Select Language:
  • Text size
  • A
  • A
  • A
  • Colour
  • A
  • A
Information, Advice and sources of support for young people in Suffolk

Understanding Your Sexuality

On this page you will find information on

  1. Coming out to your friends and family
  2. Dealing with an unexpected reaction
  3. Look after your emotional wellbeing and useful websites
  4. Outreach Youth
  5. Sexual Health

“Don’t feel pressured to identify. You can take your time to work it out”

You might feel the pressure to decide which label best describes your sexuality quickly. It’s okay to take some time, to say ‘I don’t know’, or to realise that a label you use doesn’t feel right anymore – the most important thing is honouring how you feel at that time.

Do you need an easy read version – What is sexuality?

Video titled ‘The ABC’s of LGBT+’ explains the labels used for gender and sexuality.

Coming Out

Coming out is scary – opening up about your identity can feel huge. There are no right or wrong ways of doing things, it’s important to move at a pace that you feel comfortable with.

You could think of these conversations as a welcoming or a ‘coming into’ your community – and remember, there is always support available too.

“Coming Out vs Letting In”

It’s good to think about what you’ll actually say as there will probably be some questions too, so think about how you’ll answer some of the things they might ask like, ‘how do you know?’.


Most people worry about how their friends will react when they come out.

Your friends might be surprised, have lots of questions, not know what to say or even have guessed already!

At first, choose a friend you trust and who you think will be supportive.

Although you can’t predict what people will say or do, when you tell a close friend that you trust, the chances are they’ll be pleased that you’ve shared something so personal with them.

When you tell them is totally up to you. You might tell them face to face or prefer to write a letter or email. 

Whatever way you decide it’s not usually a good idea to tell your family during a row or when you’re angry.

Sometimes, parents can be shocked, worried or find it difficult to accept at first. But their first reaction isn’t necessarily how they’ll feel forever. They might just need a bit of time to process what you’ve told them. 

The thing most parents worry about is that their children are happy.

“It gets better. It can take a while but it gets much easier” 

Young person at Outreach Youth

Dealing with an Unexpected Reaction

It can be hugely upsetting when friends and family don’t support you when you come out. Fortunately, there is information and support out there for you if this happens.

When one young person came out to her family, her mum told her it was probably ‘just a phase’, comparing it to an old leather jacket she went through a phase of wearing in her youth!

Hearing a response like that from someone in your family is hurtful. 

Fortunately there is advice on accepting your child's sexuality or gender identity. 

You could try directing your family to a website for advice: Advice for Parents & Carers - BeLonG To

Here’s some advice from young people, to someone who is considering coming out:

1) Find people who will accept you for who you are, people who you trust. If you can’t find a friend or family member, find support from somewhere else, like Outreach Youth (see below).

2) If someone you tell says something hurtful, don’t think it’s your fault and don’t blame yourself.

3) Try to accept that not everyone will be able to accept you but it doesn’t mean you are in the wrong.

Look after your emotional wellbeing

It can be helpful to write down how you are feeling. You can also reach out via text, on web chats or with online forums – there is a welcoming community out there to support you.

  • Outreach Youth – Suffolk based youth charity – meet other young people and find support to talk things through
  • The Proud Trust – Read more about Sexual Orientation (LGB+) . They also offer mentoring and an anonymous chat service for 13+ and the adults in their lives.

Kooth have live forums that you can chat on, a Podcast called ”we are queer and have always been here” , and articles relating to identity, gender, sexuality which you might find useful.

You may find these websites useful:

Outreach Youth

Outreach Youth is an organisation for LGBTQ+ young people aged under 25 years old across Suffolk.

They provide:

  • a relaxed and safe environment to talk about life and share experiences
  • a trans families project a chance to meet other LGBTQ young people
  • a buddy system to introduce new young people to their project
  • one to one support to LGBTQ+ young people
  • 13+ youth group in Ipswich and Bury
  • opportunities to volunteer
  • help with things young LGBTQ+ people want to know about e.g. coming out, relationships, homophobia, bullying etc.

To find out more and contact Outreach Youth, go to their website:

Young people from Outreach Youth have shared their experiences with us so that we can talk about some of the issues on this page, and raise awareness that there is support out there to help you with every step that you take.

Sexual health

Your health – All clinics, doctors, school nurses and health professionals must legally give the same level of help and support regardless of your sexual preference. For more advice, take a look at our sexual health pages.

Share this

Page updated on August 30th, 2023 at 10:39am