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Frequent Questions from GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) Students

What does it mean to be lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, or asexual?

Males that identify as gay are sexually attracted to other men. Females that identify as lesbian are women who are attracted to women. Bisexuals are individuals that have feelings of attraction for both men and women. Transgender people were assigned either male or female at birth and usually identify outside of that binary. Asexual individuals do not experience sexual attraction. You can find more detailed terms listed on the “LGBTQA A-Z” page here at the WebCenter.

How do I know if I’m lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/asexual?

There is no reason for you to feel as though you must rush to decide how to label yourself even if you don't know what to call your sexual feelings. Sexual identity is a very personal matter that is different for every individual. Your sexual feelings may be so strong that they are not directed toward particular people or situations but seem to emerge without cause. You can become more comfortable with your sexual identity over time. Only you will know how to label yourself correctly and that label can change.

Is being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or asexual normal?

Identifying as something other than heterosexual is absolutely normal. Take time to read more about GSM identities. The LGBTQA+ WebCenter is a great place to start finding information. Check out the Get ConnectedIllinois Resources, and National Resources pages to find further information.

Some experts estimate that about one in 10 people in the world may identify as LGBTQ. This means that in any large group of people, there are usually several LGBTQ people present. However, often no one can tell whether someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender unless he or she wants it known.

What is “coming out?”

As individuals feel more comfortable with their identities, some feel the desire to tell others about their orientation. This is known as coming out. For more information about this, please look at the Coming Out section of the LGBTQA WebCenter.

How can I reconcile my sexual orientation with my faith?

The navigation of a LGBTQ+ sexual orientation and faith is a difficult question for many people. It is important to understand that being LGBTQ+ does not impact a person's ability to be moral and spiritual. There are many LGBTQA+ individuals who are active within their religious communities. It is up to you to explore, question and make choices in order to reconcile religion with homosexuality and gender variance. Faith is a very personal matter, just as sexuality, and is experienced in many different ways by different people.

What should I do if I feel I have been harassed as an LGBTQA+ individual?

It is the policy of Eastern Illinois University that sexual harassment of one member of the campus community by another will not be tolerated. Harassment and discrimination should not be something you should deal with alone. There are three offices that faculty, staff, or students can contact to report harassment or discrimination Office of Civil Rights and Diversity at 217-581-5020; University Police Department at 217-581-3213 or Office of Student Standards at 217-581-3827.

Can gay people have families?

Many LGBTQA+ individuals have families. LGBTQA+ couples form committed and loving relationships just as their heterosexual counterparts. Many LGBTQA+ couples in the United Stated choose to celebrate their love with commitment ceremonies or civil unions, even though in some places these couples are not offered the same rights and benefits of marriage. Adoption laws vary from state to state, but a growing number of LGBTQA+ couples are also raising children and forming families. For more information about LGBTQA+ families, check out the National Resources page of the LGBTQA+ WebCenter.