Do you hear others using insulting words about people who are gay? Maybe you are puzzled by your own sexual feelings. If you have questions about these issues, we’re glad you’re here.


People who are heterosexual have attractions to members of the opposite sex and people who identify as homosexual have attractions to members of the same sex. Bisexuals are attracted to both sexes. Most people are heterosexual, some are bisexual and about 5-10 percent are homosexual. Some speak of being more of one on some days and more of the other on different days; those might best be described as gender fluid. Terminology to identify sexuality continues to change and you may commonly hear gay or homosexual or women called “lesbians”. Whether you are heterosexual, bi, or homosexual, asexual, gender fluid or other–it’s your sexual orientation and it’s your choice.

Today we know more about what influences sexual orientation than we did a generation ago. Scientists believe that biologic factors before birth, combined with life experiences, determine sexual orientation. For some members of the human race, the pull toward their own sex is just as strong as for others who are pulled toward the opposite sex. Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association consider homosexuality to be a part of the spectrum of human sexuality.

Nevertheless, many homosexual people are afraid to let their sexual orientation be known because they fear the disapproval of others. Sometimes this disapproval comes from particular religious beliefs. Many religious traditions teach that homosexual activity, as distinct from homosexual orientation, is sinful. If you are concerned about this, it will be helpful if you talk to an understanding pastor, minister, priest or rabbi. Living with a guilty conscience helps no one.

Others may disapprove of homosexuality because they believe homosexuals are anti-family. However, homosexuals have family values, religious beliefs, feelings and needs just like anyone else.

Some people mistakenly think that you can tell a man is gay if he appears feminine or girlish, or that you can tell a woman is gay  if she acts mannish. Remember, many homosexuals choose to hide their sexual orientation and they are able to do so because they are no different in their actions or appearances than heterosexual people.

All people want to be loved and respected. Sexual orientation is only one part of who we are. There is no difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals when it comes to quality of work, ethical standards and quality of relationships. In both groups there are you and people you don’t like. It is important to treat all people well. That includes loving and respecting yourself, whatever your sexual orientation, even if it is hard for others to be supportive or accepting.

Teen years are a time for finding out who you are. You may be feeling alone and confused right now as you search for your sexual identity. You may be wondering what other people think about you or you mag be frightened of what you’re feeling or experiencing. We encourage you to talk to trusted friends, parents, counselors and clergy. You can get more information from the public library on this topic.

Remember , teen years are time for searching. There are others feeling the way you do. Thank you.

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN)

Other resources for local support are:  and or


Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.