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Frequently Asked Questions

What does LGBTQI mean?

Lesbian: a woman who has sexual attraction and desire for other women.
Gay: a man who has sexual attraction and desire for other men.
Bisexual: sexual attraction and desire for both men and women.
Transgender: someone who crosses gender boundaries.
Queer: an identity related to experiences of gender and sexuality that exists beyond traditional heterosexuality and understandings of gender.
Questioning: can refer to people who are exploring their sexual identities and desires, and whose identity may not be fully defined.
Intersex: Once known as “hermaphrodite” combination of male and female sex organs and characteristics (from The Intersex Initiative).

These are just words and they are not absolute. Sexuality and gender can be understood as parts of a spectrum, and these terms are just different points along that spectrum. People do identify with these words and experiences, but there are also other terms and experiences in our different languages and cultures.

Why do some LGBTQI people refer to themselves as “queer”?

LGBTQI people use this term “queer” as a way of reclaiming and empowering themselves with an identity that historically was seen as very negative. It is also a unifying and political umbrella term recently adopted by many members of the community, drawing together the experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning individuals who want to redefine traditional ideas of sexuality and gender from just male or female or masculine and feminine roles to more free-flowing, ambiguous expressions of gender and sexual identity.

What should I do if I am confronted about my sexuality by my friends or my family?

It depends on who confronts you and how you feel in terms of disclosing your sexuality to them. It also depends on how comfortable you are with the person who confronts you. Questions you may ask yourself would be “Would I feel safe coming out to this person?” or examine the situation you are in and judge your own personal safety.

Who’s the best person to go to first if I’m thinking about coming out?

The best person to go to would be someone who you trust. This person can be a family member, a family friend, a best friend, a co-worker or anyone that you feel safe with. One suggestion is weighing out the advantages and disadvantages of coming out, and then weighing your options. Some people feel that the best person you should first come out to is yourself. When you feel comfortable, you can go to friends or family members you trust.

Where can my family, friends or parents find support?

There is PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), an organization for parents, family members, and friends who have loved ones who may be LGBTQI. Within this organization is the Asian and Pacific Islander PFLAG which is more culturally specific and sensitive to the needs of API families and cultures. There is also Asian Pacific Islander Family Pride—both groups are based in California. There are a number of groups and organizations for LGBTQI Asians and Pacific Islanders around the US and throughout Asia. The internet is a great place to find out more information. In addition to these resources, family, friends, and parents can also with time find support from one another. An alternative is to speak with a professional counselor or therapist together about issues concerning their loved one’s coming out.

Who can I talk to if I have any more questions about coming out?

You can speak to the YMSM Youth Leaders and staff at the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of HIV/AIDS (APICHA) or contact any organizations that work with LGBTQI young people. For more information, you can also request a copy of our APICHA  Survival Guide for GBTQQ youth.