Same-sex attraction

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Sometimes sexuality is confusing, particularly if you find yourself attracted to someone of the same sex. You aren't alone. Being same-sex attracted (SSA) is normal, and there are countless people who've been through the same thing you're going through.

What is SSA?

People might describe themselves as homosexual, gay, queer, lesbian or SSA when they find that they are physically, emotionally and sexually attracted to other people of the same sex. Those who find that they are attracted to both men and women often describe themselves as bisexual.

Some people have SSA experiences and feelings as part of exploring their sexuality. However, for people who go on to identify as SSA, there is a strong physical and emotional attraction to the same sex.

There's still a lot of homophobia and disapproval in society, and this can make things difficult. Just remember, there is nothing wrong with being SSA. It's not something to be 'cured' or 'fixed'. It is just a form of sexuality that - unfortunately - some people find hard to understand.

How do I know if I'm SSA?

Sexuality is never black and white. It's up to you to decide where you fit in. What's important is that you explore it patiently in a way that makes you feel comfortable and safe.

Remember that you don't have to deal with your questions or problems alone. Try talking to one of the confidential services listed below if you are feeling concerned.

Coming out

Once you feel sure about your sexuality, you may want to consider telling somebody about your feelings or 'coming out'. Telling someone, particularly a close friend or your parents, is often an important step for people, but you should only do it when you feel comfortable and you've thought everything through.

You may have a number of very legitimate fears about coming out, including:

  • Discrimination
  • Rejection
  • Loss of support
  • People you don't want to know finding out
  • Being verbally or physically abused
  • Being kicked out of home, or losing your parents' financial support

So why come out?

Some people find coming out an enormous relief because:

  • They don't feel so isolated
  • They feel accepted as themselves
  • They don't have to conceal things or lie to people anymore
  • Relationships can be more honest and open
  • They feel free and a lot happier

Many SSA people have found support and understanding when they told their parents and friends. Others have not. People can react in unexpected ways, which is why it's important to think carefully about when to come out and who to come out to.

If you need advice, the organisations listed at the end of this page are good places to start. 

Dealing with homophobia

Unfortunately, homophobia is still a problem in Australia.

If you are experiencing some form of harassment, discrimination, or even sexual or physical assault because of homophobia then no matter who is doing it or where it is, you don't have to put up with it.

This doesn't mean you have to take the law into your own hands. Sometimes it's easier to just ignore people who try to hassle you. However, nobody deserves violence or harassment.

How to deal with harassment

Being harassed or afraid that someone could give you a hard time can be isolating and at times terrifying. You don't need to deal with it on your own. Here are some ways to deal with harrassment:

  • Tell friends you trust
  • Report it to someone in authority (e.g., a teacher, your boss, your parents, the police)
  • Call a counselling service

For more about dealing with discrimination and harassment, check out our Discrimination and harassment page.

Links

Minus 18
Minus 18 is a Melbourne-based resource for same-sex-attracted teens who want advice and support, or just to have a sweet time and meet others like them. Their website includes information about coming out and homophobia.

Wayout
The Wayout Project works with communities in rural Victoria to raise awareness about homophobia and to provide an environment that is welcoming to same sex attracted young people.

Gay and Lesbian Switchboard
Confidential counselling service. Call (03) 9663 2939 (metropolitan areas) or 1800 184 527 (country Victoria). Counsellors are available Mon/Tue/Thur 6-10pm, Wed 2-10pm, Fri/Sat/Sun 6-9pm.

The Better Health Channel
The Victorian Government's health website contains general information on health and wellbeing issues, including sexuality.