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For some, these feelings and thoughts can be intense and seem confusing. Most medical experts believe that, in general, sexual orientation is not something that a person voluntarily chooses. Many gay and lesbian teens and their families have no more difficulties than anyone else. So do their emotions and feelings. Because of this, some gay and lesbian teens may feel different from their friends when the heterosexual people around them start talking about romantic feelings, dating, and sex. Find a doctor. In addition to these common worries, LGBT teens have an extra layer of things to think about, like whether they have to hide who they are.

Still, not everyone believes that. It's important to find a doctor, nurse, counselor, or other knowledgeable adult to be able to discuss these issues with. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. Most medical experts, including those at the American Academy of Pediatrics AAP and the American Psychological Association APAbelieve that sexual orientation involves a complex mix of biology, psychology, and environmental factors.

The Importance of Talking For people of all sexual orientations, learning about sex and relationships can be difficult.

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Gender is another word for male or female. This doesn't happen to all gay teens, of course. Psychologists, psychiatrists, family doctors, and trained counselors can help them cope — confidentially and privately — with the difficult feelings that go with their developing sexuality. People who are asexual may not be interested in sex, but they still feel emotionally close to other people.

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Connect with us! Print Send to a Friend. In the United States, and throughout much of the world, attitudes about sexual orientation have been changing. Select pediatric specialty. Beliefs Are Changing In the United States, and throughout much of the world, attitudes about sexual orientation have been changing.

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It takes time for many people to understand who they are and who they're becoming. Fears of prejudice, rejection, or bullying can lead people who aren't straight to keep their sexual orientation secret, even from friends and family who might support them. There are several types of sexual orientation; for example: Heterosexual. More search options ». Some live in communities or families where being gay is not accepted or respected. Facebook Youtube Twitter Instagram. Love and Romance.

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As people pass from childhood into their teen years and beyond, their bodies develop and change. Some gay or lesbian teens tell a few close friends and family members about their sexual orientation. Note: All information is for educational purposes only. These kinds of beliefs can make things difficult for LGBT teens. Why are some people straight and some people gay?

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There are several types of sexual orientation; for example:. What's in this article? Transgender people may have the body of one gender, but feel that they are the opposite gender, like they were born into the wrong type of body. For many LGBT people, it can feel like everyone is expected to be straight. Although not everyone is comfortable with the idea of sexual orientation differences and there's still plenty of prejudice around, being gay is getting to be less of a "big deal" than it used to be.

They might feel they need to deny who they are or that they have to hide an important part of themselves.

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Health Library Search KidsHealth library. People who are heterosexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex: Heterosexual males are attracted to females, and heterosexual females are attracted to males. Everyone has times when they worry about things like school, college, sports, or friends and fitting in.

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It's not always easy to find somebody to talk to. This abbreviation stands for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" or "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning".

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People who are homosexual are romantically and physically attracted to people of the same sex: Females who are attracted to other females are lesbian; males who are attracted to other males are often known as gay. Instead, sexual orientation is just a natural part of who a person is.

During the teen years, people often find themselves having sexual thoughts and attractions. But not everyone has the same good support systems.

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In many communities, youth groups can provide opportunities for LGBT teens to talk to others who are facing similar issues. Adolescence Is a Time of Change During the teen years, the hormonal and physical changes of puberty usually mean people start noticing an increase in sexual feelings. These experiences, by themselves, do not necessarily mean that a person is gay or straight.

There is no simple answer to that. This is often called " coming out. Some people might go beyond just thinking about it and experiment with sexual experiences with people of their own sex or of the opposite sex.

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Some LGBT teens without support systems can be at higher risk for dropping out of school, living on the streets, using alcohol and drugs, and trying to harm themselves. Scientists also believe a person's genes and hormones play an important role. It's one way of sorting through emerging sexual feelings. People who are transgender are often grouped in with lesbian and gay as a way to include people who don't feel they fit into the category of being "straight. Sexual orientation is the emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction that a person feels toward another person.

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Part of that involves better understanding of their own sexual feelings and who they are attracted to. But many people find that confiding in someone they trust even if they're not completely sure how that person will react turns out to be a positive experience. People who feel they need to hide who they are or who fear discrimination or violence can be at greater risk for emotional problems like anxiety and depression. There's nothing wrong about being LGBT. It's common to wonder and sometimes worry about new sexual feelings.

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What Is Sexual Orientation? The term gay is sometimes used to describe homosexual individuals of either sex. Being interested in someone of the same sex does not necessarily mean that a person is gay — just as being interested in someone of the opposite sex doesn't mean a person is straight. They feel comfortable about being attracted to someone of the same gender.

It's common for teens to be attracted to or have sexual thoughts about people of the same sex and the opposite sex. Heterosexuals are sometimes called "straight. Transgender isn't really a sexual orientation — it's a gender identity. They also help people find ways to deal with any peer pressure, harassment, and bullying they might face.

During the teen years, the hormonal and physical changes of puberty usually mean people start noticing an increase in sexual feelings. LGBT teens might feel like they have to pretend to feel things that they don't in order to fit in with their group, family, or community.

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That can be especially true for people who have romantic or sexual thoughts about someone who is the same sex they are. People who are bisexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of both sexes. It can help to talk to someone about the confusing feelings that go with growing up — whether that someone is a parent or other family member, a close friend or sibling, or a school counselor. Enter Physician's Name. Even though there is growing acceptance for LGBT people, many teens don't have adults they can talk to about sexual orientation.

Search KidsHealth library. For people of all sexual orientations, learning about sex and relationships can be difficult. Whether gay, straight, bisexual, or just not sure, almost everyone has questions about physically maturing and about sexual health — like if certain body changes are "normal," what's the right way to behave, or how to avoid sexually transmitted infections STIs.

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Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor.