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Sex, gender, sexuality and sexual orientation

There’s a whole lot of words and concepts to get to grips when talking about sex and sexuality

Biological sex

That means whether you’re male, female or intersex (people with both male and female reproductive organs or external sexual characteristics).

Gender and gender identity

Gender means whether you’re legally male or female. Do you see yourself masculine, feminine, neither or both? If you’re transgender your biological sex and your gender identity don’t match.

Sexuality

Is about a whole lot more than sex, it covers your body and body image, your gender, your feelings, who you’re attracted to and what you want you want from life, love and sex.

Sexual orientation

Your teenage years are a time of discovery and experimentation, and one of the things you’ll be finding out about is who you’re romantically and sexually attracted to (called your ‘sexual orientation’).

You might find you’re:

  • straight/heterosexual – fancy the opposite sex
  • gay/lesbian/homosexual – fancy the same sex
  • bisexual – fancy both

Some young people know their sexual orientation from an early age, others take longer to work it out. Sexual orientation can change too.

Feeling confused about your sexual orientation, can make you:

  • anxious
  • angry
  • confused
  • frustrated

This is dead normal. Don’t worry, stress or feel under pressure from family or friends.

Whatever you are, you know best and it’s OK. Be proud of who you are, regardless of what anyone might say.

Top tips for getting help

People illustration

Go at your own pace when it comes to exploring your sexuality.

If you’re struggling with your sexuality, you have to start by being honest with yourself. Otherwise, you can’t hope to make sense to other people, if you want their support and understanding. We’re not saying it’s easy though!

Question illustration

If you have questions about sex and sexuality, speak to an adult that you trust such as your parents, school nurse or your doctor. There's no such thing as a stupid question.

More helpful info

Got questions about your sexuality? Yorkshire MESMAC is one the largest sexual health organisations in the UK. Take a look a the different Bradford community groups on the MESMAC website.

Stonewall , the well-established charity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, also has a great youth website.

LGBT Youth Scotland has loads of helpful online advice to help you think through issues.

If you think you’re gay and are struggling to talk to your parents about it, then check out the Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays’ (FFLAG) website.

Local support & information

Bradford and Airedale Sexual Health (BASH)

BASH is your one-stop-shop for sexual health services within the Bradford and Airedale area. Take a look at www.bashbradford.org.uk to see what services are available.

You can contact the BASH team on 030 3330 9500

Bradford Lesbian and Gay Youth (BLAGY)

BLAGY is an informal and fun group for young people between the ages of 14 and 25 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or who are questioning their sexuality. Take a look at Yorkshire MESMAC for more information.

You can speak to the BLAGY team on 01274 395 815

or blagy@mesmac.co.uk

Sound Group

It is a group in Bradford for young people aged 13-19 (up to 25 with disabilities) who are LGBT and they can bring their friends. The group meets every Monday evening and offers a safe, confidential and supportive place where you can meet other young people.

You can speak to the Sound Group team on 01274 432 658

or sound@bradford.gov.uk or follow on their twitter @SoundYouthGroup.

Leeds City Centre Transtastic Transgender Group

Support Group for 13—25 year olds who are or think they are Transgender.

For more information you can contact Lisa Carlin on 0113 2423 213 or Kevin Donnelly on 07891 271 049

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