What is bgiok all about? What does it do?

'Being gay is okay' offers 'Information and advice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and unsure under twenty-fives.' bgiok is sort of a beginners guide to being gay, using accessible language to give practical advice. It's not about 'promotion', because being gay isn't a club that you sign up to. It's about feeling better about reality and making the best of it. It's about showing that being gay is different - not worse. We try to do this via the range of content. There's also a problem page where visitors can submit their unique concerns.

What is the history of bgiok?

Created in 2000 by Jason Mitchell bgiok went through changes and remakes as he learned more about website and graphic design and about what visitors want from the site. It was last rebuilt in May-June 2014. The mobile version was born in May 2014. In 2016 bgiok was gifted by Jason to the LGBT support charity Outline to maintain and presurve it.

Who runs bgiok?

bgiok is a non-profit project run entirely by volunteers from the charity Outline

Do you offer telephone, text message, or crisis support?

No. It's beyond the scope and resources of bgiok to offer these. Please see this page in the links section for organisations who do.

Why use cartoony graphics? Shouldn't you take people's problems seriously? (applies to the desktop version of the site)

bgiok isn't all about problems and it doesn't assume all visitors are having a tough time. We take peoples' problems very seriously, but we didn't think that is a reason to have a flat, formal or dull looking website. bgiok was created to have a positive and inspiring tone because we think many of us could do with viewing homosexuality in a better way. We think it's a website that stands out from the crowd.

Is bgiok strictly for people under 25 years old? Will you help people who are older?

bgiok is aimed at people under 25 because the younger years are often the most challenging and tumultuous in a gay person's life, with the most unanswered questions, new challenges and often a lack of support or the ability to seek it. But people older than 25 are not banned! We have, and still do, reply to problem page emails from people over 25

From Jason the original author of BGIOK

bgiok was born in 2000. It's hard to remember the exact moment I decided to create it, but I remember being very excited. Through friends and a gay youth group I used to attend, I'd met a lot of people who had experienced problems with their sexuality. I'd encountered a few obstacles along the way myself and had been bullied from a young age because I was gay. It occurred to me that there were a lack of websites for young gay, bi or unsure people that offered genuine advice and support; a website that attempted to answer questions that a reader might have felt unable to ask at school or even at home.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you what generally happens when you type the 'g' word into a search engine. I had also been disappointed with some of the existing gay youth websites that seemed to focus on celebrity gossip, sex and fashion. Knowing what Kylie has for dinner is not very useful to someone who's been told they're going to hell for being gay. I'd also noticed that free magazines handed out in gay venues tended to proliferate the stereotype of young gay people all being promiscuous clubbers with attitude. I didn’t just want to promote the idea that it was okay to be gay, but also that it was okay to be yourself.

After 16 years of running the website I felt it was time to move on to other projects. Now that bgiok is entrusted to Outline I intend to focus on my other passion, www.anothervegan.co.uk, and on illustration and other creative pursuits.

Nice things people have said about bgiok

"Thanks so much for the response, I've told a few of my close friends and they're all fine with it, no problems at all. I feel like everything is going to be fine now, what you said really made me think, thanks for all your help. I couldn't have done it without you!" - Alex

"Thank you again for your friendship over the last two weeks, it's been hard as my son is away and knowing how worried he's been I desperately want to talk with him but have to wait till he gets home late on Friday. Your emails, and your website have been a great help to me during this time." - Karen

"Dear Jason, Thank you! This is the most helpful site I have ever been on! Before I found this site I was a lonely, confused, teenager who self harmed. I'm now a happy, healthy, bisexual young man with a girlfriend. Don't ever stop this site and think noone needs you. You are a wonderful human being." - Reeve

"Your article on falling for a straight friend is very helpful and I've found it very appropriate in trying to deal with it myself. Thank you." - Aaron

"I really enjoyed everything that you'd written and think that you're doing an awesome job. I think it's wonderful how personal you've made it. I agree with verything you have to say, people are only afraid of what they don't understand. Rainbow societies are far more interesting and I think it's very backward that in this day and age people who are part of sexual minorites have to hide who they really are and how they feel. Good work!" - Imogen

"I'd just like to say how grateful I am that you created the website. I started uni a few weeks ago and the website has really helped me out since I've been here. I came out to a friend for the first time today and even though I was nervous it went really well which I think is down to all of the great advice on your website. I know it'll be a bumpy ride for a while for me but I feel a lot happier now and I've also finally had the courage to join the lgbt society at the uni which should hopefully make things a bit easier too.
Thanks a lot."
- Luke

"Hey Jason, I emailed you a couple years ago telling you a bit of my story, and how your website was one of many factors that saved my life. I wanted to say thanks again, and ask if there was anything I could do to help the site?" - Jack

"Thank you for helping me when i most needed. When i was about 16 this helped me not feel alone and now i have a different and good life alongside my boyfriend and future husband while attending to the university ^^. I just wanted to thank you, really. Hope you are doing great." - Pedro

"I'm an openly gay guy just looking around online for different sites about homosexuals. :3 I do research to help defend and to help people who are in the closet who come to me asking for advice. Your website has really helped me and it was very educational. Thank you. :)" - Conor

"I just wanted to say thanks. A while back I emailed you because I was confused about my sexuality. And with your help, I realised that I am Bisexual and I am proud. I couldn't have got to where I am without you. Now the difficult thing is coming out I suppose, but I'll get there eventually. Right now, I'm just happy that I know myself what that part of me is about. Thanks. You've no idea how much you saved me :) <3" - May

"I just wanted to say thanks. A while back I emailed you because I was confused about my sexuality. And with your help, I realised that I am Bisexual and I am proud. I couldn't have got to where I am without you. Now the difficult thing is coming out I suppose, but I'll get there eventually. Right now, I'm just happy that I know myself what that part of me is about. Thanks. You've no idea how much you saved me :) <3" - May

"I am loving your work, I feel that your efforts are commendable and I am much more comfortable in my own skin. You have changed my life, you are a true inspiration." - Chris

"I just wanted to thankyou for this website, it's awesome and as are you for making it! There's a lot of crap out there, and it's sites like this that restore people's faith in humanity :p So yeah, thanks!" - Craig

"Dear Jason, thank you so much for your wonderful site. My friend's 11 year old son is experiencing homophobic bullying at his school and your advice is most helpful. i will be letting her know about it. thank you." - Abi

"All I have to say is that this site has given me the confidence and security I need to live my life the way I am meant to. I'm glad to say I have come out to my family and they have been nothing but supportive. They understand that it is not my choice, and although we are Catholics they believe god created me for a high purpose in life and my sexuality has nothing to do with it. Thanks to bgiok im finally happy for the first time in fifteen years." - JC

"You're probably are swamped with stuff; so no need to reply, Just wanted to thank you for all the information on your site, it was really helpful and comforting. I myself am Bisexual, though I haven't come out yet, your site certainly offered some enlightening information. Thank you." - Claire

"My son told us he was gay last friday and to be honest it was a relief. while we are really happy that he felt he could confide in us and we will be there for him no matter what, i was on a personal level concerned about his mental health and his safety, i would like to thank you for your site. i have learnt so much more and i thought i was pretty clued up. ive pick up some fantastic points of view and am very reassured. again many thanks i found this site by accident i expect ill visit again" - Deb

"Hi jason i just want to thank you u i wrote 2 u a while back when I was really strugglin 2 come 2 terms that I was a lesbian and didnt want to tell any1 as I was 2 scarred your reply and advice really spoke 2 me I have now told my family although they were not happy I have moved in with my amazin girlfriend and we r so happy she proposed 2 me and we are gettin married next year and recently my family and I are speakin again and even helpin me plan the the weding I want to thank from the bottom of heart you do a truely amazin thing and change lives u have mine and for that thankyou xxx" - Lucy

"You really inspire me to just know that there is many more people like me. Even though I'm 12 years old I have a lot of feelings is my head! So thanks for making me feel better." - Ben

"i just wanted to say thankyou for making this website! it helped me in my time of need and made everything alot easier for me. Im happy to say that i am now seeing an amazing girl called jade who has helped me alot. But thankyou so much i dont know where i would have been if i didnt read through this website! x" - Beth

"I was thinking of writing an article about being a parent of a gay child and while I was doing some research on the web I encountered your web site. I thought that I should share how much I was impressed by it; it has taught me a lot." - Lauretana

"A few years ago I came across your site at a time in my life where I was depressed and had just moved schools because of bullying. Your site gave me a sense of community and friendship I had never experienced before and it helped me a great deal. I haven't used your site for more than two years now but remember it with some fondness. I was reminded of it today and just wanted to say one thing. Thank you. Without your site I may not have been sitting here today. So again. Thank you for everything you have done. For me and for all LGBT teens out there." - Nick

"Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me & what you said was really what I needed to hear, we just need to know that we are doing all we can to support her in every way. I haven't had time to look at your link but will do asap. I think the work you do is fantastic, being a teenager has all it's up's & downs (remember it well) so having a site like yours to turn to is a real help for them & us!!" - Lucy

"I just wanted to say that you are such a good person!!! Being gay can be tough, as there is so much hate in the world! Seeing blogs like this completely restores my faith! You helped me feel OK about my homosexuality, and I'm glad your helping others too! PS I saw you in the fuck hate video on YouTube!!! Good job!!!!" - Liam

"I just wanted to say thank you for this website. You probably don't remeber me and that's okay. About a year ago I wrote to you about coming out and my mom writing off me liking girls as being confused. With that information a year later I came out to my mom again along with the rest of my family and friends. While it was difficult and some of my family and friends were hesitant at first you writing back to me helped encourage me to come out when I was completely ready. Thanks for everything." - Alicia

"I just wanted to thank you, Jason, as you've told me even at my age it is okay for me to be Gay. As you might imagine I've hid this (even from myself) though I must I have for some if not many years been more attracted to other men than women but just didn't put two and two together. Anyway it is a relief to be myself at last!" - Will

"Thanks for your help, I'm getting better now, through the help of friends and family and I'm re-establishing a friendship with the guy I liked. I guess things do get better, I can't thank you enough!" - Tom

"Hi Jason, I'm sorry if my message is irrelevant, but I just wanted to say that there are many Muslim Gays like me who are suffering and going through a really hard time because of the conflict of homosexuality with religion. I spent the latest years of my life struggling because of this subject, I was confused and depressed, but when I visited BGIOK (just by chance) and read the "Being Gay" section; the Religion part, I was so relieved, everything became so crystal clear and my life changed since then! Thank you so much Jason. Love." - H

"Thank you for this wonderful website. I stumbled upon it tonight. I wish I knew about while I was still younger and needed so many answers and struggled so much with being gay. I will definitely refer any young gay person who needs support with being gay to your website." - Schalk

"I really like your page Jason it really helps nice job and keep up the good work you will most likely here from me again only good stuff tho :)." - Emma