Questioning (sexuality and gender)

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The questioning of one's status as a male, female or other (gender or gender identity), attraction to other people (sexual orientation) or both[1][2] is often referred to in the LGBT community as just "questioning".

Questioning these aspects is a process of exploring things about oneself, which may make people unsure and worried about applying a label to themselves for different reasons.[3][4]

The letter "Q" is often added to the end of the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender); the "Q" can refer to either queer or questioning.[5] Many LGBT student groups and books include questioning in their books and literature; in the case of gay-straight alliances they do so in part so that students are not forced to label themselves or choose a sexual or gender identity.[6][7]

According to the American Psychological Association:

"Adolescence can be a period of experimentation, and many youths may question their sexual feelings. Becoming aware of sexual feelings is a normal developmental task of adolescence. Sometimes adolescents have same-sex feelings or experiences that cause confusion about their sexual orientation. This confusion appears to decline over time, with different outcomes for different individuals."[8]

Some young people avoid "coming out of the closet" (telling others their sexual orientation) because of homophobic negative beliefs by other people.[8][9] For some young people, admitting their sexual or gender identity can bring an end to this confusion.[8] Those who receive support can often live happy and healthy lives. However, those who do not are more likely to have to deal with bullying, experiencing suicidal thoughts, and are more likely to engage in risky activities such as having unprotected sex (not using a condom), misuse drugs and become alcoholic. Questioning young people are at higher risk of these than their open LGBT peers.[10]

An issue of anxiety or depression related to a doubt about one's gender identity or sexual orientation has been classified as sexual maturation disorder by the WHO in the ICD-10, under "Mental and behavioural sicknesses/problems connected with sexual development and orientation".[11] Sexual orientation, by itself, is not an illness and is not classified under this heading.

References[change | change source]

  1. Webber, Carlisle K. (2010). Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teen Literature: A Guide to Reading Interests. Libraries Unltd Inc., ISBN 978-1-59158-506-0
  2. Bahrampour, Tara (April 4, 2005). Silence Speaks Volumes About Gay Support. Washington Post
  3. Martin, Hillias J.; Murdock, James R. (2007). Serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians. Neal-Schuman Publishers, ISBN 978-1-55570-566-4
  4. How to Cope With Your Sexual Identity, TeenIssues
  5. Questioning Sexuality Through the Q's, Irene Monroe, A Globe of Witness
  6. [1]
  7. "Gay-Straight Alliances: Common Legal Questions and Answers", Courtney Joslin, National Center for Lesbian Rights.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality" (PDF). Washington DC: American Psychological Association. 2008. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  9. Thomas, Suzy R.; Larrabee, Timothy G. (2002). Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning Youth. In Sandoval, Jonathan (Ed.) Handbook of crisis counseling, intervention, and prevention in the schools, pp. 301 ff. Psychology Press, ISBN 978-0-8058-3616-5
  10. Hutchison, Elizabeth D. (2010). Dimensions of Human Behavior: The Changing Life Course. SAGE. p. 252. 
  11. F66.0

Other websites[change | change source]