By Dr Mimi Goess Saurau, Psychologist

Sexual orientation refers to who one is physically or emotionally attracted to. You do not have to be sexually active in order to have a sexual orientation. It is also important to say that sexual orientation is not a diagnosis. Often what causes most distress in not the realisation that they are not heterosexual, but the potential judgement they may receive from others if they come out. Many people who are in the process of discovering their sexual identity can experience fear that they will receive judgement, and even verbal and physical assaults from others, all of which can have an impact on self-esteem and identity formation. Having a safe space to talk through feelings around the coming out process can be helpful and reduce feelings of isolation.