What is sexuality?
Sexuality is about your sexual feelings, thoughts, attractions and behaviours towards other people. You can find other people physically, sexually or emotionally attractive, and all those things are a part of your sexuality. Your sexuality influences who you’re attracted to (sexual preference) and your thoughts and feelings about sex. It should develop from birth but most of us become aware of our sexuality when we become a teenager.
Generally speaking, there are three main types of sexual preference, gay (men and women), bisexual and heterosexual.
- Gay men and women (also called lesbians) are sexually attracted to people of the same gender
- Bisexual men and women are attracted to either or both gender
- Heterosexual people are attracted to people of the opposite gender
These three ‘boxes’ are by no means the only types of sexual preference! People can freely identify themselves in a number of different ways including queer, pansexual, asexual, gender-queer and more.
You now have decided that you don’t want to stay hidden about your sexuality. Telling people about your sexuality is called coming out. You don’t have to feel forced to tell anyone you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans. You don’t need to if you don’t want to. It’s up to you who you tell, but you might feel happier if you can be honest about who you really are.
Lots of people that you tell will be really positive and will be proud of you for telling them.Many of them might even be flattered that you trust them enough to tell. Sadly, not everyone will be so positive and supportive. You should be prepared for some negative reactions and understand that this may be a difficult thing for some people to understand or come to terms with.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans support organisations across the world who are there to offer a helping hand, a friendly ear, and who have vast experience of helping people just like you.
Do’s of coming out
When a person wants to reveal themselves, they just want to be honest about who they are, especially with the people they love.
All situations there will be positive and negative effects of coming out, and when looking at the best way to do it, it’s almost impossible for anyone to give a perfect guide to the event.
Contact a support organisation.
Unfortunately in Malaysia, The LGBT+ Government Foundation doesn’t exist. However, thanks to technology, there are multiple online platforms for the LGBTQ+ community. It is known that one in four of their messages is about issues related to coming out.
- Always ask a trusted friend, teacher or LGBT worker for support. You might want to test the water with trusted friends by talking about subjects relating to sexuality before you’re ready to pour your heart out. People don’t always react the way you think they will. This might discourage you from coming out!
- Be honest and respectful to your own feelings as well as those of your family and friends. When you’re finding out about fabulous new friends and surrounding yourself with all kinds of gay influences to make up for a lost time – don’t forget about those who have always been there for you.
Never forget to ask yourself why is now the best time to come out? If you’ve got other stresses going on in your life; exams, flatmates, work, school, friends, family etc, now may not be the best time as many would divert the topic.
Don’ts of coming out
- Don’t let the reactions and feelings of others influence you. It’s easy to be influenced if you’re feeling unsure or insecure about something, but you know deep down what’s right for you, regardless of what someone else says. Go for it and stand your ground!
- Don’t stand in the closet until someone opens the door. There’s always an opportunity where someone will lead the way into a conversation. It’s up to you if you want to jump in or out. Seize the opportunity!
- Don’t be frightened about coming out. There’s lots of support available. This is not going to be the end! Some will ignore and others will embrace you. Be prepared for both!
How will you tell people?
Everyone will have their own preference when it comes to choosing how to come out. The end goals here are to feel relieved and free!
The most obvious way is to sit down in person and talk. The benefits of coming out this way are that you’ll be able to answer any questions they may have, and also get some comfort or reassurance if you need it. It may feel daunting but once you’ve told one person it really does start to feel easier.
Some people may choose to send an email or text as this will give the person time to process what you’re telling them before they respond.
Some people have used social media to come out. Although this method of coming out means you’ll probably only need to do it once, it also takes away the opportunity to have those personal conversations with those who are close to you.
But remember: there is no right or wrong way to come out.
Not that much has changed…
You are still you. You still shop at the places you did before, hang with the people you did before, listened to the same music you did before. Why?
Because YOU were being YOU all along. The sooner you realize that you are no different, and have great things to offer in life, the sooner others will begin realizing that and treating you as such. You were you, you’ve always been you, and you should ALWAYS BE YOU!
For those of you who have already experimented with your sexuality, or frankly put, been “adventurous”, do note that getting yourself checked for Sexually transmitted disease (STD) is extremely important.
Let’s face it, we all know that STDs spreads like wildfire in the gay community, and this is nothing to be shamed about. In fact, we should always be prepared and keep healthy lifestyles. Having fun is one but getting infected is another. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been rising among gay and bisexual men, with increases in syphilis being seen across the country.
Come and get tested if you have doubts. DO NOT SELF TREAT!
Some STDs (like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis) can be cured with medication. If you are ever treated for an STD, be sure to finish all of your medicine, even if you feel better. Your partner should be tested and treated, too. It is important to remember that you can get the same or a new STD every time you have unprotected sex (not using a condom) and/or have sex with someone who has an STD.
Other STDs like herpes and HIV cannot be cured, but you can take medicines to manage symptoms.
Talk to us if you have further questions on this matter and we will be happy to help you.