What does ‘gay’ mean?

The word gay is often used to describe a guy who is attracted, both sexually and emotionally to other guys.  It can also be used to describe lesbian women, however in this section we will use the word gay to talk about guys.

It is normal to question your sexuality and part of growing up is discovering and learning about yourself.  It is also normal to have feelings towards other boys or men and to be attracted to other boys or men. 

Am I old enough to know?

Everyone is different and there is no right or wrong age to realise you are gay.  Sexuality can be fluid and you may be attracted to different people at different times in your life.

Young people are often told that they don’t know themselves well enough or should wait until they are older before they decide.  Many young men say they have known for a long time that they feel ‘different’ to other boys or men and they are aware of their attraction to other boys or men at a young age.  It’s okay to feel like this and it is okay to change your mind.  Sexuality does not need to be fixed forever – for some people it will be, and for others it might shift over time.

What do gay men look like?

Myths and stereotypes about gay men can lead people to believe that all men who identify as gay must look and act feminine (often referred to as camp).  Gay men are as varied and different as straight people, some may be camp but others may be very masculine or butch.  Being a gay man is not a way of life, it is a part of life.  Straight people are not defined just by who they are attracted to, so there is no reason why you should be.  Stereotypes don’t really define any individual; we are much too diverse for that! You can be exactly the person you want to be and should never feel pressure to act or look a certain way.

Is it normal?

There are still some messages out there that make us believe that it is not okay or normal for a guy to fancy another guy.  Some societies and communities do not accept this difference.  It is completely normal to have feelings for other guys and we can offer support and advice to help you feel more comfortable about who you are.