Same-sex attraction

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Sexuality can be confusing. Sometimes it can be more confusing if you find yourself attracted to someone who's the same sex as you. Being same-sex attracted (SSA) is normal, though. There are countless people who've been through the same experience, and there is a lot of help and advice out there.

What is Same-sex attraction?

People often describe themselves as homosexual, gay, queer, lesbian or SSA when they are physically, emotionally and sexually attracted to people of the same sex. People who 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, which can make things difficult. Just remember, there is nothing wrong with being SSA. It's not something to be "cured" or "fixed". It's 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.

There is a lot of information out there, including stories that other SSA people have shared about their own experiences. For more information, visit one of the websites listed under "Help and advice about same-sex attraction", below.

Remember that you don't have to deal with your questions or problems alone. If you're feeling concerned about anything to do with your sexuality, you can also contact the organisations listed below to speak to someone directly.

Coming out

Once you feel sure about your sexuality, you may want to consider telling somebody about it. This is often called "coming out". Telling someone, like a close friend or your parents, can be an important step for people, but you should only do it when you feel comfortable and ready to.

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.

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.

If you need someone to talk to anonymously about coming out, you can contact:

  • QLife (between 3pm and midnight daily) -  call 1800 184 527 or chat live at QLife webchat (new window) 
  • Lifeline (24 hrs) - 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline (24 hrs) - 1800 55 1800.

Dealing with homophobia

Unfortunately, homophobia is still a problem in Australia.

If you are experiencing or have experienced harassment, discrimination or assault because of homophobia, you don't have to put up with it. Remember - nobody deserves violence or harassment. 

Being harassed or being afraid someone will give you a hard time can be stressful. You don't need to deal with it on your own. Here are some ways to deal with harassment:

  • tell friends you trust
  • report the harassment to someone in authority (for example, a teacher, your boss, your parents, the police)
  • call a counselling service (see "Help and advice about same-sex attraction", below). 

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

Help and advice about same-sex attraction

The following organisations offer information, counselling and confidential advice: 

  • Minus 18 - Melbourne-based resource and support organisation for same-sex-attracted young people.
  • Wayout - Working with communities in rural Victoria to raise awareness about homophobia and provide a welcoming environment for same-sex-attracted young people.
  • QLife - National counselling and referral service for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex - call 1800 184 527 or chat live between 3pm and midnight daily.