Read GLBTQ Online

Authors: Kelly Huegel

Tags: #Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth


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Copyright © 2011, 2003 by Kelly Huegel

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Unless otherwise noted, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher, except for brief quotations or critical reviews. For more information, go to

Free Spirit, Free Spirit Publishing, and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Free Spirit Publishing Inc. A complete listing of our logos and trademarks is available at

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Huegel, Kelly, 1974–

GLBTQ : the survival guide for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens / Kelly Huegel. — Rev. & updated 2nd ed.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-1-57542-363-0

1. Homosexuality—United States—Juvenile literature. 2. Coming out (Sexual orientation)—United States—Juvenile literature. 3. Gay teenagers—United States—Juvenile literature. 4. Lesbian teenagers—United States—Juvenile literature. 5. Transgender people—United States—Juvenile literature. 6. Bisexuals—United States—Juvenile literature. I. Title. II. Title: Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning.

HQ76.25.H84 2011



eBook ISBN: 978-1-57542-704-1

Free Spirit Publishing does not have control over or assume responsibility for author or third-party websites and their content. At the time of this book's publication, all facts and figures cited within are the most current available. All telephone numbers, addresses, and website URLs are accurate and active; all publications, organizations, websites, and other resources exist as described in this book; and all have been verified as of December 2010. If you find an error or believe that a resource listed here is not as described, please contact Free Spirit Publishing. Parents, teachers, and other adults: We strongly urge you to monitor children's use of the Internet.

The names of the teens and young adults quoted throughout this book have been changed to protect their privacy and/or safety.

Photo credits in order of appearance: cover © Stockbyte, Futcher, © Bink |, © Guido, © Wavebreakmediamicro |, © Yuri Arcurs |, © Estey, ©, © Pavel Losevsky |, © Futcher, © boonyen, © Ali Rıza Yıldız |

Reading Level Grades 9 & Up; Interest Level Ages 13 & Up;

Fountas & Pinnell Guided Reading Level Z

Free Spirit Publishing Inc.

Minneapolis, MN

(612) 338-2068

[email protected]


For my family, for whom I have the utmost love and respect.

For Yvonne, who inspires me.

And for queer kids everywhere. You are my heroes.


Here is where I get to thank people. I'll do my best not to make this sound like an Oscar speech and will get off the stage before the music starts playing.

Thank you, first, to Yvonne. You have the biggest, most generous heart of anyone I know. You have enriched the lives of so many young people and helped them learn that it doesn't matter where they've come from, but rather where they're going. Your love both humbles and empowers me.

To my family, whose continued support and encouragement truly know no bounds, thank you. If it had been up to me, I could not have chosen better. You are the definition of unconditional love.

Thanks to Free Spirit for still believing in this book and for being a voice for kids on so many issues. An enormous thank you to Douglas Fehlen, my editor, who took such great care in his work and whose contributions helped take this book to the next level. Thanks, as well, to Phoenix Schneider for so kindly agreeing to take part in this second edition.

I wish to thank again all of those who contributed to the first iteration of this book, including the national organizations that provided facts, opinions, and expertise on these varied and sometimes complicated issues. I am just the mouthpiece—you are doing the work.

Finally, again, thank you to the fearless teens and young adults who lent their voices and their very personal stories to this book. You are our future, and that future is very bright, indeed.

A Changing World
About This Book
Chapter 1: GLBTQ 101
GLBTQ Terminology
A Biology Lesson? The Science of GLBTQ
Your Personal Geography: Exploring Who You Are
Myths, Generalizations, and Just Plain Absurd Ideas About GLBTQ People . . . and the Truth
Chapter 2: Homophobia
The 411 on Hate: The Roots of Homophobia
The Big Bad World? Homophobia in Society and at School
Responding to Homophobia
When Homophobia = Ongoing Harassment
The Good News
Chapter 3: Coming Out
What Is Coming Out All About?
How's the Weather Out There? Deciding If You're Ready (and If It's Safe) to Come Out
I Have Something to Tell You: Coming Out to Your Family
Chicas, Peeps, and Brahs: Coming Out to Your Friends
Coming Out at School
Chapter 4: Life at School
School Life for GLBTQ Teens: The Big Picture
Feeling Invisible . . . or
Exercising Your Rights as a GLBTQ Student
The Voice of Authority: Talking to Teachers and Administrators
Club Life: Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) and Other Queer-Friendly Activities
Moving On: Deciding If You Need to Change Schools
Chapter 5: GLBTQ Friends
Part of the Family: The Utterly Diverse, Somewhat Cohesive, Always Interesting GLBTQ Community
IMRU2? Meeting Other GLBTQ Teens
Making Connections: GLBTQ Online Communities
Queer Compadres: GLBTQ Friendships
Straight But Not Narrow: Other Friends
Chapter 6: Dating and Relationships
Soul Searching: Figuring Out If You're Ready to Date
Who Gets the Check? GLBTQ Dating Basics
Being “Out” on a Date
Singing the Breakup Blues
Abusive Relationships: Recognizing Them and Getting Help
Chapter 7: Sex and Sexuality
Making Sound Decisions About Sex
Five Myths (and Truths) About GLBTQ Sex
The Big Picture: STIs and Pregnancy
Chapter 8: Staying Healthy
Chilling Out: Dealing with Stress as a GLBTQ Teen
When Stress Turns Into Depression
Thinking About Drinking: Making Decisions About Alcohol
The Truth About Tobacco
Avoiding Drugs
Chapter 9: Religion and Culture
States of Being: Religious Life and GLBTQ Life
Making Room in Religion: Reconciling Your Personal Beliefs
Cultural Differences, Being GLBTQ, and You
Chapter 10: Transgender Teens
What Does It Mean to Be Transgender?
How Do You Know? Figuring Out If You're Transgender
Now What? Options for Trans Teens
Trans Pride: Responding to Transphobia
Chapter 11: Work, College, and Beyond
Finding a GLBTQ-Friendly Company
Being GLBTQ in the Workplace: Your Decisions and Your Rights
A Perfect Match: Finding the Right School
Going with the Flow: Some Thoughts on Getting Older
Selected Bibliography
About the Author
by Phoenix Schneider

Today is unlike any period in history in terms of the GLBTQ rights movement and our awareness and acceptance of varying orientations and identities. When I was growing up as a teen in the 1990s, I faced some significant challenges with regard to my sexual orientation and gender identity. I first came out as bisexual in high school and felt pressured by both the straight and gay communities to pick a side.

When I came out later in college as trans/genderqueer, both the straight and GLBTQ communities wanted me to pick a gender. People were uncomfortable with the fact that I didn't fall into one nice and neat little box—straight or gay, male or female. What I learned is that there are no limitations to how a person can identify, and no one can take away what feels right for you or the ways in which you choose to express yourself.

Since that time, more people—especially young people—have been pushing the envelope in terms of how they identify. This change is part of a kind of gender and sexuality revolution taking place throughout society. Statistically, today's young people are more accepting not only of GLBTQ people, but also of those who choose not to identify as one gender or sexual orientation over another. These evolving viewpoints encourage a celebration of each person's unique blueprint in this wonderfully diverse universe.

Still, as with all societal change, evolution can be slow and significant challenges remain. Homophobia and transphobia still exist in many communities, and these negative attitudes can have a heavy impact on the safety and well-being of all GLBTQ people, especially queer young people.

Fortunately, there are more resources for queer teens than ever, including this book.
GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens
can provide you with different perspectives, ideas, support, and resources about coming out, religion and spirituality, dating and relationships, self-care, and many other issues.

This book takes a holistic approach to what it's like to be a young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning person and provides not only sound advice on dealing with common issues, but also voices of queer teens who have “been there.” Kelly Huegel has written a guide that can benefit anyone who is GLBTQ or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity as well as anyone who cares about someone who is GLBTQ.

Much of my own work as program director with The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among GLBTQ teens, is focused on helping young people with limited support systems and access to resources. The Trevor Project fosters creative self-expression, support, and acceptance for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

If you are a young GLBTQ person who feels misunderstood, lonely, depressed, or suicidal, you are not alone. Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or feel like you don't really identify with one particular sexual orientation or gender identity,
this is normal.
Know that there are people in this world who understand and accept you for exactly who you are. You can connect with other GLBTQ people and straight allies who are more than willing to provide advice and support.

It's truly a journey to fully accept and discover who you are, how you relate to others, and what decisions empower you to feel most comfortable being who you were born to be:
your unique, beautiful self.

Phoenix Schneider, MSW

Program Director, The Trevor Project

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