veryone is born a girl or a boy. Our genitals tell which sex we are. Sexual orientation refers to whether a person is heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

People may be attracted to, may fall in love, or may have sexual relationship with people of one or both sexes. A heterosexual (or straight) person is sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. In a heterosexual relationship, a male and a female may be attracted to, may fall in love, or may have sexual intercourse with each other. A bisexual person is sexually attracted to people of both sexes. A homosexual person is sexually attracted to someone of his/her sex. Female homosexuals are called lesbians and male homosexuals are called gays.

Nobody is sure how many people are homosexuals or why they become that way. Scientists do not completely understand or agree on why one person grows up to be homosexual and another person grows up to be heterosexual. Some scientists believe that being homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual is not something you choose— just as you cannot choose whether to be born male or female. They believe that a person is born with traits that make him or her develop into a straight, gay or bi person. Other scientists believe that events during a person’s childhood determine whether he will grow up to be straight, gay or bi.

All young people, whether boy or girl feel close to and admire someone of their own sex. Those feelings are a normal part of growing up. Some even experiment sexually in front of or with people of their own sex. This does not necessarily mean that they will grow up to be gay or bi.

Some people, cultures and religions disapprove of homosexual and bisexual behaviour. Some even hate people who are this way. People may feel this way because they think gay and bi people are different from them or that this is wrong. Usually, these people know little or nothing about homo- and bisexuals and their views are often based on fears or misinformation.

If you believe you are gay or bi, or you’re concerned about your sexual feelings, you may want to talk to someone you know and trust— a parent, friend, relative, counselor at a teen clinic, teacher, or your pastor/imam. These people can give you information to help you understand and deal with your concerns.