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Help for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Unsure
Getting help and advice
There are many sources of advice, information and help, which you can access if you are, or think you may be, gay, lesbian or bisexual. These resources include websites, booklets, books, movies, TV programmes, switchboards and social groups, including youth groups. How varied these resources are may depend on where you live. For instance, your local library may not have many gay or lesbian books or there may not be an LGBU group available in your area. However, some resources, such as those available on the Internet, are accessible to all.
Many people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure (LGBU) want to meet others who are going through similar situations. Others may want to find out what social events are going on in their area, if there are any gay bars or clubs or if they can access any specific services with LGBU people in mind. A good starting point is to contact a switchboard.
Switchboards, helplines & hotlines
Switchboards are staffed by LGBU people, and they are there to answer questions on all aspects of being gay. You should be charged the cost of a normal telephone call, and the service may operate only at certain times of the day. The volunteers running them can answer specific questions, or refer you to other organisations or groups who can help.
In the UK, the main service is the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, tel: 020 7837 7324
There are many other regional switchboards around the UK, and you may find it beneficial to speak to someone who is familiar with the area in which you live. You will find a list of LGBU switchboards in the UK and Ireland at www.queery.org.uk/StaticPages/Advice.asp.
In the US, the following Switchboard/Hotline services are available.
- The Gay And Lesbian National Hotline Peer counsellors available Mon-Fri, 4pm-midnight and Saturday noon-5pm EST. National toll-free number 1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564) Web: www.glnh.org
- GLBT National Youth Talkline, 1-800-246-PRIDE Mon-Fri 8pm - midnight EST, 5pm - 9pm PST
- Gay & Lesbian Switchboard of NY Project Mon-Fri 4pm-8pm EST, Saturday noon-5pm EST, 212-989-0999
- San Francisco Office, Mon - Fri 5pm - 9pm PST, 415-355-0003
Many LGBU people want to make friends with other people in their area. A good starting point is to attend a group where other LGBU people meet. These social groups are good because they allow you to meet other gay men and women, to talk about your feelings, and you can get help and support. They may have specific themes, such as a sports group or a book group. There could even be one near to where you live. Ask for details through a switchboard, or your local or national LGBU press, or search listings. Many social groups will have websites, so have a look on the Internet. A good start is the Yahoo LGBU directory listings.
In the US, details of social groups and community organisations can be found by searching www.glbtnearme.org
Young people who identify as LGBU, or those who are unsure, are welcome to attend an LGBU youth group. These groups are good because they allow you to meet other young LGBU people, to talk about your feelings, and to get help and support. People there will probably be between about 14 and 25 years old and you'll have plenty in common. Groups meet at fairly easy times, normally early evenings or weeknights. Most activities are free and there will be youth workers there to help you and answer your questions. You can even meet one first before you meet the rest of the group.
In the UK, if you go to www.queeryouth.org.uk you can find listings under the 'Youth Groups' category in the menu. This site will also give details of UK switchboards.
For details of youth groups in the US, information is available from www.glbtnearme.org
For details of youth groups in other countries, try contacting your switchboard for help or try a search on the Internet.
Gay and lesbian magazines are a great way of finding out what is going on, as most will have listings of events, bars, clubs, community groups, youth groups and many other services. You should be able to get hold of gay and lesbian magazines in larger shops/stores. Most will also offer subscription services, whereby you can have it delivered.
In the UK, popular titles include Gay Times, Attitude, Diva and the Pink Paper. In the back of Gay Times, there is a directory containing listings of local youth groups, entertainment venues and community groups. These listings can also be accessed via the Gay Times website. In the US, the main LGB newspaper is called 'The Advocate'.
If you have access to the Internet, websites can be an excellent way of finding out what you need to know about being LGBU. A good starting point could be our teens section. Also in our stories section you can read the many LGBU stories we have posted on the site.
- Albert Kennedy Trust (gay & homeless) : www.akt.org.uk
- Being Gay is OK : www.bgiok.org.uk
- FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) : www.fflag.org.uk
- GALYIC : www.galyic.org.uk
- "I think I'm a lesbian, what do I do now?" : www.advocatesforyouth.org/.../lesbian.htm
- "I think I'm gay, what do I do now?" : www.advocatesforyouth.org/.../gay.htm
- "I think I'm bisexual, what do I do now?" : www.advocatesforyouth.org/.../bisexual.htm
- Joint Action Against Homophobic Bullying :
- Lesbian and Gay Foundation : www.lgf.org.uk
- Lesbian.com : www.lesbian.com
- LGBT Youth Scotland : www.lgbtyouth.org.uk
- Pink UK : www.pinkuk.com
- Queer Youth Alliance : www.queeryouth.org.uk
- Terrence Higgins Trust : www.tht.org.uk
- Pink Paper (UK Gay news) : www.pinkpaper.com
- Stonewall: www.stonewall.org.uk
North American-based websites
- Gay.com : www.gay.com
- GrayGay.com (Gay Men aged 50+) : www.GrayGay.com
- Gay teens : www.gayteens.org
- Gay Times : www.gaytimes.co.uk
- International Queer Resources Directory : www.qrd.org
- Out Everywhere : www.outeverywhere.com
- Yahoo directory listings for all things LGBU : dir.yahoo.com/.../ Lesbians__Gays__and_Bisexuals
GUM & sexual health clinics
Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics (also known as sexual health or family planning clinics) are where you can have sexual health check ups, including HIV and STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) testing. In the UK they should be free and you should be seen anonymously if you want to be. They are generally located in hospital outpatients departments, though you can receive these service from doctors surgeries and health clinics. You may have to make an appointment, though some do offer a drop-in service. Some clinics will also offer clinics specific to women or to gay men's health. AVERT's Help in the UK page has many links to helplines and local help services or to find your nearest GUM services in the UK visit www.fpa.org.uk
If you live outside of these countries, you should be able to ask your doctor how you can access sexual health services in your country. Alternatively, you can search on the Internet or ask your switchboard.
Due to the nature of the Internet, we cannot be held responsible for material contained within these links. In the unlikely event of finding a page you find offensive in any way or if you would like to be added to this page, please do not hesitate to contact us.