What does questioning mean?
Questioning is a term that can refer to a person who is questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are intensely personal aspects of ourselves that sometimes take a little while to figure out. They are two separate experiences, one is about attractions to others (sexual orientation) and one is about how you feel about yourself and your body (gender identity). For some people, gender is more complicated and we hear less about it. Still – questioning is a natural process of healthy identity development for ALL people.
Determining your sexual orientation or gender identity can be a confusing experience, but only you can truly determine it, on your own terms. There's no test for it yet, so the most reliable method is to examine your feelings, pay attention to how you respond to others, and make an educated guess based on accurate information. Exploring could be short-lived or a lifelong process. Most important is that you have caring people around you to support you in wherever this process takes you.
If you are questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity, the only person who knows if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans* is YOU.
I’m Questioning…now what?
REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you are questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity, know that there are many, many people who have been in your situation. Doubt, guilt, confusion, and uncertainty are all common responses to learning this new part of yourself. You are not any less of a person for being who you are.
BE CAUTIOUS OF ANYONE THAT INSISTS THAT YOU'RE A CONFUSED HETEROSEXUAL. Especially if they’re trying to pressure you to adopt a set of beliefs or a course of action. You may very well be "confused" or "experimenting," but only you can determine who you are. You have the right to determine what you call yourself, if you call yourself anything at all.
REALIZE THAT THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT PATHS TO DISCOVERING YOUR IDENTITY. Some people know from a very early age; others take time to discover their true self, perhaps even realizing it only in later life. There is no specific schedule on figuring out your feelings or exploring your identity. It’s your journey!
Feeling like you can’t talk about questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity can be overwhelming for many people. Having to hide your feelings or thoughts can make you feel like hurting yourself, taking senseless risks, using alcohol or other drugs, or attempting suicide. You may feel isolated, fearful, and depressed, especially if you don’t have anyone to talk to about questioning.
The Alliance can help so you don’t have to feel alone in the process. We can connect you to other youth, work with your school to make it safer, link you with information about the community, support your family through the process, or we can just listen and be there for you.
If you are considering suicide, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Please call our local Switchboard of Miami LGBTQ Helpline (305) 646-3600 available 24/7 (trilingual staff will be ready to assist in English, Spanish, and Creole. You and your feelings are valuable!