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. 

We sincerely hope so. Because you are asking this, we guess that you may have a reason to believe that they might not be supportive. However, although some parents may find the news that you are gay difficult, and may struggle to accept it, parents’ love tends to run very deep.

It’s normal to feel nervous and vulnerable when you are thinking of coming out, so here are a few tips put together by counsellors experienced with the LGBTIQ+ community.

  • Firstly, remember that it is totally up to you whether, or if, you want to ‘come out’ and talk to your parents about being gay. This is your personal identity, and there is no rush to share it with anyone until you feel ready.
  • Be clear first about your own feelings about being gay, and make sure you are feeling confident and positive. It may be best to get some support first, perhaps from a counsellor or support group. You can get some great information and phone or online support from https://qlife.org.au/ and mental health support for young people from https://au.reachout.com/. In Cairns there are groups that meet at YETI (07) 4051 4927 and Headspace has an online youth LGBTIQ+ support group that meets weekly https://headspace.org.au/lgbtiqaplus/ .
  • Prepare your parents/friends by saying something like "I want to talk to you about something that's really important to all of us…" Be positive and assertive.
  • If you do decide to tell them you are gay, remember that you can’t control your parents’ initial reactions. If those reactions are not positive, that is not your fault or responsibility. It's not your responsibility to make it easier for anyone but you!
  • Remember that if things go badly at first, it’s unlikely that it will be like that forever…things generally get better with time.
  • Don't try to come out when something else important is going on in the family - weddings, funerals, birthdays, Christmas etc…
  • Sometimes parents already suspect that their child is gay, but sometimes it can come as a shock. Let your parents know you are willing to give them time to adjust… there is plenty of time…
  • Stay connected to your supports and make sure you have people you trust and can rely on to be supportive – whether in person or via the online support systems mentioned above.

Plenty of people have worried about coming out, and are happily surprised to find their parents are supportive and accepting. We hope that this is the case for you – you deserve unconditional love and acceptance, but it does make sense to plan for a range of reactions, so well done for asking and looking for advice.