Sexual Orientation & Coming Out

By Dr. Kelvin Adams. Updated 13th Oct 2014

Sexual orientation is a term that includes many aspects including sexual attraction (who a person is sexually attracted to), sexual behaviour (who a person has sex with), and sexual identity (which label and/or community a person identifies with, be that lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, heterosexual or other labels). All variations of sexual orientation are normal and should not to be regarded as forms of illness, pathology or immorality.
Many people have a slowly growing awareness of their same sex attractions. This often occurs during adolescence, however can occur at any age. Identifying as gay or bisexual may or may not follow. Attraction, behaviour and identity may completely overlap for some men, for example when a man is attracted to men, has sex exclusively with men and identifies as gay. However, for some men, these dimensions do not completely overlap, for example when a man is attracted to men only, has a female sexual partner and identifies as heterosexual. Another man may be attracted to both men and women, have only female sexual partners and identify as bisexual. This can change over time for different men.

Knowing when, where and how to come out as a same sex attracted man is important. Some men find coming out easy and others need support and help to deal with negative attitudes. It can be very useful to discuss these issues with a sensitive health care provider.

A helpful book:

Shale, E (editor). Inside Out: and Australian collection of coming out stories. Bookman Press, Melbourne, 1999.

Resources and groups:

The Rainbow Network provides connection to several same-sex attracted and gender diverse youth groups in Victoria, providing a list of groups, resources and other information.

Vintage Men Incorporated   A social support group for mature gay, bisexual men and their friends.

Way Out is a particularly active rural Victorian group.

Minus 18
Alcohol and drug free events and support for SSAGQ (same sex attracted & gender questioning) young people under 18 years old