GENDER AND SEXUALITY
See what some experts have to say
See what your peers have to say
We understand that sometimes all those letters can be confusing. We have done our best to compile as many definitions as possible. Hope it helps!
I JUST FIGURED OUT I’M NOT STRAIGHT. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
“Tasting the rainbow,” as gay people will call it, is the most interesting experience you will have when you realize you are not straight. If you are confused on why you aren’t straight, research the different sexualities that exist. You could be homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or asexual, and you don’t even need to use a label if you don’t want to. Check out the LGBTQ+ definitions for more info. Accepting yourself is a tough journey, but once you accept yourself, you’ll feel much more comfortable with your identity and community.
MY BIOLOGY DOESN’T MATCH HOW I SEE MY GENDER. WHAT DO I DO?
When you realize your body doesn’t match how you view your gender identity, the first action you should take is to research online. Instead of staying in a confused state and not understanding what is happening with you, try to read doctor’s articles or watch transgender YouTubers to see why you are feeling so uncomfortable with your body. You can either be MTF (male to female), FTM (female to male), nonbinary, genderfluid, or agender. Once you find a community of people who understand your struggles, you will feel way more comfortable with yourself.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GENDER DYSPHORIA AND DYSMORPHIA?
Gender dysphoria is when you feel your body and biology do not match your gender identity. For example, if you identify as male but were born female, your voice might make you feel extremely uncomfortable because most men don’t have a feminine voice. Body dysmorphia is when you don’t like your body, but you still identify as the gender in which you were assigned at birth. For example, if you think your stomach is larger than it is in actuality, that is a form of dysmorphia.
HOW CAN I MINIMIZE MY GENDER DYSPHORIA?
The best way to minimize your gender dysphoria is to distract yourself. You will feel more at peace with your body if you put your attention on your own interests. For example, listening to music, reading a book, hanging out with friends, and exercising are ways you can distract yourself from your thoughts that tie back to your body. Sometimes watching transition videos on YouTube and researching about hormones can make you more excited for the future instead of solely focusing on your present self.
MY PARENTS/FRIENDS KEEP DEADNAMING AND MISGENDERING ME. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
When your friends and parents deadname or misgender you, constantly remind them of who you truly are. For example, if you identify as female but your parents keep referring to you as a man, speak up and tell them your pronouns. Same thing goes for deadnaming. Most of the time, parents and friends accidentally forget they are deadnaming or misgendering you, so it’s best to constantly remind them to fix the way in which they refer to you. If your friends and parents are purposefully misgendering/deadnaming you, keep reminding them of who you are and call them out on their transphobic actions
WHAT STEPS DO I NEED TO TAKE IN ORDER TO START HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY AND CHANGE MY LEGAL NAME/ GENDER MARKER?
In order to start hormone replacement (HRT), you will need to obtain a referral from your physician in order to set up an appointment with a local endocrinologist. For trans women, you will be prescribed estrogen, and for trans men, testosterone. In order to change your legal name, you will need to make an appointment with the Santa Clara County Superior Court. You will need to change your passport, social security, and any other important records outside of the court after you obtain your legal name change. In order to change your gender marker in California, you will need a note from your doctor saying you have completed enough of your transition in order to change your gender marker. Again, you will have to change your important documents separately from court.
HOW SHOULD I COME OUT TO MY PARENTS (WHAT IF THEY’RE CONSERVATIVE)?
Before coming out to your parents, make sure they are supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. If your parents are supportive, try to pull them aside at a quiet time in order to let them know about who you are. Your parents may not understand at first, and it might take time for them to fully accept your sexuality or gender identity, but know your family loves and supports you no matter what after you come out. If your parents are not supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, wait until you are an adult before coming out. If you come out as a minor, they may say homophobic or transphobic comments to you, and your living environment may become toxic and unhealthy.
HOW DO I HANDLE HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA AT SCHOOL?
If you are feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in a classroom due to some homophobic or transphobic comments students are making, make sure you have a friend you can sit by so you can feel safer. If you start feeling very uncomfortable, inform your teacher and ask to step outside for a bit. If you feel brave enough, tell the students to be quiet because their comments are disrespectful. If the students are targeting you specifically, inform your teacher and the assistant principal immediately. Don’t give the students the power to continue discriminating against you.
WHERE ARE SOME SAFE PLACES AT SCHOOL WHERE PEOPLE WILL SUPPORT ME?
At LGHS, there is a GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance). The GSA meets every Wednesday at lunch in Room 42 (Mrs. Hesik’s rainbow room) on the third floor of the business wing. In the GSA, there is a support group for students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. As well as the GSA, the teachers, counselors, and CASSY members at LGHS will always accept and support you. Always make sure to be out to at least one of your teachers so if you need support, you can always talk to them.
MY FRIENDS/FAMILY JUST REJECTED ME FOR COMING OUT. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
If your friend rejects you when you come out, try finding a new friend who will support you no matter what. For family, parents tend to reject their kid’s coming out moment when they are in a state of denial, so be patient if your parents don’t support you immediately. Hopefully, your parents will overcome their denial and learn to love every part of you. If they don’t, you either have to rely on your friends or other adults for support or learn to live with the fact that your parents won’t accept you for being you.
MY RELATIVE/FRIEND JUST CAME OUT TO ME. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If your friend or family member comes out to you a member of the LGBTQ+ community, be as supportive and accepting of them as possible. Coming out to someone is the scariest and most anxiety-inducing thing a person could do in their lifetime. Coming out takes guts, so be sure to show your friend/family member you will accept them no matter what. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions; it is always better to educate yourself than to make assumptions about your friends or family members
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO SHOW MY SUPPORT AS A STRAIGHT, CISGENDERED ALLY?
One, never make assumptions about the LGBTQ+ community without asking someone first; the most painful thing you could do is to argue with someone and minimize their problems when you don’t understand them yourself. Two, educate yourself. Ask your LGBTQ+ friends/family questions about their experiences in order to improve your understanding of their situations. Three, use your privilege to enhance LGBTQ+ voices instead of drowning them out. Don’t be afraid to call out homophobia/transphobia at school whenever possible.
Cats to Cats is a peer-to-peer organization. The students on staff are not qualified to give advice or assist directly with any of the mental health issues presented. All informational and educational content is from widely-accepted sources and the testimonies of individuals featured and interviewed. More information on any of the sources or individuals can be found on this page or on our website. The information cited does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Cats to Cats Team or Los Gatos High School.
Students can seek on-campus professional help from our contracted mental health provider CASSY, or view our Cats to Cats Therapy Information page for information on outside organizations. In addition, crisis hotlines are listed on our website.
In addition, if we receive any information involving potential or real harm to self or others, we are legally required to report the incident, which can lead to potential intervention by school or other authorities. The person who contacted us and/or the person's parents will be contacted to verify that the student's parents are aware of the situation and/or that the student is under the care of a professional.
In case of a criminal report, or when in doubt, please contact WeTip at 1-800-78-crime. WeTip receives anonymous and confidential reports and follows up with potential crimes. We encourage all students to be upstanders instead of bystanders when they witness or are the victims of wrongdoing.