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Being gay is okay: Information and advice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and unsure under twenty-fives.

Problem page > Archive > October - December 2011

From [Billy] Age [22] Gender [M]

Hi Jason,

I am 22 years old and have recently started coming to grips with my sexuality in a more public way. Part of the difficulty in doing this is that I have had a couple girlfriends, one of them I am still at university with, and am scared of hurting her feelings if I come out both to her and our group of friends. Even though i feel fairly certain my friends wouldn't really care if I did come out i almost feel like they wouldn't take me seriously if I did admit to being gay publicly (one of my friends who suggests to another of my friends that it was just a phase) or they would just think of me as being a bit of a fool.

In a way this is also part of my personal fear- I was in a relationship with a girl who i was very attached to emotionally and enjoyed having straight sex, although for me it was more to do with my feelings for my girlfriend than any particular attraction to women in general as I have always found myself far more attracted to men, and even while we were going out I would only ever watch gay porn. I have also had a number of sexual experiences with guys both throughout my time at school and since then at university, and only started dating girls when i left school.

I guess my main dilemma is that because of my previous relationship history i don't feel like i can claim to be 'legitimately' gay despite being attracted to men, but at the same time really not knowing how to tell my exgirlfriend and all my friends that is how i feel. I just really don't know how to explain it to anyone as i feel they will have so many questions which i will not be able to answer. I would really be grateful for some advice as I'm really unsure what to do.
Thanks,

Billy

Hi Billy,

People change. Nobidy has all the answers from day one. As you've grown up, like everyone else, you've come to know yourself better as you've had new experiences and met new people. Same-sex attraction has always been a big part of your life but it's only now that you feel that referring to yourself as gay is a fully formed statement of who you are and what you want.

Try not to beat yourself up over the heterosexual relationships you've had. I'm sure you did care for these girls, even if the physical side wasn't based on those same feelings that you have for men. The important thing is that you're now confronting the truth of your sexuality and want to be honest with others about it.

When you come out to your ex-girlfriend, assure her that your time together meant a lot to you and explain how you felt about her at the time. Explain that your sexuality is not a reflection of something she did or didn't do. Your past relationships don't lose their worth or significance because you want something different now.

People may assume certain things about you because of your behaviour to date, and a few of them may be in for a surprise, but you can't pretend to be straight because you had a period of dating girls and you want to avoid offending people now. Your real friends will welcome your honesty and want you to be happy.

From [Silk] Age [20] Gender [F]

Hi, i am 20. i am very confused and would really like some help pls. i am going through many changes and am finding it hard to adpat. my sister is getting married and there are loads of people around me when i want to be alone. i am scared i am a lesbian. i had a friend in school who was of this sexuality so i have no problem with them but is not the life style i wish to live. but i still cant control one thing what is in my way. i keep looking at womens breast and its very confusing. I used to watch a porn movies with my boyfriend coz he liked to and then once we broke up i continued to watched them coz i liked the feeling i got from watching them. however the history on my pc would show up and my family found out. it was so embrassing.once or twice i would look at lesbian movies. my sisters saw this and then later began to tease me. at first i ddint read in to it, but then i started to watch X rated channels on tv only so that i could get the feeling, i ddnt care what i was watching. now iv seen it has left a big impact on me.
I now am so aware of everyone around me havign breasts and its bizzare. i dont want to be a lesbian. i wish i had know the effects of watching movies like that coz now i am struggling, i often cry. i find myself acting like a man and when im talking to my sisters best friend i keep glancing down and atother members of my family. its so weird coz i never use to that, i remember just this January i could be around all women and be confident, but now i feel everyone knows, especially my sisters best friend. i hate this. i want to go back to being free and not having this issue control my mind. i have taken tons of online tests and they say i am gay or bi. i dont want to be that, i want to be confident and clear headed like i use to be. Please email me back asap i really need you help. Thank you.

Hi Silk,

I need to make it clear that watching pornography, of any type, can't influence your sexuality. But I completely understand how various outside factors can confuse and raise questions when a young person is trying to get a handle on their sexuality.

You say that you look at women's breasts, and obviously have some kind of interest in them, but at no point in your email do you say that you find women sexy or a turn on. You haven't told me that you have a crush on a female or that you're in love with a girl. It could be that you have just become a little fixated on something and now it's hard to shift those thought patterns and habits.

Putting aside your desire not to be a lesbian - because it's not helpful, doesn't change who you are and makes it harder to get to the truth - ask yourself whether you actually fancy women. When you see pornographic films, what is it about these scenes that makes you feel good? Is it the woman who's turning you on or the man? Does the sight of a naked and sexually active woman make you feel a certain way? What is it about breasts that interests you? Are they sexy or just facinating in some other way? Do you find yourself thinking about touching them and enjoying them, or is there no sexual element to breasts for you?

I saw a documentary once about homosexuality and in one scene they showed gay porn to several straight men. They were wired up to sensors and computers and they all showed signs of arousal to one degree or another. This doesn't mean that they are all closet-case gay men with hang-ups. It means that they responded to seeing sexual activity; people enjoying each others bodies. The sights and sounds of passion. I've seen some very erotic scenes in films between women that have made me feel a bit hot under the collar! I'm definitely not straight or a lesbian! We're all just creatures who respond to sexual imagery. Perhaps your enjoyment of certain material, and aspects of it, has led you to interpret your feelings incorrectly.

How did you feel with your ex-boyfriend? Did you find him attractive and sexually appealing? Do you find men sexually appealing now? When you think about being close to a man or a woman how does each scenario make you feel?

Forget online tests. The only way to know yourself better is to tell yourself that whatever you are it's okay, and then look at the signals your body and your emotions are giving you. You can start by really asking yourself why you like looking at women's breasts, without nagging yourself about not wanting to be a lesbian. Face your fears and you can begin to work out who you are.

From [Anonymous] Age [13] Gender [F]

Dear Jason,
I'm just starting to come out. But I'm not sure if I am gay or not. I thought I was gay when I was around 8 or 9 and I decided to shrug it off and stick with guys. But, I went to a new school (which is a Christian school) and I met a girl (Jess). It took me awhile to admit that I was in love with her. We were friends but then I started to have this obsession with her. And suddenly, she would tell me how beautiful I am and she was SO close and affectionate towards me. It was pretty obvious... even my friend (Hanna) caught her kissing me on the cheek. Haha... so I decided to find out if she was or not. Didn't work out too well... I made it seem like I wasn't interested in her at all. But for some reason, she didn't deny it and she seemed uncomfortable and upset. About 5 months of torture, I decided to tell her how I feel. For some time, we didn't talk at all for about a couple weeks. But now, we're talking like it never happened, but it's still awkward. A few days ago, her mentor/the school's administrator (which is now my mentor), saw me acting hyper (which is how I cope with my negative feelings) and she asked me if I was ok. She also caught me looking at Jess because she seemed upset. Then she told me how Jess was just as confused and that we both need to figure out this whole thing (which is to NOT be gay). I'm really confused and I would like your advice.

Hi Anonymous,

It's very wrong for your mentor to advise you to sort out the situation with Jess by not being gay. How sad that a person who advises and guides children actually makes matters worse by bringing their own prejudice, and apparent lack of education on such matters, into it. I'm sure your mentor is very helpful when it comes to many things, but I'm so glad you sought further advice from me on this particular issue. I don't have an agenda. I just want to help people feel better about who they are.

You and and Jess obviously have strong feelings for each other. It's up to you what happens next. Ask Jess what she wants. Perhaps it's enough to carry on being close and enjoying each other's company and seeing how things develop as time goes by. It's not a good idea to apply any pressure at all, even if you feel strongly that you'd like a romantic relationship. Clearly Jess is feeling confused about things, and I imagine she'll need time.

You haven't done anything wrong. It was brave to tell Jess how you felt. Jess now needs to decide how she feels and what she wants to do about it. It's not easy when adults are trying to influence you and control things that can't be controlled, but eventually we each have to find the strength to be ourselves and face those who disapprove.

At the very least you have a good friend who doesn't care if you are gay. Don't miss out on that if it turns out that she'd prefer just to be friends.

From [Manooch] Age [21] Gender [M]

Hi Dear jason,

I'm manoochehr from iran,I'm writing this letter because i'm just so confused about my sexual orientaions!
seems here is the best place to consult the problems.
I read your article about bisexuality and I'm somehow agree with it! it's right when i see a handsome man i can't stop watching him . it's the same for women too. i love to watch both specially when i'm seeing a couple together but i hate this! i don't know what to do. i first decided to forget about feeling about men i was thinking that's only a fake passion but after a while i started to sex with males! u know the situation in iran . going out with men has less trouble than women. it's easy to have sex with them but if only it's hidden! afterward i decided to be straight and forget guys! but i coudn't.

that's the problem i don't know which gender to choose.
for sure in iran u can't be openly gay cause you get kicked from family and society even government might kill u. plus i haven't had a longterm gay relationship at all cause most of them want sex plus too many people in iran are bisexual and betray their wives. i'm a little shy about opening up myself to a girl that's why i haven't ever had a sex with a female. maybe that's why i love men more than women. maybe that's just because i haven't tasted the taste of having sex with a female.

i'm writing this letter to u now because i think u are the only one who i can say my feelings and just stop swallowing my feeling. i can't tell my feelings to my family at all. even friends just get disgusted by hearing about my bisexual life and don't want to listen to this. I'm feeling so alone and depressed. i don't know what to do.

btw i'm about to live my country asap i finished my study. after that maybe i come to canada. I'm seriously bored of my country. It makes me sad and freak every day passes by!
thank you for your attention, please write back soon
thanks

Hi Manooch,

There are as many gay and bisexual people in Iran as anywhere else in the world, and it's so sad that they have to hide or face such frightening consequences. It's very brave of you to write to me.

You can't use having sex with a woman as a way to rid yourself of your attraction to men. Sexuality just doesn't work like that. Even if you did have sex with a women you'd still be attracted to men, regardless of whether you enjoyed the experience or not. Sexuality isn't based on the sexual opportunities of any given time. I know that I am gay even if I have no physical contact with other men for a long time. And I couldn't make myself less gay by sleeping with a women. People may not be aware of every facet of their sexuality and it's potential, but it is unwavering and firm, like eye colour. We can't bend or shape sexuality to our convenience. We have to accept who we are, work with it and make the best of it.

You say that you are attracted to men and women, so there is certainly something to be said of your idea that you haven't been close to a women physically because of shyness and not necessarily due to lack of interest. This may be something that you want to change, but please only get close to a woman if you are truly attracted to her. Nobody should be someone else's experiment. There should be no contest between a man who interests you and a women who you think you should be interested in.

You don't have to choose a gender. I know it must be tempting to try to do so in a country that is hostile toward same-sex relationships, especially when you feel that you have a choice as a bisexual man, but you should only be with someone because you have feelings for them, not because they belong to a gender that you feel is correct.

I have immense respect for a man who can go against the rules laid down by those around him in order to be true to himself and find happiness. Be strong, be safe, and always be honest with yourself.

From [Haz] Age [19] Gender [M]

Hi I stumbled onto your site randomly and was pleased I found it! I'm 19 and I'm finding it so difficult to tell people who I really am I know my friends and family won't see it as an issue but for some reason I'm just not brave enough. I'm not great with words and don't know how to tell them. It's been playing on my mind so much recently because I'm getting older and I'm sick of not being able to be myself all the time. I keep thinking that things will change dramatically with relationships between my friends and family and it's kinda getting me down even though I'm actually a happy person in general. Reading advice websites about coming out is fair enough but I think actually asking someone for advice makes it feel real and would really appreciate it if you could help me by telling me how it was for you? Any advice would be greatly appreciated - Haz

Hi Haz,

I think it's sometimes easy for me to forget that coming out can be hard even for those whose families and friends will likely be okay about it. Coming out is a scary time of big change, whether you think the news will be welcomed or not. Coming out is being brave enough to tell the world (or a small part of it) who you are and it's you asking other people to be okay about it. It's risking negativity, misunderstanding and prejudice in order to be true to yourself. It's asking people to look at something that's important to you and hoping that it won't be important to them at all.

You have said that you don't think your family and friends will see your being gay as an issue, so your problem right now is one of courage. You're fed up with hiding the truth and you want to come clean. It's really just a case of choosing the time, picking a person to start with, taking a deep breath and going for it.

What's the point of spending just one more day feeling frustrated and denying those close to you the opportunity to know you better?

From [Anthony] Age [17] Gender [M]

dear jason
my name is anthony and i am in need of some help. i found this website recently through a search engine and have found it really resourceful. i am a 17 years old and i am gay but i am also sort of homophobic. i am not out of closet at all and i dont know how to come out. everyone i am close to is fine with gays or at least neutral on the subject. but i have not found the courage to come out. every time i see a gay person (mainly gay guys) i get very nervous that they are gonna see through me and know i am gay. i am afraid there gonna say somthing when i see them while i am out with my friends or family. i feel like a horrible person for being that way. like i dont hate gay people or anything but i still get nervous around them. i dont know what to do.

Hi Anthony,

I don't think that you are homophobic. But you do seem to speak about gay people as a separate group that you don't belong to. Of course, everyone is a unique individual and you're not part of some big gay collective, but, at the same time, you aren't apart from 'gay people'.

I think the real issue here is why you feel unable to come out when there are other gay people around, and all the people you are close to are fine with homosexuality or doesn't have fixed thoughts one way or the other. Why do you keep your sexuality hidden so that you panic when other gay people are around?

I think you'd really like this situation to end or you wouldn't have written to me. You certainly weren't hoping that I'd give you tips on staying in the closet, because that wouldn't be a thing that would lead to happiness, openness and honesty with your loved ones. It seems that the environment around you would likely be supportive, and you'd feel much happier and less anxious if you came out.

Read my coming out section for more.

From [?] Age [13] Gender [F]

Hi Jason

I am a 13 year old girl and I thinck that I am a lesbean becos I have bean at high school for 1 year and all my frends have boy frends and I do not becos I do not fiend the sexulay atractetev but I like them for frends but not for a bf .and I have a lot of frends and one of them I find atractetev and I know she Is strate. So I am in the middle of trying to get over this but that is just back ground infor masion I want to ask a bout boleing I all reddy get boled for being a fat ugly thum sucking dyke and this has driven me to sellf harm and am widths that if I tell my best frend that I am gay she might tell other people and I will get bold even moair. And it isn't just pepeo saying things they trow things hit me and this all started becos i jond the cadets.

Thank you from
Me sorry about the spelling mistakes I am dyslexic
And thank you a gen

and

I think I might be gay but I think it it might be forced opon me becos when I was 8 my frend was staing over and we did some sexual activetays and we are still frends and a bit moat than that becos she Is openly gay and I am not but we go out and have to sneak a round so my mum docent find out becos she dis not acsepn her becos she is homifobik I think that I might be trying to hoes that I am gay so that she docent find out that Im gay
Pleas help me
Thank you Jason

Hello,

There seem to be two main issues here: bullying and the origins of your sexuality.

I have written quite a bit about bullying and how to tackle it on the dedicated section, so I won't repeat any of it here. Please take the time to read it.

The reason you think you may be a lesbian is because you are sexually and romantically interested in other girls. It's not because you had some same-sex experiences when you were younger that 'turned' you. Very early sexual experiences can leave a person with questions, as you have now, but a same-sex experience as a child doesn't determine adult sexual orientation. Such experiences help people to learn about themselves and to discover their bodies in new ways. So put this out of your mind and focus on how you feel about girls today.

It's good that you are still friends with this girl because I think it can be very helpful to have another gay or lesbian person to talk to, especially one who is openly gay. Have you spoken to her about your worries? How has life been for her since she came out? Have you told her about the bullying?

Make sure you speak to someone about the bullying as soon as possible.

From [George] Age [18] Gender [M]

Hi Jason,
My Name is George, I have been out as gay for about three years now and i am 100% sure of my interest in men. I have had a couple of relationships with men and I'm currently in one and feel happy with him and we feel great.
My predicament is that i also feel the same way about women, Now i'm not asking you am i Bi or how can i tell or anything like that, I'm sure of who i am and i'm happy with that. My problem is that I am out as Gay, I think that i was a little confused when i came out and that has kinda now come to bite me on the ass. I'm not the kind of person to feel down or self conscious about this, i do see myself as relatively strong willed and happy but how do i tell people that actually i'm not gay I'm Bi, i'm just a little wary of how this will make people feel. Although i'm not camp (99% straight actually) I'm out to everyone and although i dont flaunt it, i dont really care who knows. I'm just wondering if anyone has had a similar problem. Its sorta like i need help coming out as Bi but from the opposite side.

Lol sorry if i confused you there, i confused myself!

Love George x

Hi George,

The only really important information here is that you are currently and happily in a relationship with a man. It doesn't matter if you call yourself gay, bi or Klingon, and it doesn't matter that you like women too. Being able to be with both sexes just means you have more options when you're a single chap, but it's not very important news when you're happily committed.

What you need to decide is how important it is that other people know that you like women as well as men, and how wide this news needs to go. I can imagine it's the sort of thing you might mention to close friends, and perhaps need to talk about at times, but only you can decide if it's really important that people know that although you are with a man, you could also be with a woman if you wanted to be. It's obviously important to you for others to think of you as bisexual instead of gay, but why is that? It doesn't change the relationship you are in and it won't stop some people from thinking of you as just gay. Does that matter?

You're happy with a guy. End of. If you were in a relationship with a women would you still be keen to tell people that you liked guys too? Does that help anyone or make your partner feel secure?

You've already got experience in coming out, so you don't need my help with doing it again. But I do think you need to look at your reasons for wanting to.

From [Matt] Age [16] Gender [M]

Dear Jason,
I am 16, in sixth form and gay. I've come out to a few people but not everyone. I don't know ANY other gay people and that I fell completely alone. I feel like other gay people only exist on TV or the internet. What do I do? Do I just wait it out and hope someone will come along? Also, I'm a complete stereotype. Does this make me unattractive? I read on all these sites that the stereotypes are lies but, I fit everything they say...
What do I do?

Hi Matt,

There are many gay people out there. Some think it's as high as 2 or 3 in every 10. Certainly, it's not a simple case of most of the population being 100% heterosexual and a few others who are 100% homosexual, lightly sprinkled around. Lots of gay people are quite visible, but many choose quieter, non-scene lives and so it can appear that outside of clubs there aren't a lot of us. It's not true. Also, there are lots of bisexual people and those who wouldn't necessarily identify as gay or bisexual but find themselves in same-sex relationships anyway. It's not a black and white issue. Basically, you're not alone!

Stereotypes are at least based on some facts. The enduring stereotype of a camp gay man who likes fashion and is in touch with his emotions is hardly a wacky and unimaginable image of what some people might be like. Because people who are different get noticed more, these stereotype traits tend to stick in peoples' minds. They're not always used negatively and you shouldn't try to run away from who you are or how you naturally behave. There's nothing wrong with your personality and traits; the things that make you who you are. Being effeminate, or exhibiting other stereotype behaviours, doesn't make you unattractive. Many gay men are more effeminate, softly spoken and gentle when compared to straight men.

The right man for you will value the complete package and think you're amazing. Anyone who's looking for some hulking butch bloke would likely not arrange a date with you in the first place!

Have a look at my Looking for a partner or new gay friends page for ideas on meeting people.

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