For Students/Self Help - Worried About Sexual Identity?
What is it?
College is a time for figuring out who you are and what you want on many different levels. Students regularly come to the Counseling Center to explore issues related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Some are uncertain about whether they might be gay or bisexual while others may feel secure about their sexual orientation, yet unsure how to “come out” to those they care about. Others may feel that their current gender does not fit how they feel about themselves inside.
- Students who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity may sometimes feel alone in their quests to understand themselves. Finding and connecting with other LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) individuals may feel daunting at first and coming out to friends and parents can feel scary. You may wonder: will the people in my life accept and support me? You may struggle with accepting this part of yourself. Maybe you always envisioned a heterosexual lifestyle and the values with which you were raised don’t make much space for people who are gay or bisexual.
- Or maybe you’re just not certain yet who you’re attracted to or what gender feels more true to who you are.
- These can be challenging questions to handle and feeling confused and unsupported can have a negative impact on your life. In fact, it is believed that the overall higher rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in LGBTQ youth may be related to how difficult the process of coming out and/or embracing your identity can be.
What can I do about it?
- Get support & get informed!
- Check out the Rainbow Resource Center (Rm 162 on the first floor of the Memorial Union) for books and movies on LGBTQ issues or just to hang out. Through their website you can learn how to communicate with RRC staff members anonymously, through AOL Instant Messenger.
- Or join Wilde-Stein Alliance for Sexual Diversity. This is a student group which embraces the spectrum of sexualities and genders. They meet every Thursday night at 7 pm in the Coe Room for socializing and to plan great events like Coming Out Week (in October) and Pride Week (in April).
- If you’re still questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity or just want a confidential place to find support and guidance, please consider making an appointment at the Counseling Center. This is a place where you will not be judged and where you can talk openly about your concerns.