LGBT+

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In this section you will find information about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* issues, including terminology, coming out and organisations you can contact for support.

The first three letters (LGB) cover sexual orientation or sexuality. This is a description of who a person is attracted to romantically, emotionally, physically and/or sexually. There are five main sexualities:

  • If a person identifies as heterosexual or “Straight” then they are only attracted to people of the opposite sex as them, e.g. Male and Female.
  • If a person identifies as homosexual or “Gay/Lesbian” then they are only attracted to people of the same sex as them, e.g. Female and Female.
  • If a person identifies as bisexual then they are attracted to men and women, although not necessarily at the same time. For example, if a bisexual man is dating a woman then he is still bisexual, he is just in a relationship with a woman at the present time.
  • If a person identifies as pansexual then they are attracted to all genders, this means males, females, and those who identify as trans*, gender fluid, agendered, etc.
  • If a person identifies as Asexual then they do not feel attraction to anyone. They may form emotional or platonic (friendships) with others but they may not ever feel romantically or sexually attracted to others

The T is a description of a person’s Gender Identity. This is the way identifies and expresses their gender. Gender identity and sexual orientation is not linked and just because someone is Trans* does not make them gay by default, for example.

There are many words that come under the Trans* umbrella, but here are a few of the terms explained:

  • Transgender/Transsexual – a person who transitions (moves) permanently from one gender to another (usually male to female or vice versa)
  • Transvestite, Androgyne/Androgynous person – a person who dresses or expresses themselves through clothing, make-up or hair styles with items usually associated with the opposite sex, e.g., a woman with short hair who wear suits and very little make-up
  • Gender-fluid – a person who moves between genders or combines styles from different genders. This person may feel they are both males and female, neither, or a “third” gender
  • Agendered – a person who feels they do not have a gender or they do not “fit” into any pre-defined gender
  • Cisgender – a person who agrees with the gender that they were assigned at birth based on their sex, e.g. a male who agrees that they feel mentally, emotionally and physically male

The Trans* Umbrella and the gender bread Person/Unicorn are both very resources for understanding gender identity and expression. You can find them here: (WICID.tv cannot be held responsible for any sources from external sites).

Sexual Orientation

A person’s Sexual Orientation is the gender that they are romantically, emotionally, physically or sexually attracted to. Heterosexual or straight people are attracted to people of the opposite biological sex to themselves (male and female), whereas a homosexual or gay person is attracted to someone of the same sex as them (male and male /female and female). There are people who are Bisexual, meaning they are attracted to both sexes and there are people who are pansexual, meaning they are attracted to all genders (Male, Female, Fluid, Both, Neither, etc). There are also people who do not feel any attraction to anyone – they are known as Asexual.

People are often treated differently, harassed or even attacked for their sexual orientation or gender identity but it’s important to remember that there is nothing wrong with you and there are millions of people who feel the same way as you do. It is estimated that 10-15% of the world’s population are LGB! Although there is debate, many scientists believe that sexual Orientation is very likely to be something you are born with, like your eye colour or skin colour – It’s just a part of what makes you, you!

If you are struggling with bullying, coming to terms with your sexuality, or have been a victim of Hate then you can contact Stonewall’s Information Line on 08000 50 20 20 for free, confidential advice. Remember, in an emergency always contact 999 or for a non-emergency you can contact the emergency services on 101.

Gender Identity

A person’s gender identity is how they choose to define their gender, whether that be male, female or other. Some people feel they are assigned the wrong gender at birth and decide to transition from one gender to another (Trans*). There are many terms within the Trans* community and this is expanding, the Trans* Umbrella is a great information tool.

A person may not want to transition fully to the opposite gender but may choose to just express their gender in a different way. The Genderbread Person is a really good example of the difference between biological sex, identity and expression.

Gender Identity and Trans* issues are receiving more media attention which is raising awareness of the issues they face. Some good TV shows to watch out for include MTV Laverne Cox: the T Word, and TLC’s I Am Jazz. It’s important to note that Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are not linked – a Trans* Man (a women who has or is in the process of becoming a man) can be gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual or Asexual, just like anyone else.

The following organisations can provide you with more information on Trans* issues and offer support, advice and guidance.

Mermaids

The Beaumont Society

Youth Cymru’s Trans*form project 

If you are struggling with bullying, coming to terms with your sexuality, or have been a victim of Hate then you can contact Stonewall’s Information Line on 08000 50 20 20 for free, confidential advice. Remember, in an emergency always contact 999 or for a non-emergency you can contact the emergency services on 101.

Coming Out

When a person is ready they may choose to tell people about their sexuality and/or gender identity, this is called: “Coming out”. It can be an emotional and turbulent time in a person’s life as they may feel worried, anxious or scared about how their friends and family will react and treat them.

LGBT+ people often need more protection as a minority group due to discrimination and prejudice known as Homophobia (also see Biphobia and Transphobia), this is “an irrational hatred, fear or intolerance to gay people that often leads to discrimination, prejudice or violence” (Stonewall). In England and Wales, there were nearly 6600 hate crimes reported against LGBT people between 2014/15, and it is rising. LGB teenagers are twice as likely as their straight peers to be homeless and for Trans* people it is quadruple the likelihood. The suicide and self-harm rates are also similar to this statistic.

In the UK, we have laws that protect LGBT+ people from discrimination – the main one is the Equality Act 2010. This covers everyone who has a protected characteristic from discrimination. There are seven protected characteristics:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Disability
  • Gender Identity
  • Race
  • Religion or Faith

There are also laws to protect people in work, at home and in the provision of goods and services. Basically, it is illegal to fire someone for being gay, to refuse to rent a flat to a Lesbian couple or to not sell someone something because they are Trans, for example.

School can be more difficult for LGBT+ people because of bullying. Have you ever heard anyone describe a chair as: “gay” because they didn’t like the colour? Or use it when what they really mean is something is stupid? “That’s so gay” is not an acceptable phrase to use 1) it’s offensive because it is always used in a negative way, as if being gay is a bad thing and 2) because it doesn’t make any sense! After all, how can a chair be gay?

The RCT Youth Engagement and Participation Service is committed to Equality and Diversity and creating safe spaces across all of our provision for young people no matter who they are or what they believe. We are working across schools and the Education service with Stonewall to increase awareness of LGBT issues, provide more quality support to young people, signpost to reliable, up-to-date information, and to empower young people from minority groups such as the LGBT+ community more to use their voices.

Stonewall, the largest LGBT organisation in the UK, has a campaign called #NoBystanders ** where you can pledge to never stand-by to any type of bullying or name calling (**some strong and offensive language). Rhondda Cynon Taf council has signed this pledge and we encourage everyone to say NO to all types of bullying.

Every year on October 11th we celebrate National Coming Out Day which helps raise awareness globally about the challenges LGBT+ people still face, but we also celebrate how LGBT people have shaped history by being themselves. You can watch loads of Coming Out stories on YouTube and the Human Rights Convention Watch has any speeches by famous LGBT people, including Cotton Haynes and Ellen Page. Stonewall have a Coming Out Guide for young people and Parents and Sheffield‘s Sexual Health Team publish a very good information guide called ‘Stepping Out’

If you are struggling with bullying, coming to terms with your sexuality, or have been a victim of Hate then you can contact Stonewall’s Information Line on 08000 50 20 20 for free, confidential advice. Remember, in an emergency always contact 999 or for a non-emergency you can contact the emergency services on 101.

Here is a list of services that can offer information, advice and support Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and other LGBT+ Issues:

Stonewall Cymru

Stonewall is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity in the United Kingdom named after the Stonewall Inn of Stonewall riots fame in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Now it is the largest LGBT rights organisation in Europe.

For help, guidance or more information about Stonewall, call our information service on:
08000 50 20 20

MermaidsUK

Mermaids is passionate about supporting children, young people, and their families to achieve a happier life in the face of great adversity. We work to raise awareness about gender issues amongst professionals and the general public. We campaign for the recognition of gender dysphoria in young people and lobby for improvements in professional services.

Website: http://www.mermaidsuk.org.uk/

Beaumont Society

The Beaumont Society is a national self help body run by and for the transgender community.

Website: http://www.beaumontsociety.org.uk/


Unique Transgender

UNIQUE Transgender Network is a voluntary group supporting Trans* (transgender) people in North Wales & West Cheshire.

http://www.uniquetg.org.uk/

Further links: http://www.uniquetg.org.uk/translinks.html

 

Trans*form

Trans*Form Cymru is a three year project funded by the Welsh Government to empower and support trans* young people to access their rights and to provide support to youth-facing organisations to address discrimination and exclusion often experienced by trans* young people.
Trans*Form Cymru is led by a Steering Group of young people who all identify on the trans* spectrum.

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