It can be difficult to talk about sex to our parents and even more difficult if you are gay or transgendered. Most parents would rather not think about their children as sexual beings, and many dismiss this whole aspect of their children's development. Unless you had a particularly open and safe relationship with a member of the clergy, you're not likely to take the problem there. And teachers are usually not an option. With friends you run the risk of being ostracized or, even worse, harassed and physically assaulted. Identifying where you can get help is critical at this point in your life and, unfortunately, it may be up to you to find that person.
Your health and safety concerns are much the same as other young adults, but while acne and raging hormones are issues, there are other matters that you may experience at a much higher level. They include depression, substance abuse, anxiety, trauma, and suicide. It's not liklely that you are personally affected by all of these things; however, if you see yourself in one or more of the following definitions, you should contact a supportive health provider. (Information about how to do that is provided after each definition.)
40% of teenagers have attempted or seriously contemplated suicide. That's more than twice that of heterosexual teens . LGBT teenagers who have been harassed because of their orientation are almost twice as likely to have made a suicide plan as those who had not. And LGBT youth were four times as likely as straight teens to have made a suicide attempt in the past year that was serious enough to have been treated by a doctor or a nurse. If you have considered or planned suicide, check these sources for help or contact your local Gay & Lesbian support center. [NOTE: If you feel you are transgendered, you need not be concerned about whether or not contact with a gay and lesbian group will stigmatize you. These organizations recognize the need for confidentiality and are very supportive of the unique needs of 'trans' people.]
Hate crimes committed against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals make up the third-highest category of hate crimes reported to the FBI. Reactions to a hate crime include denial or pretending it never happened. YOu might experience physical problems like headaches, insomnia, change in appetite, irritability, withdrawal and sexual difficulties. Whatever the response, if you have been the victim od a hate crime you need to find someone safe to tell about the incident. Talking about it can help you understand what happened and recover from it. The important thing to remember is that it was not your fault. You have the right to be who you are, wherever and whenever you choose. The person who violates that right is the guilty party. For more about how to deal with a hate crime, go to the Seattle & King County Health site.
As a sexual minority teenager you are more likely to be physically assaulted at home than a heterosexual teen and nearly five times as likely as straight youth to be attacked because someone thinks you're gay. Almost half of young gay males and 20% of young lesbians are verbally or physically assaulted in school and you are more likely than straight youth to have been in a fight at school, and three times as likely to have required treatment by a doctor or nurse afterwards. How you deal with such assault will determine the likelihood of it continuing. Here are some resources to help you.
We know that LGBT youth are more likely to witness violence as well as to be perpetrators of it and in some instances, prostitution and homelessness result. This need not be the case. There are many resources available. If you have left home or been forced to leave home because of homophobic or transphobic family situations or family violence, check out these:
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
The incidence of alcohol and other substance use and misuse is higher among LGBT youth. To find resources in your area, check the