Unfortunately, discrimination due to gender or sexuality is still prevalent and can lead to bullying and mental or physical abuse, which can be extremely damaging to your wellbeing. There are many issues that you may be concerned about:
- Fear of how people will react, especially family members, close friends and work colleagues
- Rejection or hostility
- Fear of being bullied or abused
Not everyone is confident in themselves and it may be that you have low self esteem as a result of the issues you are facing. Feeling afraid and vulnerable can have a huge impact on mental health if you don’t have anyone to confide in and are keeping your thoughts and emotions bottled up.
Over time, if you aren’t able to express yourself truthfully and you suppress your thoughts and emotions for too long, you could experience the following:
- Becoming withdrawn
- Disturbed sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of concentration
Worry and fear can have a damaging effect on your body as well as your mind and can cause an increase in stress, anxiety and depression, so it’s important to seek help and support and come to terms with your sexuality and gender in order to live a healthy life.
Ways to deal with your sexualityThere are lots of informative websites where you can learn about sexuality and gender identities. It's good to check these out and see which you identify with. It can also be comforting to know that there are other people who think or feel the same way as yourself and that you’re not alone.
When you recognise certain feelings, don’t deny them and push them aside, instead, try to accept them. It’s important to be honest with yourself rather than pretending to the world that you’re something you’re not.
Talking is a great way to explore your own emotions and find reassurance that whatever you’re feeling is okay. If at first you don’t feel comfortable enough to talk with someone you know, you can get lots of advice online and even join a forum where you don’t have to disclose your identity. This is a good way to get advice from others who have gone through something similar and it can make you feel less isolated.
Although it might seem like a difficult step to take, confiding in a close friend or family member might not be as scary as you think. Opening up will not only relieve some of your anxiety, it can also increase your self-confidence.
Mind has a helpful fact sheet that offers ways of coping with doubts about your sexual identity as well as providing details for organisations with a range of services related to sexuality.
You can also find out More about gender and sexual identity on our website.