• STI postal kits are currently delayed due to a temporary postal issue. Please allow up to 21 days for test kits to arrive.  Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea test kits can be picked up from main reception at Unity Central Health Clinic between 09:00 and 16:00 If you urgently need a blood test, or have symptoms, please call 01173426900

Sexuality and Gender

What is sexuality?

Sexuality and sexual orientation is about who you are physically and emotionally attracted to. People whose sexuality is something other than straight are often called LGB (short for lesbian, gay or bisexual).

Different words are used to describe sexual preferences (also known as ‘sexual orientation’), and you may have heard people described as straight, gay or bi.

Some people like using these labels because it can be a way of connecting with other people who feel like them, but some people do not like to define themselves in this way.

You may not know which of these you are, or may not feel that you fit neatly under one label.

How you describe your sexuality is up to you and you don’t need to decide what your preferences are straight away, or ever.

An important thing to remember is that sexuality can change and that you do not have to decide who you are going to be attracted to and stick to it.

Sexuality is not fixed and who you are attracted to can change over time, or even week to week! In fact, who you find yourself attracted to is not really something you can choose or control, which is part of the reason that sex and relationships can be so confusing

Sexual Orientation

Some people are attracted to people of the opposite sex, some to the same sex, and some to both. Lots of young people find themselves feeling confused about who they are attracted to.

Being lesbian, gay or bisexual isn’t a choice, it’s the way someone feels inside and is natural to that person. It may take a while for you to work out your own feelings.

For some young people coming to terms with the fact that they might be attracted to someone of the same sex can be very difficult. If you feel like this, remember that there are plenty of people who can help.


Coming out

The process of ‘coming out’ is when a person accepts their sexuality and gender and shares this with other people.  It can be a long and sometimes difficult process



Trans is an umbrella term for those who feel that their assigned sex at birth (male or female) does not match or sit easily with how they feel, or their self identified gender identity. For example, someone might be born male but feels they are actually female.

It encompasses transsexuals, transgendered people and cross dressers, or anyone who challenges gender norms.

It may be that a trans person feels more the ‘opposite’ sex.  They might choose to change their bodies hormonally and/or surgically in order to align their body with their mind, their outside appearance with their internal feelings.

Cross dressers may dress to express the more masculine or feminine side of themselves, or simply because they find those clothes more comfortable.

Gender variant or gender queer people may identify as outside of or beyond the gender binary (being either ‘male’ or ‘female’). Expressing gender variance often challenges what we think of as gender norms.

For some young people, coming to terms with the fact that they might be trans or gender variant can be very difficult. If you feel like this, remember that there are plenty of people who can help. They can talk things through with you and help you to explore and come to terms with the way you feel.

There are local and national organisations  such as Freedom (Bristol) and  Gendered Intelligence (London-based) , both have useful websites for trans young people including advice for parents.


Freedom, delivered by Off The Record (Bristol) is a fun, safe, social space for LGBTQ young people aged 14-25 to meet each other, discuss issues important to them and have their voices heard. Freedom is open to anyone that identifies as LGBTQ or is questioning their sexuality – no labels applied.

Off The Record (Bristol) provides free, self-referral, confidential mental health support for young people aged 11-25 resident in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. This includes one-to-one counselling, group work, and bespoke targeted interventions with especially vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Freedom Youth is one of a handful of youth-led mental health projects facilitated by the charity.



Gendered Intelligence

This organisation runs projects where young trans people can meet one another and talk about what it’s been like for them.

At the sessions, young trans people can explore their gender identity, ask questions and address their needs. The group also provides an opportunity for young trans people to tell their stories and to gain support from one another. They run various activities in a safe space, there is an annual camping trip, and opportunities to make friends!

They currently meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month, 6-8pm and the last Saturday of the month, 2-5pm in London. Sometimes the location varies depending on the event.  We encourage young people from across the UK to come along and have travel bursaries available for those that need them to pay for your travel.

Gendered Intelligence also have a mentor scheme and work one to one with a young trans person who is in education as well as offer training to teachers and support parents and family members too.


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