Category Archives: LGBT

LGBT People

Where to Meet LBGT People

LGBT people are in the minority, so some people worry about being able to meet other people. Being a part of the LGBT community can really help individuals to deal with the challenges that they might face as part of their lives. Thankfully there are plenty of ways to meet other LGBT people. This article contains a few suggestions about how to meet new people.

Hotspots

There are certain areas of the UK which are well known for their large LGBT populations. For example, Brighton is known as the “gay capital of the UK”, whereas small towns like Hebden Bridge claim to have the highest concentration of LGBT people in the country. There are other cities which have thriving LGBT areas, such as Soho in London or Canal Street in Manchester. Visiting an area which has a high concentration of LGBT people will help you to meet loads of new friends.

Gay Bars and Clubs

There are lots of bars and clubs in the UK which are specifically targeted at LGBT individuals. There are many gay-friendly places where visitors can feel confident about being out and proud. Some gay bars and clubs were set up to target LGBT customers, whereas other bars and clubs slowly become gay bars through their reputation and demographic. Although heterosexual and cisgendered people can visit gay bars, they will usually be in the minority rather than the majority.

People who are looking for (any type of) a relationship may find it easier to start up a conversation with a potential partner in a gay bar or club, because you should feel more confident about that person’s sexual orientation. Although you can start up a conversation with a prospective partner anywhere, not knowing whether they are gay or straight can add a new layer of stress.

Dating Websites and Apps

Many dating websites and Apps allow users to search based on their sexual orientation. These filter tools provide a quick and easy way to find people whose sexual orientation matches your own. In order to facilitate friendships, some websites and apps even have a filter that allows people to seek friendship without a sexual element. Alternatively, there are dating websites and apps which are specifically designed for the LGBT community or subsections of the LGBT community. Some of these apps allow you to quickly find any other users in your area, so that you can meet up as soon as you feel comfortable.

If you do decide to use dating websites or apps, you should follow safety advice and exercise caution. It is worth noting that some people who use these sites may not be what they seem and the information that they put on their profiles may not be 100% accurate. Anyone (LGBT or non-LGBT) who arranges to meet a new date should do so in a public place and should not do anything to put their own safety at risk.

Online forums

There are a lot of online forums which are dedicated to the LGBT community in the UK. The online community is thriving, so there are plenty of opportunities to get connected with other people. You will be able to find help, advice and friendship on forums which deal with a wide range of issues. There are forums which deal with casual topics like favourite songs or films, through to social issues like coming out or adopting children as an LGBT person.

Interest Groups or Hobby Groups

In larger cities or at universities, it is often possible to find interest groups which are run by LBGT people for LGBT people. These hobby groups could be about almost any pastime, so try to choose one which appeals to your interests. Although most of these pastimes can be done by absolutely anyone, joining a special LGBT group will help to ensure that you are in a safe environment where your sexual orientation or gender identity is not an issue. Most groups are happy to allow allies to join.

Protest Groups and Pride Marches

LGBT People

LGBT rights in the UK still aren’t perfect and there are plenty of groups in the UK that lobby for improvement. Joining one of these groups can be a good way to enact change whilst also getting the opportunity to meet new people. This is a great option for people who are keen to promote social justice. Some groups are intersectional and seek to promote rights of people who are part of multiple minority groups. Annual Pride marches and events will also allow you to meet new people. These events celebrate the past, present and future of the LGBT community. There are large events in Manchester, London and Brighton, and some smaller events in different parts of the country. Lots of universities run their own pride events.

Transgender Flag

What does it mean to be Transgender?

“Trans” is an umbrella term which is used in the United Kingdom to refer to an array of different people, including; transgender, transsexual and cross-dressers. The term “transgender” is used to refer to people who feel that their gender identity does not match with the gender identity that they were assigned at birth. Many people find this idea confusing because they do not understand the difference between gender and sex. However, this article will try to clear up the differences.

In the United Kingdom, the phrase “biological sex” is used to refer to the physical characteristics which a person is born with. Biological sex is often defined by the individual’s reproductive system and sex hormones. The majority of people can be described by binary biological sex characteristics; male or female. However, about 1% of the population can be classified as non-binary or intersex. This means that their reproductive systems or sexual hormones do not clearly meet traditional classifications.

On the other hand, gender refers to the socially constructed ideas and behaviours which are often attributed to people based on their biological sex. Gender is a personal and internal sense of identity which may not match with the expected identity which is ascribed at birth. Most gender theorists believe that gender is on a spectrum, rather than being a binary concept. This means that there are more gender identities than the two traditional identities which are still widely used in the United Kingdom.

In the United Kingdom, a person who is born with a binary male sexual reproductive system will often be raised with a masculine gender identity, whereas a person with binary female sexual reproductive organs will be raised with a feminine gender identity. Traditional, doctors have ascribed intersex babies with a specific gender identify at birth and advised parents to try to raise children with this gender identity. However, gender scientists around the world now argue that somebody’s gender identity might not always match their biological sex. It is very hard to accurately ascribe gender to babies that are born intersex. If you feel that the gender that you were given at birth does’nt match your true gender identity, then you may have gender dysphoria.

What is gender dysphoria?

A person with gender dysphoria is likely to experience severe distress or discomfort because they do not believe that their gender identity matches with their biological sex. Although some people like to challenge gender stereotypes and ideas, they are normally only considered to have gender dysphoria if they experience strong feelings of distress and discomfort at their assigned gender. People may feel as though they are trapped in the wrong body or that they need to hide parts of their body, such as facial hair or breasts. The person may wish to start living as a different gender. This person can then be described as transgender.
Transgender Flag

What is transitioning?

Transitioning is the name given to the process of changing or adapting your assigned gender into the gender that you perceive yourself as. Every transition is different, because each transgender person has a unique start and end point. A transition may involve changing your name to something that you feel is more suitable for your gender identity, changing the way that you dress, and changing your mannerisms.

Some transgender people may wish to start taking special medication as part of the transition process. Most of the medicines which are given during a transition are designed to help to alter sex hormones. People who are undergoing puberty may be given hormone blockers to prevent natural hormones from triggering the physical changes which are associated with puberty. If you take medication, you must follow the guidelines and stick to the recommended dose. Overdosing on hormones or blockers can have serious consequences.

Some transgender people may also choose to have sex reassignment surgery. This surgery takes steps to construct genitals which match a person’s gender identity. Most sex reassignment surgery is irreversible, so doctors normally require candidates to go through a strict assessment process before the surgery is carried out. Some transgender people are perfectly happy to continue living in their current body without any form of surgical intervention.

Living in a New Gender

If you decide to transition into a new gender, you may have to “come out” to the people around you. This may involve explaining that you are living by a different name and using different pronouns (e.g. “he” or “she”). You may need to explain what it means to be transgender and why your gender identity is important to you. You may experience some resistance to your new gender and you may find that you are misgendered at times. There are laws to protect people against discrimination that they may face based on gender reassignment. Awareness around transgender issues in the UK is currently increasing and more people are starting to understand what it means to be transgender.

Transgender Person

Should I tell people that I am Transgender?

A lot of trans people worry about whether or not they should tell people that they are trans. They may also debate about “when” is the right time to share the information with people. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, so each individual must decide for themselves. However, there are a few things that you might want to consider before making your choices.

The basics of gender dysphoria

Gender Dysphoria is a condition where people feel as though their true gender does not match with the gender that they were assigned at birth. Gender is usually assigned based on biological sex; however biological sex and gender do not always match.

A person with gender dysphoria is likely to experience intense distress or discomfort due to the mismatch between their biological sex and their true gender identity. Being able to express their true gender identity can help people with gender dysphoria. Coming out as transgender can be an important part of coping with gender dysphoria. Not being able to tell people that you are transgender can exacerbate the feelings of distress and discomfort which are associated with the gender mismatch.

Coming Out When Transitioning

If you choose to transition to a different gender than the one which you were assigned at birth, you may find that you need to let people know about your transition. Unless you intend to make a new life in a different location, you may find that you need to discuss your transition with some of the people that you know or with your employer. For example, you may need to discuss your gender with the HR team at your work. Transitioning can be very difficult if you cannot be open about your true gender. It may be easier to transition if people are aware of your circumstances and what being transgender/having gender dysphoria might means. It should be easier for you to live as your true gender if other people around you do not misgender you. You can help them by explaining which pronouns they should use for you and explaining your new name (if you intend to change your name).

Some people find it too difficult to transition whilst maintaining their present life. This may be because they do not think that their friends or family would support their choice to transition. These people need to think carefully about whether they would be happier to maintain contact with their existing network, or whether they would prefer to start a new life elsewhere. Starting a new life elsewhere can give you an opportunity to move to a new place and begin presenting yourself as your true gender straight away.
Transgender Person

“Living as a…”

If you want to take your transition further, using intense hormones or even progressing to surgical options, your doctor may want you to show them that you have been living as your true gender identity. People who have not come out often find this much harder to do, because they cannot show proof that they have altered their name or title. For many trans individuals, this criteria helps to provide them with an important onus to “come out”.

Being Stealth

Being stealth is a term which some transgender individuals use to describe a person who is “passing” as their true gender without publically coming out. For example, a trans woman who passes as her assumed gender at all times and cannot be discerned from other members of the public may be considered to be stealthing, if the people around her do not know that she is trans. These people may feel more comfortable if they choose not to come out to others that they are trans. They may believe that there is no real reason for most other people to know that their physical sex does not match their true gender identity. They might even argue that if anyone else talked about their genitalia in public, there would be trouble; so why should people need to know about what is under their clothes? Some people choose to come out as trans to some close friends and family, whilst remaining stealth in other areas of their lives.

Sex and Consent

At present, sexual consent laws in the UK suggest that trans individuals should talk to a prospective partner about their trans status before they engage in any sexual activities. Common law precedent has shown that failing to mention your status may remove the partner’s ability to give informed consent. This means that you should come out to a person before you have sex with them. However, LGBT activists are currently calling for further clarification on sexual consent when a trans person is involved. They believe that the current rules demonise trans people and may be a human rights concern.

Coming Out Gay

Should I Tell People I’m Gay?

“Coming out” as gay is a personal choice and an important experience for most gay people in the United Kingdom. Almost all “out” members of the LGBT community in the UK have their own stories about how and why they came out. However, some people choose to remain “in the closet”. On the other hand, some people never have a “coming out” experience, because they feel that sexuality is an irrelevant detail which does not need to be publically discussed. So should you “come out” as gay?

Your Choice

Each individual should decide for themselves whether it is the right time to come out or not. They should also be allowed to decide who to come out to. Being “outed” by another person can be a degrading and upsetting incident, because it removes your right to self-determination. In fact, in some circumstances, publically “outing” a person could actually be considered as a hate crime and may become a police matter!

Coming out can be a very positive experience, because it means that you don’t have to hide who you are anymore. Being open about your sexuality will allow you to live the lifestyle that you want without having to worry about people finding out or speculating. Research has shown that people who feel the need to hide their sexuality are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. Opening up about your sexuality can be a weight off of your mind.

On the other hand, coming out can be difficult and stressful in its own right. You should be prepared for some people to behave differently around you once you have come out. Some people might not even realise that they have changed their behaviour, whereas others may act with intentional prejudice.

Coming Out To Friends And Family

Coming Out Gay
Coming out to friends and coming out to family can put a strain on some pre-existing relationships. Being openly gay can also affect the way that strangers treat you. In the United Kingdom, gay people are still slightly more likely to be victims of violent crime than straight people are. However, the law currently allows for stronger sentencing if homophobic intent can be proven. Nonetheless, some gay people choose not to come out because they are concerned about becoming the target of homophobic prejudice.

A small number of openly gay people in the UK still report that people have tried to “cure” them. Being gay is not a disease or an illness and therefore there is no cure. There is nothing wrong with being gay, so you should not let people convince you that there is any need to be “converted” or “cured”. Some people choose not to come out to everyone, because they do not want to be treated as though they are unwell.

Some people also choose to remain “in the closet” because they still feel uncertain about their sexuality. They do not wish to disclose their sexuality to other people, until they are surer about their feelings. If you do not feel ready to discuss your sexuality with other people, you can wait until you do feel ready. You can also “come out” to a few trusted people, so that they can support you and help you to understand your feelings. If you want to talk about your sexuality with someone who you don’t know, there are plenty of charities in the UK which offer support to people who want help or advice.

Coming out to your family can be very difficult, especially if you know that they might not be happy with the news. It is therefore important that you pick the right time to tell them. It is a good idea to pick a time where you are in control of the situation. Although you might feel like shouting it at them during a row, this may mean that your parents associate the news with an unhappy time. They may even feel as though you are revealing your sexuality as a way to punish them.

Try to anticipate how they will react and be prepared with how you might respond to what they do. If you prepare yourself for the types of questions that they might ask you, then you will be able to answer them more easily. Some family members may be angry about the news. Try to remain calm and try to diffuse the situation where possible. If the anger escalates further, you should take steps to exit the conversation. Giving them some space can help them to come to terms with your news.

Your safety is the most important thing. If there is ever an extreme reaction or if you feel threatened, make sure that you take steps to stay safe. There are plenty of LGBT charities in the UK that can help people who are struggling to come out to their parents.