Frequently Asked Questions

These are FAQ's which come up regularly, around health and mental health issues.


Is being Gay or Lesbian a choice?

Most gay and lesbian people will tell you being gay is not a choice. Most scientific organizations also believe that homosexuality is not a choice, that biology plays some role. The National Mental Health Association of America says, “Most researchers believe sexual orientation is complex, and that biology plays an important role. This means that many people are born with their sexual orientation, or that it’s established at an early age.”

No one really knows why some people are gay or lesbian and others are straight or bisexual. But what we do know is that homosexuality has existed all throughout history and is present in birds and mammals, as well as humans.

Certainly those who believe homosexuality is a sin say it's a choice. Even some gay and lesbian people believe being gay is a choice. Most, however, believe that they were born gay or lesbian. The honest answer is, we think being gay is not a choice, but there hasn't been any conclusive studies to prove it.

What we do know is that therapies that attempt to change people from gay to straight have a very poor success rate. Sometimes people change their behavior, but the attraction is still there.

The thing you do have a choice about is your attitude about being gay, lesbian or bisexual. You can choose to hide your sexual orientation, or even be involved in a heterosexual relationship, but that does not mean you are not lesbian or bisexual.

What we do know is that people who are out and accepting of their sexual orientation live happier and more fulfilled lives than those who try to suppress their feelings or live their lives in the closet.

 

If you think you might be lesbian or gay, questions to ask yourself are:

  • Who do you usually have crushes on? Is it mainly someone of the same gender?
  • Do you imagine relationships with someone of the same gender?
  • If you dated or had a sexual experience with someone of the opposite gender, how did it make you feel?
  • If you dated or had a sexual experience with someone of the same gender, how did it make you feel?

 

If you think you might be bisexual, you can ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel strongly attracted to people of both genders?
  • Do you think you could have a sexual or romantic relationship with either males or females?

 

(By Ellen Friedrichs, About.com)

Is being gay a mental illness?

No, homosexuality has not been recognised as a mental illnes since 1974. However, there is a significant body of research which links negative societal attitudes to negative self perception, low self esteem, poor performance, depression and mental health issues. In other words, being LGBT is not a problem, but other people's attitudes to it can be.

What can I do if any of my friends are homopobic?

When you have homophobic friends, it's not always as easy as simply ditching them and moving on. A lot of teenagers have them, the homophobic friends who casually dismiss things they don't like by saying, "that's so gay," or who refer to gay people using offensive terms.

So what should you do about that? Sure you could choose not to be friends anymore, and that's what a lot of people do. But sometimes that doesn't always make sense.
Here are some ideas to help deal with homophobic friends:

  • Call them out. If some one makes a comment you find offensive, say so.
  • Educate. A lot of people don't realize that what they are saying is offensive. Learning about LGBT issues can go a long way in reducing homophobia.
  • Get allies. Is there one homophobe in your group? It's likely that you aren't the only one who is bothered by his or her comments. Consider aligning with other friends to make it clear that your group doesn't think this person's comments are cool.
  • Come out. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans, come out. Studies have found that people who know gay people are less likely to be homophobic than those who don't.

 

Often the most painful homophobia comes from people who are close to us. But those people can also be the easiest to reach.

(By Ellen Friedrichs, About.com)

Is being gay a sin?

The best response I've ever seen to this question was a comment posted by 'Gideon63' in a discussion group on Answerbag.com:

"Of the 613 laws laid down by God through Moses (the Mosaic Code), which the Christians love to quote, also prohibited is:
Heterosexual intercourse when a woman has her period (Leviticus 18:19), Harvesting the corners of a field (19:9), Eating fruit from a young tree (19:23), Cross-breeding livestock (19:19), Sowing a field with mixed seed (19:19), Shaving or getting a hair cut (19:27), Tattoos (19:28), Even a mildly disabled person from becoming a priest (21:18), Charging of interest on a loan (25:37), Collecting firewood on Saturday to prevent your family from freezing, Wearing of clothes made from a blend of textile materials; today this might be cotton and polyester, and Eating of non-kosher foods (e.g. shrimp).

IN ADDITION, THE CODE REQUIRES:
A child to be killed if he/she curses their parent (Leviticus 20:9), All persons guilty of adultery to be killed (20:10), The daughter of a priest who engages in prostitution to be burned alive until dead (21:9), The bride of a priest to be a virgin (21:13), Ritual killing of animals, using cattle, sheep and goats (22:19), A person who takes the Lord's name in vain is to be killed (24:16).

Now, why is it that homosexuality is the one law the religious people pick to enforce all the time? Either all the laws have to be followed or they need to be put in their proper place, which is part of the history of man's religious evolution."

Thanks, Gideon63!

What does it mean to be "Ex-Gay"?

"Ex-gay" is a term used to describe people who claim they were once GLB, but have changed their sexual orientations to be heterosexual. Telling people they can change their sexual orientation when this is not possible, promotes anti-gay feelings and hostilities.

You might have heard people say things like, "If a gay person really wanted to change, he could." Or, "lesbians just had bad experiences with guys. All they need is to meet the right one. Then they'd be straight."

Despite what people think, being GLBT is not a choice, and it is not something that can simply be changed through force of will. Though it is true that people can change their behavior, that's not the same as changing their sexual orientation. For example, a gay guy might decide to date girls because of social and family pressure, but that doesn’t mean he's no longer gay.

Occasionally, parents of LGBT kids think that something called “reparative therapy” can make their children straight. Though there is very little evidence that reparative therapy does what it claims, there is plenty showing the emotional harm that it can inflict. It's also important to know that this kind of therapy is not supported by organizations like the American Psychological Association or the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The "ex-gay" movement is often related to particular organizations (some religious, some not) that have anti-gay agendas and policies.

(By Ellen Friedrichs, About.com)

27 Jun 2016 - New Resource for Trans Youth!

Coming Soon: Our brand-new "Young Trans People Talking" booklet


27 Jun 2016 - Dundalk LGBT Pride 2016

It's nearly here! 14-17 July!


27 Jun 2016 - Dublin Pride 2016

Thanks to all who joined our float!


27 Jun 2016 - NEWS UPDATE!

Click here for what's been keeping us busy


19 Feb 2016 - NEW Publications Page

Due to ongoing demand, we've finally uploaded our publications (old and new) onto our site. Check out it out through our 'Services' tab.


09 Feb 2016 - Safer Internet Day 2016

Tuesday 9th Feb 2016 is Safer Internet Day. Outcomers is taking part by re-launching our LGBT anti-cyberbullying e-book online: click on this news link for more information!