Coming Out Questions

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GLBT Resources

Online, you'll find tools to help you explore the myriad social and political aspects of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Whether you want to know more about the coming-out experience, are looking for local community resources, want some GLBT activism opportunities, want to stay current on GLBT news and popular culture, are looking for fun things to do, or are looking for a date, the Web can provide access to whatever information or resources you need.

Coming Out Questions

If you're just starting to question whether you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, it's probably a pretty scary and confusing time in your life. You might not yet feel comfortable discussing your concerns with friends or family members. Or perhaps you're ready to seek out support or community but don't know where to go. Not that long ago, you would have had to do a lot of furtive reading in bookstores and libraries before you were ready to venture out in the world. Now you can make that initial exploration a little more safely and anonymously.

If your child, sibling, parent, or spouse has just come out, you're probably bewildered, and possibly terrified. At the very least, you'll need to adjust to what may be a big change in your life and expectations. The Web is a great place to start seeking information.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • It helps to be familiar with the terminology. GLBT refers to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender. Sometimes you'll also see Q for Queer and/or Q for Questioning. GLBT and LGBT are the most common catchall abbreviations. If you type either into a search engine, you'll find many community sites. To gain familiarity with GLBT terms, take a look at this Swedish site.
  • Try to avoid just typing the words, "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual," or "transgender" into a search engine without any modifying terms. While you'll certainly get some informational sites, you'll also get a lot of pornography. That can be pretty jarring if it's not what you're seeking.
  • The anonymity of the Web is part of what makes it a great starting place when you're first seeking information about yourself or a GLBT loved one. As you get more comfortable, the Web will help you find others for support.

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To read the coming-out stories of other people ...
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LGBT Community

The Internet has transformed GLBT people's ability to find community resources and each other. Prior to the Internet, it took a lot more legwork to find community, and it was particularly tough if you didn't live in a major city. Now you can find local, national, and international resources from the comfort of your home. Eventually, you'll still probably want to venture out-of-doors, of course.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Most major-and many smaller-cities have GLBT community centers. Depending on the size of the center, expect a range of program options, including support groups, counseling and health services, social activities, dating groups, and 12-step meetings.
  • The term "community" can refer to the larger GLBT community as a whole, or a smaller, more focused group.
  • Sometimes it's difficult to tell how inclusive a group is simply by its name (or acronym). Sometimes "gay and lesbian" is inclusive of bisexuals or transgender individuals and sometimes not. Sometimes "gay" means men and woman, and sometimes it means only men. Check out a group or resource's Web site for a more detailed description, or contact them using the e-mail address provided.

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For a list of offline GLBT community centers ...
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LGBT Health and Parenting

Of course, in addition to general community resources, there are plenty of subject-specific GLBT resources—many more than can be listed here.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • As a general rule, you can type GLBT [subject] into a search engine to find gay-specific resources for any type of affiliation. For example, "GLBT health".
  • The Links sections in major community sites can often guide you to subject-specific groups and resources.

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For GLBT health and well being ...
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GLBT Media

GLBT news is no longer a fringe topic. All major news outlets cover stories pertaining to various facets of the GLBT community. However, GLBT sites consolidate national and local stories, and cover the smaller stories that are under the radar of major media outlets. Additionally, GLBT sites cover the news from a gay perspective.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Local media responds to reader interest and concerns. Contact your local paper or television station to comment on GLBT stories they cover, or to inquire why they're not covering GLBT news.

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Get Involved with GLBT Rights

There are more GLBT activist groups out there than you can shake a stick at. It's possible to get involved with a myriad of groups to fight for all aspects of gay rights. Some groups are primarily looking for financial donations while others are looking for volunteers to work on particular campaigns—or even to help run the organization.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Joining an advocacy group is not only rewarding due to the work that you do: it can also be a great social and community-building opportunity, and a chance to meet like-minded individuals.
  • There are more ways to get involved than there is time to volunteer. Before jumping in, think about what issues are most important to you, how much time you have, and whether you'd prefer a national or local group.

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For some general groups that deal with GLBT issues ...
For groups that deal with specific GLBT issues ...
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Religious Issues in the GLBT Community

Faith and spirituality can be complicated issues for GLBT folks. Many people raised in communities of faith leave their traditions due to real or perceived discrimination. Some find being gay and religious oxymoronic either because of their views of religion or because of what they've heard from religious leaders. But many others maintain the spiritual beliefs of their childhoods or seek out new religious communities as adults.  If religion or spirituality is important to you, there are many resources on the Web to help you find a community of faith.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • There are gay-specific organizations associated officially or unofficially with many of the world's major religions.
  • Some mainstream religious organizations are very open to active GLBT participation. The Unitarian Universalist Association, in particular, is known for its inclusiveness.
Other churches have faced a great deal of turmoil over gay issues. The Episcopal Church, for example, has been struggling since 2004 with the aftermath of ordaining an openly gay bishop.
  • Many people find that GLBT-oriented religious groups allow their members to be fully religious and fully gay.

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GLBT Travel and Other Activities

Coming out and community and activism are all well and good, but what about good old-fashioned fun? The Web is full of resources for finding GLBT groups for travel and leisure.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Consider what you're looking for in a GLBT vacation. Are you looking for a cruise or an all-inclusive resort-type of vacation? Will you be traveling alone or with others? Are you looking for a specifically gay vacation, or do you just want to make sure that you're aware of the GLBT-friendly options wherever you travel?
  • Some sites offer comprehensive lists of gay travel links. They are a great place to do your initial browsing. Consider Travelers Digest  and Gay Travel Links. Both sites provide links to travel agents and tour operators, and provide general and specific GLBT travel suggestions.
  • For an incredibly thorough group of sport and hobby links, check out Bent Links.

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For GLBT-friendly travel planning ...
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GLBT Dating

While being GLB or T is not all about sex or relationships, dating is certainly an integral part of most single people's lives. The Internet has transformed dating for all populations, but the degree to which it has enhanced GLBT dating options is indescribable.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • You don't need to use a GLBT-specific dating site to find a same-sex date. Many dating sites have same-sex dating options. Fewer traditional dating sites have transgender options though.
  • Have a sense of what you're looking for when you begin-particularly if you are a gay man. Some sites are more sex-oriented, and some are more dating/relationship-oriented. You'll have a better chance of finding what you're looking for if you target your search.
  • Be honest, and be careful. If you misrepresent yourself online, you're unlikely to be able to maintain your charade in person. And remember that not everyone out there is who he or she claims to be. Be cautious about what personal information you disclose. And it's always a good idea to plan a first date for a safe, public place. If you're a teenager, stay away from sites catering to adults.
  • If you're looking for transgender dating sites, avoid any sites that use the term "shemale." It's probably not a legitimate trans site.

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