In every culture, past and present, there have been same-sex relationships.
Gay and lesbian people are all ages, come from all ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic classes and educational levels. Though it may seem that being lgbtq is less common than being straight, it is still a normal part of human nature.
No matter where you come from, you have probably had contact with someone in the lgbtq community...simply because there is nothing specific that would "identify" a gay person from a straight one. You can't tell just by looking at someone if they are gay or not. Overall, sexual orientation is determined by a variety of genetic, environmental, and emotional factors, but not by a teen's appearance or activities.
Click above to learn about some myths concerning LGBTQ.
It is more common than most think for individuals to question their sexual orientation and gender identity - especially before and during their teens. Even the terms they use to identify themselves may change over time.
Below are some terms relating to the LGBTQ community:
Sexual Orientation: a person's emotional, sexual, and/or attraction to others
Gender Identity: a person's sense of being male, female or something else
Heterosexual:someone who is attracted to members of the opposite sex
Homosexual: someone who is attracted to members of the same sex
Lesbian:a female who is sexually attracted to another female
Bisexual:someone who feels attraction for members of both sexes
Gay:a male who is sexually attracted to another male
Transgender:someone who identifies as a sex opposite of their biological sex. It is a gender expression not matching one's assigned sex.
Questioning: a term used to describe individuals who are unsure about their sexual orientation
Queer:an "umbrella term" that includes anyone who feels somehow outside of the societal norms in regards to gender, sexuality or/and even politics. (People who identify as queer may include a straight person who marches during pride, a republican lesbian, the person who highly values queer theory concepts and would rather not identify with any particular label such as gay or lesbian, or the person who just does not feel like they quite fit into the "normal social standards" and want to bond with a community that feels the same).
Two-Spirit: a term used by Native American communities to describe individuals who express their gender, sexual orientation, and/or sex/gender roles in indigenous, non-Western ways, using tribal terms and concepts, and/or define themselves as LGBTQ in a native context.
Visit the official White House website to learn more about what's happening around the country to celebrate PRIDE, and check out this LGBTQ page to find out what you can do to become more involved in this important movement.
This photo was borrowed and is accredited to the NOH8 Campaign website.