QUEERIES

This is our young person’s LGBTQ+ FAQ, asked by our community and responded to by them as well!

This is just some of the questions we’ve come across so far, and there’s some that don’t have responses yet – if you’ve got something you think may be helpful to post then just scroll down to the bottom of the page to submit it

There may be different responses from different people, and that’s OK! We all find different things helpful and different responses may prompt us to think about things in new ways. This page isn’t about finding that one concrete piece of advice that solves the problem forever (it doesn’t exist, sorry… we’ve looked!) but about sharing tips and experiences and things that may helped you in the past. What works for some people may not work for you, and vica versa, so take everything with a pinch of salt as they say!

Got a question yourself? Submit it at the bottom of the page and we’ll put it out to the community.

We’ll keep anything you send in completely anonymous!

QUEERIES

She says she can’t call me anything that what’s on the register and that that has to be my legal name. Is that true?

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  • Q42 thoughts says:

    Well, she’s wrong…! You shouldn’t need a legal document for a school or college or workplace or anything to address you by your name. The only time when you’ll need a legal document is when it comes to external exam certificates as they tend to be issued in your birth / “legal” name. School systems are different though and they ought to be calling you the right name.

    If you want some legal tips and pointers http://www.uktrans.info is really good – they have a few downloadable guides on changing your name too. There’s one here; http://uktrans.info/graguide.pdf

    They ALSO have a guide you can just give straight to your school here http://uktrans.info/attachments/article/428/Memorandum%20of%20understanding%20transition%20of%20pupil.pdf

    Here’s the important bit from it:
    “social name change does not require anything other than parents’/guardians’ written agreement; children may obtain a Deed Poll document with parents/guardians support, but this is not obligatory); 16+ don’t need parents’/guardians’ support.”

    Hope that helps!

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    Does anyone know how easy it is to change genders on your passport? Hoping to actually go on holiday this year with an accurate passport!

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    Realise that you’re making a really brave decision and that it will most likely make you feel happier as time goes by and you feel more confident about it. 

    Coming out to your friends can sometimes be awkward and make you not feel as confident with each other at first. However, you should be aware that if they don’t accept you the way you are, they aren’t really good/ positive influences. Good friends would and should support you whilst coming out, and the vast majority will, even if it’s awkward at first.

    Be prepared and make sure you’re ready to come out. It’s good to be aware that it can have an impact on everyday life, especially if there’s people close who may be homophobic. Always good not to get caught off guard by things!

    Choose that first person to come out to wisely. You don’t have to announce things to the entire world all at once. Take it slow! It could be a friend, a family member, a mentor…

    Start coming out to people more casually as you become more confident and secure of your identity

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  • Shwifty says:

    There’s another good site called RUComingOut – it’s got loads of stories about coming out and some are pretty inspirational 🙂 http://www.rucomingout.com

  • If you want to check out some great “coming out” vids here’s a few good one’s from YouTube too (I’ll post them in different replies – should be able to watch them without opening a new window that way 🙂 🙂 )

  • Salford LGBT group! says:

    Our top tips for coming out!

    Make sure you’re ready, don’t let any friends push you into it

    There’s no “right way” to come out! There are dozens of ways to come out, from conversations to writing songs, playing YouTube videos, showing a comic strip,the list goes on. You can come out to just one person that’s close to you, or a few freiends, or broadcast it over Facebook! Everyone’s story will be different…

    Be ready for some cliched reactions, like “it’s just a phase” or “how do you know?” or “oh a guy on street is gay too…”!

    Don’t let people’s reactions determine your value

    Remember you’re not alone – every LGBTQ+ person who’s ever come out knows what it feels like before you say the words

    If you need inspiration, look on YouTube! There’s lots of coming out stories that may help out

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    Suggestion A from Q42 Community

    As you’ve seen first-hand being drunk can change people’s behaviour. A lot of people say “the real you” comes out when you’re drunk but I don’t think that’s how it works.

    If your friend is straight then they may just be looking for “fun” and maybe they don’t have the confidence to go for it with someone they don’t know. Which makes it sound like they’re using you  a little.

    If it turns out they aren’t straight then looks like they aren’t ready to come out yet and you’ll have to be sensitive about that if you want to talk to your friend about this. Just try to be understanding and calm, you don’t want to lose a friend over this and “coming out” needs to be on their terms and not anyone else’s. You probably know how important that is yourself!

    Suggestion B from Q42 Community

    It depends what you want I think. Are you happy with the situation? Sounds like you’re not and if that’s the case I’d stop them next time it happens and just say that if they’re not ready to get with you when they’re sober then that’s fine, but it means they don’t get to get with you when they’re drunk either.
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    Suggestion from Q42 Community:

    This is a tough one! Obviously your safety is important so if you do feel confident to challenge this kind of behaviour make sure you’re not putting yourself in danger, that’s the most important thing!

    Really I think it depends on how you feel when this sort of thing happens.

    No one should be made to feel less than anyone else, or be made to feel ashamed of who they are. Ever! So in that sense, the people who throw homophobic and transphobic comments about should always be challenged. It’s important to know though that directly confronting the person there and then isn’t your only option. You can always report the incident to the police, who will take this sort of thing very seriously. You never know, that person may be known to them for other incidents too.

    Ending homophobia needs people to be more educated about the issues and the consequences of their actions and there are a good number of groups and organisations that focus on this. It may be that helping out with one of these is a good option too and it may help to feel like you’re not letting homophobic remarks go unchallenged without potentially putting yourself in harm’s way.

    If you do want to confront them that’s great – just be mindful of your safety. Maybe challenge them by asking them questions about what they said, see how they can justify saying it and be wary of going in with anger as that can escalate things and people are far more likely to get defensive and aggressive back if that’s how you go in to a situation.

    The LGBTQ+ community is a community – no one’s expecting you to single handedly sort out homophobia and you shouldn’t feel obliged to confront things until you are comfortable to do so.

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    Suggestion from Q42 Community:

    I guess it comes down to what’s worse – the reaction to coming out, or difficulties of hiding who you are. Neither may be an appealing option, so might not be an easy call to make!

    Sounds like you’ve pictured the scene of coming out to your parents already, have you given much thought to what happens after that? Sometimes initial reactions can be dramatic but given time things may mellow out a little. If things do get really bad after coming out, if you feel at risk because of having an LGBTQ+ identity, there are organisations, like the Albert Kennedy Trust, who can help out, sometimes with alternative housing.

    One thing I’d say is that hiding who you can be damaging in a bunch of different ways and if you do decide to keep this to yourself until you move out I’d really encourage you to find somewhere that you can be yourself, like an LGBTQ+ youth group. It’s important to have a space where you can be you, even if you decide that’s not at home right now.

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    Suggestion from Q42 Community:

    Yep that’s pretty annoying! Some people are just convinced everyone must find them irresistible…

    How many times have you had to tell them? Sounds like a few!

    Sometimes you can take the wind out of their sails by make light of it first with a joke, before they have a chance to comment. If you’re making fun of how daft the idea is before they can say anything it can quickly take the fun out of for them too. Or flip the situation and make similar comments about them that assume they fancy everyone of the opposite gender that they see (although sometimes that can backfire!)

    It can be a pain but this sort of thing does pass eventually, like anything the novelty will eventually wear thin.

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    In year 8 of high school I had a best friend and we were very close at the time. I had no clue about LGBTQ+ stuff until one day, whilst we were at her house, she full on made out with me and this is where I would presume that you would think “What the heck is going on?” Well I just went along with it and to be truthful I did enjoy it a lot! Then when I was 15 years old I came out as a lesbian but secretly I wasn’t sure if I was or not but I went along with that… Then after looking in LGBTQ+ stuff more I finally identified myself as pan sexual, which means that you don’t rely on the person’s gender, but their personality, which is literally me! And my advice to everyone is to explore! Don’t be afraid of exploring who you are. And also people who suffer from difficulties around mental health – I know it’s hard, take it from someone who knows, but take your time, go at your own speed and don’t overthink the situation! And one more thing from me – don’t feel like you’re suffering alone!
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  • I watch too much YouTube says:

    Also The Advocate has some good videos…

    There’s a few asking questions to trans actors like “how did you know” that might be helpful

    https://youtu.be/jm9A3gEstRE

  • Helpful says:

    There’s a great site for looking at this stuff – http://www.gender.wikia.com, it might help answer some questions…

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    Suggestion from Q42 Community:

    Well you can’t help who you’re attracted to, so I wouldn’t beat yourself up for one thing! Maybe have a think about what it is you’re finding attractive. Maybe it’s just you’re not attracted to “campness” (or “butchness” for want of a better word…), and that’s just a case of not meeting the right person yet, and that will take care of itself the more people you meet.

    Maybe what’s attractive is the fact that you can’t have them, which happens all the time! I think we always want what we can’t have, and maybe that’s part of what’s attracting you.

    Either way if you know they’re straight then I’d definitely advise not going down the route of trying to “turn” them because that’s really not fair!

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    our response:

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    Don’t you just hate it when people ask the question “How did you know you were gay?” It’s just a weird question to me because I didn’t exactly just think “I’m gay” just like straight people don’t think “hey I’m straight”.

    When I was in year 4, I was walking home from school with my mum and I always used to see this guy and I always used to find him so cute, I didn’t know then, and still don’t, where those feelings came from. That was the first time I had felt that way.

    Soon after primary school, I went to high school and told the first person I was talking to about being gay and she was very accepting, everything seemed okay except from some bullying that happened to me. Up until year 8 I think people were quite accepting of everyone. The start of year 8 is when most of the bad things happened, one day my ‘best friend’ was homophobic. I won’t repeat what she said but it sickened me to know that my best friend of 11 years had said this. She used to call me homophobic names when we used to argue.

    During the year I thought that I liked this girl at one point and I told some people and word got around and people came up to me asking me about that but I just ended up denying it.

    In year 9 I started getting in trouble and skipping class to go to the park with my friend because school was stressing me and I was lonely, I kept getting sent home, having detentions, getting excluded and my parents having to come into school for meetings. I even had to go to another school for 2 weeks respite it got that bad when my anxiety and depression got worse.

    But since attending Q42, I’ve met more people and had more opportunities such as going to different places that I never would have had the chance to if I didn’t attend this group! The group had given me a better understanding on life as well as the LGBT+ community. If you reading this are going through things, or just don’t know what’s going on, it will get better! Although I’ve not reached the light at the end of the tunnel just yet, it will be okay!

    After all these years, I still don’t know how I found out I was gay and I don’t think I ever will!

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    Suggestion from Q42 Community: First of all, don’t feel the need to justify yourself to anyone else if you do not wish to, but also don’t be afraid to show who you are. In terms of other sources of help, I would recommend contacting other members of the LGBTQ community, either face-to-face with a friend or on an online LGBTQ forum or use this website! Another way to get help and advice would be talking to others through Twitter or (closed) Facebook groups who are having / have had similar experiences to you. (You should, however, bear in mind the reliability of the people who may try to contact you through the internet or social media, as their intention may not be to help you… A way to tackle this problem would be to join closed or private groups so unnecessary or hurtful comments would be excluded.) These sources could help with any problems or issues you are facing coming out or that link to being a part of the LGBTQ community.

    I would suggest taking it easy; you’ve already done the hard part, coming out initially! Coming out can be a slow process, so just try to stay calm and do exactly what you feel comfortable doing. An easy way could be to just bring sexuality, crushes, LGBTQ etc up in conversation with people you would want to know your sexuality and lightly hint that you might not be straight.

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    Suggestion from Q42 Community:
    Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

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    Suggestion from Q42 Community:

    You know this is a problem I can identify with… I listen to a lot of metal music and never really enjoyed dance culture that much! It can be awkward, as the stereotype that’s all over the gay scene can exclude a lot of people, and sometimes make you feel you don’t belong. What’s weird is that me “not belonging” actually made me interesting to a lot of people! Standing out in the crowd can be pretty handy at times and I’ve always been surprised who came to talk to me revealing that they had similar interests and views.

    And you know what, there are tons of LGBTQ+ people who don’t go down Canal Street! There’s a lot of LGBTQ+ youth groups around Greater Manchester where you can meet new people, like the ones ran by the Proud Trust. There’s this site right here, where our whole aim is to do exactly this – get people into a community where everyone can be themselves! Come and join us in our weekly group! If you’ve got specific interests let us know and we’ll get a page for it and you can help us find like-minded people – you’ll be surprised how many people feel the same way as you do!

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    I’d have a think about what it is that really bothers you about this. Is it taking anything away from you? Are they getting a different reaction to what you get?

    Suggestion A from Q42 Community

    Part of being LGBTQ+ is often finding community where you feel accepted and where you belong. Sometimes this can end up being a double edged sword. It’s fantastic to belong somewhere and really great to build people up – but also if you belong to something, it usually implies that there are other people who don’t belong. That’s where sometimes things can get a bit nasty, and sometimes we define ourselves more or who doesn’t fit in with us, than on what we share and what means we do belong together.

    What we do share is that at one point, for however short a time, we all questioned who we were and all thought that maybe we weren’t quite what people were assuming us to be. Maybe these people at school are at that point too. Maybe it turns out they’re not gay or bi, but claiming to be when you’re not implies pretty strongly that they don’t know who they are either…

    Suggestion B from Q42 Community

    I get that that can be frustrating! Coming out as LGBTQ+ can involve a difficult journey, either coming to terms with things yourself or with others, and it can feel that someone is taking that away from you in a sense, because they don’t really know what you’ve been through, they’re just skipping to the end without the messy in between bit. That’s frustrating, it really is. But I’d remember that no one can take your journey away from you, nor can they can take away who you are right now. You’re still you and you’ve still got you’re journey regardless of what anyone else is doing.

    Suggestion C from Q42 Community

    “Imitation is the best form of flattery”…

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