We can understand how news like that could come as a bit of a shock! Without knowing him, or the details of the conversation, it is hard to know for certain exactly what he meant. However in general, it might be helpful to understand that a person’s sexuality and sexual preference are quite different to their gender identity. A person’s gender identity is a deeply held feeling about their masculinity or femininity, that may not fit with the sex they were born with. For example, a person might be born and raised as a boy, but realise that they don’t feel like a boy at all and they identify as a girl. This is purely how the person feels within themselves and has nothing to do with their sexuality. So it is possible that your boyfriend is letting you know that he identifies as female but is attracted to females, so he says he is a lesbian – in which case we should be calling him ‘she’ to respect his gender identity. This is all quite a lot for you both to get your heads around, so if this is the case, we recommend getting some advice and support – Headspace for example has some face to face as well as online groups for people of diverse genders and sexualities, as well as their friends and family. Kids Helpline is another option for someone just to talk through how you are both feeling – 1800 55 1800
There are a number of things to keep in mind when you are entering a romantic relationship. Early on it can be very overwhelming so it's good to remember your responsibilities toward yourself as well as your partner. You need to take the relationship at a pace that is comfortable for you both, and not push for greater commitment and time than either of you are ready for. Remember you both need time and space to spend with your other friends and family, and also with any sport, activity, school, or other groups that you might spend time with individually. You are responsible for respecting their opinion and listening respectfully, even when you don’t agree, for encouraging their achievements and not abusing them emotionally, verbally or physically. For any sexual activity it is important to have consent, so ensure that you and your partner are over 16 which is the legal age for consent. Consent needs to be free, willing and enthusiastic, so spend a bit of time thinking yourself, and talking to your partner about your feelings and readiness if you want a for a sexual relationship. Are you both able to speak freely to each about what you are comfortable doing, and any boundaries that you have? Are you confident that you both feel the same way and no one is feeling pressured by expectations? You have the responsibility to ensure that your partner feels safe and supported, and they have the responsibility as well to ensure that you feel the same way.
Well done for thinking about responsibilities before taking this step in your life!
You can read more on this post - http://respectme.org.au/relationship-rights-responsibilities/
We are so sorry that you are dealing with that – it sounds like a very tough situation to be in. If this is your best friend, you hopefully have a lot of other good things going in the relationship, and you probably have a lot of history and things in common with this person. This can make it all the more painful when a friend that close makes fun of you. Your friend may not realise that mental health is affecting you, or that their teasing is upsetting for you, so the best way to start is by clearly letting them know. Try to find a time when you are both relaxed and you have some privacy, and tell them how you feel when they are making fun of you. Try to be specific about what they are saying and why it affects you, and what you would prefer. It is important to have trust in a friendship, and if you feel that they aren’t taking it seriously or if they continue to make fun of you, then you might want to distance yourself from this friendship. If you are not connected to a support service already, this might be a good time to seek some support though Headspace or talk to them at Kid’s Helpline 1800 55 1800 for more specific confidential advice.
In the Respect Me program, we do talk a fair bit about violence against men in addition to violence against women. In Australia, about 1 in 16 males are physically abused by their partners, 1 in 20 are sexually abused, and 1 in 2 experience violence in the community – also usually from other men in places like clubs and other entertainment venues. However, the majority of the victims/survivors of intimate partner violence are female (about 4 - 5 times more women than men), and they experience a repeated pattern of abuse from their partners - so we have more scenarios/examples in the program that reflect that fact. The statistics come from thousands of people being surveyed and interviewed as part of the Census and research studies as well as hospital and police data.
This does not mean in any way that women can’t be abusive. 1 in 6 men experience emotional abuse in their lifetime, and there is evidence that both men and women use emotional, social and financial abuse in relationships. Women can also be physically violent, but less often and generally with less physical impact.
Intimate partner violence is a problem that affects all of us, and we want to work together to create a safer community that supports men, women and gender diverse people to have safe and healthy relationships. If you would like more information on male victim/survivors of intimate partner violence, as well as ways men can participate in creating a safer and more equal world, we recommend Mensline https://mensline.org.au/family-violence/