2437) English
1-800-344-SIDA (1-800-3447432) Spanish
1-800-AIDS-TTY (1-800-243-7889) TTY
Q: How do I have safer sex?
A: It’s great that you want to be as informed as possible on how to have safer sex. It’s crucial to your health and your partner’s health! Visit our section on safer sex to find out about contraception, HIV and STIs, and how to communicate with your partner about having safer sex.
Q: Can you tell me more about the different types of STIs and how I can prevent them?
A: Sure! There are at least 19 million new cases of STIs every year, so it is definitely important to stay informed about how to protect yourself from them. We have a section that lists different types of STIs, their symptoms, and how they are treated.
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Q: I’m from a small town and don’t know anyone else who is GLBTQ. I’m feeling really alone. How can I meet other people like me?
A: First check out our feature on rural GLBTQ youth, where you might read some stories you can relate to. Then, look up some youth groups in your area.
Q: How can I begin a youth group in my area?
A: First, see if there already are youth groups near you. If there aren’t, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC) can give you suggestions on organizing at http://www.nyacyouth.org/ and GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) can help you set up a GLBTQ group in your high school (http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2226.html).
Q: Do you have information on dealing with being both gay and a youth of color?
A: Yes! Visit our entire section on gay youth of color with stories, and articles about homophobia within communities of color.
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Q: I recently came out and now I’m constantly being bullied at school. What should I do to stop being harassed?
A: Is there a teacher, administrator, or social worker at your school whom you can trust? Try talking to them for ideas on how to stop the bullying without resorting to violence. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, read our safe schools information. Advocates for Youth as a Safe Spaces ToolKit, and the ACLU also has a safer schools kit here: http://gbge.aclu.org/. Remember that everyone deserves equal access to education and has the right to feel safe and comfortable in school.
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Q: When is the right time to come out to my family?
A: For GLBTQ youth, coming out to parents is a decision with potentially life-altering consequences. While most all youth hope for their parents’ acceptance, many fear rejection. Read our article here on thigns to think about before talking to your family.
Q: How can I help my parents become more accepting of GLBTQ issues?
A: PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays) is there to support your loved ones and may offer meetings in your area. Check their web site for more information.
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Q: My family is totally unaccepting of me and I’m thinking of running away.
A: Running away is very dangerous– you could end up homeless and living on the streets. There are people out there who can help you. Call 1-800-999-9999 (The Nine Line) or 1-800-231-6946 (National Runaway Switchboard). Both are GLBTQ-friendly and will give you some great advice. Calls are free and confidential.
Q: I get so stressed out that I cut and burn myself, how can I stop?
A: Sometimes stress can be incredibly overwhelming, but there are better alternatives to dealing with stress during difficult times. YouthResource has an article on self-injury. There is also a free, confidential hotline at 1-800-DONTCUT.
Q: I think one of my friends is being abused by their partner. What do I do?
A: Dating violence is serious and occurs in same-sex relationships as often as in heterosexual relationships, but sadly it is often overlooked. However, there are resources out there to help you and your friend. Visit our section on dating violence for information on warning signs, healthy relationships, and hotlines for survivors of abuse.
Q: I’m a survivor of sexual assault. Where can I go for help?
A: Sexual assault is a serious concern among GLBTQ youth. Go to our section on sexual assault for articles about sexual assault, working to end dating violence, and several hotlines that can help you. You may also want to check out RAINN’s website (The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) at http://www.rainn.org/ for help.
Q: I feel really alone and I have suicidal thoughts.
A: You aren’t alone and there is help for you! If you’re thinking of ending your life, call the Trevor Project at 1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7387), 24/7. It’s specifically for GLBTQ youth in crisis. There is also the National Hopeline Network, 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). And read YouthResource’s feature on depression.
Q: I had unprotected sex with a guy last night and now I’m worried I might be pregnant. What should I do?
A: Unplanned pregnancy is a concern for young women who have sex with women more often than many people realize. Fortunately, emergency contraception (EC)is an option that can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Find more information on EC! Emergency contraception should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex occurs. Keep in mind that it doesn’t prevent STIs or HIV, and you should get tested.
Q: Where can I find information on body image and eating disorders?
A: The way we see ourselves and feel about our bodies can have a huge impact on our lives. It’s normal to not feel 100% confident all the time, but too much negativity about your appearance can lead to eating disorders. Read our features on body image and eating disorders.
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Q: Can I submit an article or my personal story to YouthResource?
A: Yes! We want to hear from you. Email us with your article or story.
Q: How can I volunteer for Advocates for Youth?
A: Check out the Advocates for Youth internships page and sign up for the Youth Activist Network!
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Q: Are there any scholarships available for GLBTQ students?
A: There sure are! Scholarships are available for both high school and college students, and they are listed here: http://www.lgbtfunders.org/seekers/form.cfm. Also, FastWeb (http://www.fastweb.com/) is great for finding scholarships. When you write your profile, make sure to include your sexual orientation to learn about GLBTQ-related scholarships.
Q: I’m working on a school project on GLBTQ youth. Can you refer me to some good resources?
A: Sure! Check out Advocates for Youth’s section on GLBTQ youth. Good luck!