Problem page archive entries:
January - April 2011
Name [Matt] Age  Gender [M]
I have been confused since i started high school but i have always presumed i am straight, i have had girlfriends and have even had straight sex but i was never really attracted to them. Although i have always been a little confused and have had feelings towards men but never acted on them, its only recently that i have lost all interest in women, if i see an attractive woman i recognise that they are attractive but no sexual feelings or impulses, but if i see an attractive man around my own age i find myself looking at them and i am always aware of there presents. Reading back on this it sounds like im gay but i really cant decide whether i should come out now or wait until im sure.
Arrrr! im so confused.
It's quite common for a person to just assume that they are straight and to enter into heterosexual relationships, even though there may not be an actual genuine desire to do these things. It just seems that certain behaviours are expected of us by family, friends and even the media impressing on us.
But now time has passed and your body and emotions are giving you clear information about what you do desire, and this seems to be men. Try to separate what you've done in the past and the reasons (or lack of) for doing so, with the desires you feel now. Once you do that, you may find that you're not actually confused at all. You can't get a clearer indication of what you want than what's already bouncing around inside your head and how your body responds to the idea of being close to a man.
You've told me that you've lost all interest in women and that you find men attractive, so things seem very clear.
Coming out is a separate issue, but it could well be the right next step for you once you get your head around being gay. Read my coming out section for more.
Name [Piotr] Age  Gender [M]
I would like to know your opinion.
My life isn't bad or something. I came out to two of my friends and they're ok with that, but I think I don't need to come out to anyone else, because I'm not feeling bad pretending to be hetero. But recently I thought I can be sincere to all of my classmates and come out to them. The problem is that I'm from Poland, and most of Poles are a bit homophobic, so I don't know how they will react. According to disscusion during one of our lessons, most of them declare to be tolerating gays, but I know that saying one thing isn't equal with doing it.
Here's the biggest problem - I really don't know wheater or not come out. I'm almost sure there will be few people who will begin to treat me badly, but I still want to do it, just to be honest with them. I don't have a clue where that idea came from and it's concerning me a lot. I don't know, what to do...
Sorry for taking your time. And for writing chaotically.
Perhaps most people in your class said that they would be okay with a gay person because they really meant it. What evidence do you have to support the idea that they are secretly homophobic and would handle your coming out news negatively? It's normal to be cautious and scared about revealing something so personal about yourself, but it's always useful to focus on what you truly know about a situation and not what you imagine might happen in the worst case.
You have already come out to two people and they have been okay with it. You have every reason to suspect that other people will be okay with it too.
Above all this, you have to make a decision about whether you really want to come out to everyone. You may decide that only close friends and family need to know. You're worrying about how the class might react, but is it important to you that even people who don't know you find out about your sexual preference? Many gay people simply choose to tell people who ask. This way, in the natural course of things, mostly only close friends, family and potential new friends and partners find out. Perhaps nobody else matters.
Name [Ellie] Age  Gender [F]
I found your page about a year and a half ago and I think it would be sensible for me to tell my entire story since then.
In about may, I went round my best friend's house and I told her (I'll call her J) that I thought I was bi and broke down. She was totally supportive and has been great.
Since then I have told my other two closest friends one is in sixth form who i will call M. The other is a guy I'll call him C. They both go to a youth group and were also totally supportive.
However since then I am now sure that I am gay and they are all aware of this.
Howver after about christmas my friend J doesn't really talk about it anyomore. My friend e hangs around with a much more open group of friends some of who are trans, gender queer or gay. They are fowned upon at school but I get on with them and made the conscious decision to carry on walking with them to the train and back. My friend E is in the upper year of sixth form at our school. I get eviled by all the popular kids in my year and indeed from everyone when I do this.
Though that's just general information. I am finding it extremely difficult at the moment due to the fact that the LGBT society at our school ( which is unoficcial because my school are jerks but that is beside the point) are causing alot of debate and I find it hard to deal with the subject coming up so often. In addition to this the onyl teacher I thought of telling was my form tutor and she left last year because she was pregnant and is not returning until after I leave. Also I sit next to a girl who is bi in alot of lessons, and I don't have any problem with her but she keeps bringing up how noone understands and I ahve nearly screamed at her to shut up alot, but have stopped myself.
My family are totally homophobic and being open at school or home is not an option.
My two friends who I truly need are leaving in september for uni and when they do, I think my world will end.
There is also the issue of prom which I been pressured into and feels truly hypocritical.
The final thing which made me write this after trying for 18 months was the video we watched in PSHE today, the lesson was on homophobia and it was a fake video of a girl who was closet. She sounded exactly like me and I very nearly cried and I didn't get a chance to talk to E about it and have a very stressful day of lessons tommorow and can't deal with them on top of this. I am very afraif of breaking down at school, because they will call home and ask questions about why I am upset. In addition to this my school have outed kids to parents in my year and they have banned an official LGBT society. I am sorry for this being rushed but I am so scared of my family that i will now delete the history. Thankyou for your website, without it i probably wouldn't be on this earth right now.
You've got a lot of worries running around in your head at the moment. I think it might help to break your email down into small chunks to help you get things into perspective and start to think about how you can manage your various concerns.
It sounds like your school has a fractured attitude toward homosexuality. One the one hand you have a supportive school that shows a film about the struggles faced by a young lesbian; a film designed to help other gay pupils feel less isolated and to instil empathy in straight students toward people who are different from themselves. On the other, your school has prevented an official LGBT society from being formed, and they have made blunders when handling gay pupils when dealing with their parents. This dual approach to sexuality seems very odd, but perhaps underneath it is a basic desire to assist pupils and to do the right thing. Showing the film is very positive, and bad handling of gay pupils and their parents doesn't mean there was malicious intent. The banning of the LGBT group seems very strange though. What reasons have they given, and how was the banning announced? Perhaps this is a misunderstanding or something that could be raised again.
Friends leaving for university is a natural part of life for all young people. You are particularly sensitive about it at the moment because you're feeling fragile and uncertain, but try to remember that everyone goes through this. It's painful when friends move away, but it doesn't mean you can't keep in touch and see them again. Also, your life won't stand still while your friends leave; you have a life too! Perhaps you want to continue your studies or explore the world of employment. It's important not to feel like a victim who's simply receiving whatever pain life throws at you; you have your own life and your own future to shape. Take the power from the realisation of that and make plans of your own. The world might feel very small and intense at the moment, but there's a lot of people out there to meet and experiences to be had. Not too far into the future your current life of school worries will seem very small and far away.
It's okay to be unsure about your sexuality. Many young people are. Nobody is asking you to get an 'I am gay' tattoo and to stick to it for life. If you think about who it is that is putting masses of pressure on you to decide and make a statement about your sexuality, I bet the answer is 'you'! Like many young people, you're naturally desperate to understand yourself, but some things can't be rushed or easily categorised. Give yourself a break, try to relax and take the pressure off. You'll soon know if you are attracted to someone in that special way that reveals something about your sexuality. In the meantime, don't obsess about it. Your body and emotions will respond to the things they like and want, and you can't rush mother nature. Spend time with the people who make you happy, have fun and try to ignore the bigots. Answers about your sexuality will come with time. Only you can decide if coming out is a good idea right now, but I suggest that you leave it while you have doubts and wait until you understand yourself better. Don't give yourself extra things to worry about.
Take a step back, try to see your situation in a logical and less emotional way. When you break things down, as above, you'll begin to see that you can deal with things. Problems aren't as massive as they might seem when they're spinning around, all at once, in your head.
Name [Sam] Age  Gender [M]
I don't know if this is going to sound a bit weird, but I really can't tell if I'm gay or not.
I just think that the only crushes I've ever had on girls have been forced or fake, like other people have spread rumours and things, and I'm sure that when I look some guys I feel something towards them.
But the problem is I aren't sure whether this is gay or something else because I do get quite self conscious and I'm worried that maybe I'm feeling some kind of desire to be like them, rather than be with them. I know that when I get these feelings I want to get to know the person better, and I often go through phases where I think about these people a bit and want to bump into them just so I can look at them. Though it doesn't happen with my close friends at all, a lot of them are male and I'm pretty 'normal' around them. But this does cause a problem because with them all being straight they're always going on about fit women and I have to agree even though I know I don't share their opinions inside. I don't have that many female frieds either, even though I heard that gays prefer female company and have more female friends.
I also really can't imagine being in a relationship with a woman that much, and when I do it seems distant and uncomfortable. I find it easier if I think about being with men. I see some gay people who are really camp and feminine and I know that I aren't like that at all and that makes me wonder if I'm straight. When I was at school I was sometimes labelled as gay by others and at the time it didn't matter to me, but since I started college in 2009 it has because I can't work out the truth about myself.
Something thats really got me thinking over the last couple of weeks is the current series of waterloo road. Most of my family seem really uncomfortable and even switch channels when Nate and Josh come on, but it really doesn't bother me at all, I feel fine watching it and imagine myself in their situation. I'm also really happy that the storyline is being covered right now when i'm going through this. I'm just sure that if I was straight I'd be acting like my family towards the gay scenes,when I often totally disagre with what they say and the way they act.My family are all 'adam and eve' and when I try and put my points across(which are in favour of gay right) my family always have an argument and I feel that if I get too into it all they might suspect me.
I want to be in a relationship but I worry that if I come out when I'm actually straight or visa versa everything could collapse on me. And I live in a part of england where traditional values and ideologies are pretty much the only thing going. By this i mean there aren't really any mixed races here and I've never really seen any gay/lesbian couples and I'm out with mates all the time, so this worries me too.
It feels really good to have been able to write all this down, I just hope it makes sense. I know I can't expect you to tell me my sexuality, but I'd be really greatful for some advise as I'm so confused atm.
and sorry for the full scale essay :)
Not all gay men are camp or effeminate (see the myths section) so it's wrong for anyone who is questioning their sexuality to decide that they can't be gay because they don't fit this stereotype. Being gay means being sexually attracted to members of your own sex instead of members of the opposite, and that's really all it means. As individuals, we layer all the other life stuff on top of that base and what's what truly makes each of us unique. Men and women of all kinds are gay, just as people who are straight are incredibly broad in their personalities, looks and behaviours. A gay man may be masculine, enjoys rugby and hanging out with his straight male friends down the pub – I've met men like this. Camp, effeminate and flamboyant men tend to stick out in a crowd and get noticed, which is why the stereotype endures. But there are plenty of 'regular' guys who go unnoticed. You don't identify with the stereotype, which is fine. There's nothing inherently wrong with being camp or effeminate however. All the gay men I've ever spoken to who have been effeminate don't choose to behave a certain way; it just comes natural and is part of who they are.
You are right: I can't tell you whether you are gay or straight. It sounds as though you are comfortable with the idea of being gay, but just aren't sure it's actually who you are. I'm pleased that you seem to have a very mature and considered approach to your situation. You don't seem to be stressed out by any of the possibilities, and this is important. Sexuality can't be forced to develop, and getting anxious and obsessing about it won't hurry it along any quicker. For some people sexuality can take longer to feel formed and fully understood. It's through everyday life that we begin to build a picture of who we are based on how we respond to new people and experiences. You may meet a man or woman who you find very attractive, or have an experience that makes you feel a certain way and begin to form a clearer picture of who you are. As time goes by you will likely see or meet someone who clearly generate a sexual response in you rather than one that might be admiration. Listen to the information your body and emotions give you i.e. things that arouse you, people who make you feel a certain way etc. Often we're so busy analysing ourselves that we forget the simple messages our bodies are screaming at us, such as 'I'd really like to be touching him/her!'.
As you gain a greater sense of self you can then begin to think about how your family may feel about what that may mean, or where your needs might lead you in life e.g. perhaps moving away to study and experience life in a more liberal part of the UK. For the time being, enjoy life and enjoy getting to know yourself.
Name [Anonymous] Age  Gender [M]
My problem is that I think I'm straight, I'm only emotionally attached to girls..
But for me, guys are more sexually attractive? I mean, I'd rather have sex with a guy than a girl, but I've never really 'loved/liked' a bloke.
I don't want to come out as Bisexual, because I don't think I am, but I just want to know what I am...
And I'm really turned on by the idea of gay sex, also by opposite gender sex, but not quite as much. (actually depends on how I feel, but this is the norm for me.)
So, I'm really confused and I'd like you to help me with what to do? I'd like to have sex with a guy to see if what it's like but I don't know if I'd feel guilty afterwards.
Thanks, Annonymous. (Sorry!)
I've never met anyone who claimed to only find men sexually attractive but not able to form an emotional connection with them. I suspect that it's more a case of you not having met a guy yet who you are both sexually and emotionally connected to. Often, the sexual aspect is stronger to start with and the emotional ('love') element builds from there, so don't be alarmed if you don't experience this sense of being madly in love before any other sensation.
You're 15 years old and, I imagine, haven't met many - if any - gay men, or been physically close to any guys (the age of consent in England is 16). So your experience is only just beginning and is very limited so far. There's no rush to put labels on yourself as bisexual or gay. The fact is that you find men sexually appealing but have so far only found a deeper emotional connection with females. I would see how you feel as time goes by and as things become clearer. You may find the complete package of sexual and emotional connection with a guy or girl, but only time will tell. Listen to the information your body and emotions are giving you.
Ultimately I don't think it's possible to be gay purely when it comes to sex, but straight when it comes to falling in love. The personality traits that you find attractive can be found in both men and women, and I think it's a case of meeting the right person.
Often, it's men who aren't comfortable with their sexuality who attempt to compartmentalise sex and emotion i.e. they have anonymous sex with men and then go home to their wives. They separate these two lives so that they can be 'straight' to themselves and others. I don't think this is the case with you at all. I think you just lack experience and things will become clearer as you meet more people and have more experiences that put you in touch with what you want and desire. Be patient and things will make more sense with time.
Name [Clara] Age  Gender [F]
I don't really know how to phrase this e-mail as my mind is swirling with questions and issues.
My first concern, I guess, is when questioning your sexuality goes beyond a natural part of growing up and could actually mean something. I've been considering the possibility of being a lesbian on and off for about 2 years now, but have just started to seriously think about it for a little over a month. Looking back, though, there's a lot of earlier evidence that could point to being gay (I basically fell in love with Keira Knightley when she was in Pirates of the Caribbean when I was about 10). However, I'm tentative about reaching a conclusion as the many sites I've looked at say it's perfectly natural for a teenager to question their sexual orientation. So, I was basically wondering...when do you think it goes beyond a 'phase' (for want of a better word).
Also, I was wondering if there was any real way I could tell the difference between admiring a person/wanting to be them and fancying them. I've never really been that in touch with my feelings, as I'm generally quite an unemotional person so I'm struggling to differentiate between what could just be obsessive admiration of a female celebrity and the kind of feelings my friends might have for male celebrities.
Thanks for your time,
A very unsure and confused person!
I know it's not the answer you want, but there is no real cut-off age for the confusion to settle. It's a very individual thing and depends on how accepting the person is to the truth as much as it does to good old biology.
For some young people it's very easy: they hit puberty and fancy men or women - as they expected to - and just get on with their lives with a solid sense of what they like and, therefore, who they want to pursue romantically. For others, they don't necessarily have such a clear and definite sense of their sexuality and the feelings are more subtle and less quantifiable. There's also the fact that anything outside of heterosexual feelings are met with confusion and even alarm in a world that still expects and assumes it's children will be straight.
It was very popular when I was 14-16 to talk about phases. According to any adults you could speak to at the time, every teenager who was having same-sex desires was 'having a phase', with the expectation that most people came out the other end as heterosexual. My experience since has suggested that many people in their teens who have same-sex desires are simply young gay or bisexual people who'd be much more confident and happy about it if the adults in their lives weren't so daft. I think perhaps that this 'phase' is often a story that worried parents like to tell themselves so they can feel better about their chances of having grandchildren someday!
But, to balance things, some young people do have same-sex experiences but go on to become heterosexual adults. Whether they completely lose all same-sex interest isn't something I know, and it's not an easy thing to gather figures on. It's also worth pointing out that many young people do not have same-sex experiences at all or any confusion over their sexuality.
You have been wondering about the possibility of being a lesbian because you think you have experienced some same-sex romantic feelings. To differentiate between true same-sex desire (i.e. being a lesbian) and just a strong admiration or a desire to be like someone is where sex comes into it. If you are a lesbian, then you will experience sexual interest in females. You might see someone in the street who you think is very beautiful and you'd like to be physically close to; to touch and kiss. This is different from admiring the way someone looks, as you might admire a painting or as a stunning view.
If you've had sexual feelings, what were you thinking of at the time? What did you see that made you feel those things? Did you ever see any imagery or something on television that made you have sexual thoughts or feelings? Don't be worried if you haven't had those feelings yet, or if you're not quite sure what I mean. It's the way we physically respond to people that is the clearest indication of sexuality i.e. someone you fancy and feel you'd like to be physically close to. These signals will present themselves in time, and very strongly and clearly when you're around the right person. So the best way to get a greater feel for who you are is to get out there and live your life. Sooner or later someone will come into view who makes things seem a lot clearer i.e. 'This is more than friendship I'm feeling'.
Don't worry about not having all the answers yet. I get many emails from people who feel the same. It's best to focus on what you do know. Listen to the information your body and emotions give you when spending time around different people and having new experiences. There's is no time limit on feeling unsure, but your sexuality will become clearer as time goes by. You won't have to wait years for things to make more sense.
Name [Tat] Age  Gender [F]
I know I'm probably a bit older than your usual readers, but I don't think I'm any less confused. ^_^
I'm a 24 year old lesbian, and I've been struggling to come to terms with it for nearly a decade.
I'm very close to my mother, and when I was 15 I told her that I liked girls and she couldn't cope with it. I think the worst part was that she didn't get angry, she was just hugely sad and disappointed, so I panicked that I'd done something really wrong, and started dating boys. A few years later, I was in a (secret) relationship with another girl and my mother was just heartbroken. She was obviously trying very hard to accept it, but she found it hard to hide how much it was hurting her. And she was constantly making up lies to cover it up to everyone, and talked me out of coming out, even though at the time I felt that I almost could.
Anyway, not surprisingly, the relationship didn't work out and my mother was so happy to have me "back" that I just told her I must have been going through a phase, and we never brought it up again.
My family is very religious, and I do love my faith so much. In a lot of ways, my whole life has revolved around my Christian circle of friends, and I know that coming out as gay would mean losing most of them, as they are very well meaning, but very, very strict and conservative. I've dated guys, and I know that there is at least one guy who wants to get together with me (with a view to marriage) and he's such a nice and interesting and well meaning person that I've been almost tempted to just choke it down and do it and keep everyone happy. I sort of saw it as a trade off between losing everything, or just losing the chance to ever have real romantic love.
Everyone is dreaming of this wonderful future for me, where I will be this beautiful barbie-doll bride on my wedding day to some Prince Charming and then have the perfect Christian family and be the ideal, sweet, traditional housewife for happily ever after and I am so dependent on the love and acceptance of these people that I feel as if I can't accept what I really am. I want to be that ideal daughter so much, to the point where it hurts that I can't force myself, but I know that I can't because I'm gay.
I don't even believe that it's a sin, not in the eyes of a loving God, I'm just so worried about losing the love of the people who do believe that.
Anyway, I was all set to make a decision to choke it down once and for all, and to just accept that I'll never be able to fall in love, when I met someone, another girl at my church, who is the same as I am. We've fallen for each other and now I don't know what to do. I don't know if loving one person can be strong enough to risk hurting everyone around me.
And I think that's really the biggest problem.
If they were angry, it would be bad, but I think they would just be completely heartbroken. And it's killing me that, by just being who I am, I could cause so much hurt to the people who mean the world to me.
I'm not sure what advice I'm really asking for. I guess I just wanted to share what's on my mind.
Thanks for listening.
It's tragic that in 2011 some gay people are still having to choose between family, friends and their wants for them, and who they really are and what they need and desire in order to be happy.
You sound like a very self-aware, mature and thoughtful person, who's busy trying to figure out how to make everyone happy. Sadly, those around you, whether they realise it or not, are asking you to put their needs before your own. The dreams of parents, the hopes of friends and the desires of potential partners are all coming before your own needs and I think you know that in order to be completely happy and have the love you want, you need to stand up for yourself.
You are not surrounded by aggressive homophobes, but it is homophobia that is holding you back, nonetheless. Your environment sounds very traditional and religious, which can often mean there is little room for alternative types of family set-up, and a good deal of expectations of the roles people play in relationships and beyond. I discuss religion thoroughly in the dedicated section.
Your mother has already demonstrated that she can't get her head around the idea of her daughter being a lesbian. She wasn't able to broaden her imagination to a scene where you are happy with a woman and she is happy for you. It's a shame, because if she thought about it in a logical way she'd see that a happy homosexual union is every bit as valid and special as a heterosexual one and just as likely to be long term, healthy and happy. Simply, you and I know that it's not the gender of the people who are in love that matters – it's the love.
All this doesn't mean that your mother and friends won't come around, but it takes a lot to make small cracks in long-held and deeply ingrained beliefs and values, even if they have obvious flaws and room for a rethink. It's important to accept – as I'm sure you already do – that any announcements about your sexuality or news of your same-sex relationship will be met with surprise and some negativity. But also remember that you can't be the only person in your town - gay or straight – who is questioning old values and traditions and feeling that they don't quite fit with modern times and the lives they'd like the live.
I think it's wonderful that you've found someone you care about against this background of anti-gay sentiment. It's a very special gift and I urge you to keep hold of it and not let it be a casualty of unmoving, unmanageable loyalty to the wants and needs of those around you. You deserve your happiness and pleasure, as much as everyone around you does. To turn things upside down, I could suggest that anyone who wants happiness for you, but only under their rules, doesn't really want happiness for you at all, but are filling a need in their own lives by shaping yours. After all, would you ask someone you love to pretend to be someone else and live a lie?
I don't have any big answers, and I can't imagine that coming out won't mean some big changes and a dose of upset. But I do believe, and I've said it many times on here before, that the only way to be truly happy in this life is to embrace who you really are. You can't be happy and flourish if you're just an actress playing a part for others. Putting on a mask every morning and kissing someone you don't love seems like a dreadful cage to voluntarily put yourself in, though I know many have done and still do just that.
Discuss your worries with your girlfriend. Think of practical ways to improve your situation. Think of ways you can assert yourself and your needs without necessarily coming out or generating confrontation. Think of people who may understand how you feel, and talk to them. The more resources you have, the stronger you become. You may even come to the conclusion that moving away to a more liberal location might be a good long-term option. You're certainly old enough to go down this route, and it would enable you to start afresh and live openly as a lesbian, while still having ties with those close to you back home.
Remember that you haven't done anything wrong here. You haven't inflicted something bad on your loved-ones. You were just born gay instead of straight and hope that those who love you can accept it. This isn't about them, or their fantasy church weddings. This is about you. Your life, being happy and making the most of it.
Name [Abi] Age  Gender [F]
Your website is totally amazing, I just spent the last few days with
the a lot less weight of my shoulders, after reading through your
website. I don't feel quite confident to register and chat with others yet, but I'm getting there!
I am 23yr old from England, and well I've always had the thought that maybe I was a lesbian, I've had crushes on teachers and other girls etc, but I guess I refused to accept it and well the idea of how my family and friends would react just kept me in denial even longer. I've had relationships with guys, but during intimate moments something never felt quite right.
I currently work for ASDA, as I am trying to save up money to get back into University, and well I can't deny that I'm gay any longer. As I have this major crush on a woman at work, and it feels different this time, I go red whenever she near me and I get all tongue tied etc,
Its just a bit of a nightmare really, because she is actually a
manager and well I'm just a employee low on the totem pole. I find
harder as well because she always looks so unhappy and I just have this overwhelming urge to tell her that I think she is beautiful and amazing, and I'm so scared I'm just going to blurt it out one day. The other problem I have is that whenever she talks to me, I kind of put my defences up and end up being really cold towards her, and this is not who I am, and I don't want her to think I'm a horrible person!
This situation is actually driving me crazy, I end up thinking about
her all the time.
I know your probably really busy, but if you had any advice for me it would really great!
Abi x x
Thanks for your positive feedback on the website. I'm pleased that you found it helpful.
It sounds like you've recently made the big step of beginning to come to terms with being lesbian, which is immensely positive. It's not easy to lead a happy life while pretending to be somebody else and denying your real feelings, so your admissions in your email are important and pivotal. I hope that you are feeling as good about it. On a separate note, saving to go to university is a great thing too. I also went to uni as a mature student and it gave me the qualification to do the sort of work I was passionate about. Keep up the good work. You won't regret it.
Having strong romantic feelings for someone who doesn't necessarily feel the same way back, or os otherwise unavailable, is a pretty normal situation for someone to be in, whether they are gay or straight. It can feel like a bigger deal to a gay person because they have the added worry of their sexuality being exposed and how the object of their affections may feel about having a same-sex admirer. So there's not just the worry of rejection; telling your crush how you feel would also involve coming out to her, and possibly others if she chose to tell them. In other words, when a gay person exposes their romantic feelings to someone else the aftermath can be more complicated than the equivalent for a heterosexual.
Your defensiveness toward your manager is a common self-preservation reaction. You are attracted to her but she seems unobtainable, so to protect your own feelings you push her away and prevent a deeper friendship from forming. It might seem annoying that you behave this way, and you kick yourself afterwards, but you're making yourself seem less friendly as a way of keeping her at a distance so that you don't become more attached. Don't be too hard on yourself about this, but do try to control these responses. It's not this woman's fault that you have feelings for her, and you may be hurting her own feelings with your frosty responses to her friendliness. It's also important in the workplace to be polite and helpful to colleagues to help create a pleasant working environment for everyone.
Ultimately, you have to be realistic and consider the following:
- Is she straight? If she is, then she doesn't really need to know about how you feel. It could make life needlessly complicated to reveal your feelings.
- Do you have any reason to think that your feelings toward your manager are, or could be, reciprocated? What do you really know about this woman and her life outside of work? She's attractive and friendly, but do you have much more than that to go on? Could just a friendship with her be enough for you, if it was being offered?
- You might not be as close to your manager as you'd like, but it sounds as though you enjoy spending time with her. Why not focus on that. Be friendly to her when she comes along and simply enjoy her company for what it is: someone nice at work who brightens up your day. Nothing wrong with asking her why she looks a bit down, either.
- You are going to university, so your current situation is temporary. If it's a good job with good people then it's worth learning to deal with these feelings and staying there until you leave for uni. Focus on your goals: saving money; looking forward to the future; the new people you'll meet at university, including real relationship opportunities.
- You're at the beginning of your journey of the acceptance of your sexuality. You're probably a bit lonely and would like to be in a relationship. This is normal. As time goes by your confidence will grow and you'll meet other gay people. You won't always be hiding who you are and longing for someone you can't have. Your current situation is temporary and just a beginning.
All the best to you for the future.
Name [Molly] Age  Gender [F]
Firstly, thank you for this wonderful website. Reading it has been such a great help to me over the last few days.
Basically, a few months ago I realised that I am probably a lesbian. My friend and I were talking and she asked me about "bringing a boy home" and then added as an afterthought "or a girl" and I realised at that point that I couldn't say "no, of course a boy" as I had expected to. So I just ignored the matter completely. From then onwards, I was thinking constantly about my sexuality and realising how I had been in denile and hiding my feelings for a long time. Since I was about 12 or 13 I had been scared that I was gay (mainly because I knew how everyone who I cared about would react), but had just tried to hide it even from myself, and it was only when I realised that I couldn't say that I was straight to my friend that I woke up and realised what I had been doing to myself all these years.
For the next 2 months it was on my mind constantly, night and day - I was getting no sleep and couldn't concentrate on anything. I realised I was making myself ill and decided that I really needed to talk to my best friend (the same one who made the inital comment). I arranged for us to be alone and we had a long chat about my feelings and I admitted to her that I thought I might be a lesbian but that I really wasn't sure. She was amazing and so supportive, saying nothing would change between us. I really couldn't have asked for a better response.
I have felt so much better since telling her, I have been sleeping better than I have done for years and feeling much more positive about life in general, knowing that I have some support and that I don't have to keep it to myself any more.
The trouble is, I'm still really not sure. I think I have been lying to myself to so long that I just don't know who I really am any more! I know I definitely like girls and I don't think I am attracted to boys...but I've been pretending to myself for years and I'm struggling to work out my true feelings about anyone now. I'm not ready to tell anyone else I know other than the friend I have already told, just because I think I need to be fully comfortable with it myself first but also because I want to know myself how I feel first. I don't want to come out as lesbian if I am really bisexual and then end up meeting a boy I like and people around me thinking that I am just pretending. I am also scared that I will somehow change my mind in a few years or something and then noone will believe me. Does this ever happen?
Will I ever know for sure if I am gay or bisexual? Should I just talk to my family and friends and explain that I am unsure? I just think that people won't understand that it's possible to be unsure...
My other problem is that my family are all VERY anti-gay. My mum will be ok, I know she will accept me even though she is uncomfortable with the idea of being gay, but the rest of my family are very homophobic. I have had several arguments with them about them being so closed-minded but have never got anywhere with it. Most of my closest friends are religious too and see being gay as a sin and as something you can choose, so you should just choose not to be! How do I try and explain how I feel and that I'm just the same as before to someone who thinks God thinks it's evil to be gay? Do people who think like that ever change their mind?
Just typing this letter out has helped me, when I started I thought I was going to say that I was unsure, but now that I've been thinking clearly and actually putting it down in to words, I can see that I AM lesbian or bisxual - I'm just not sure which. Initially I was so upset that I was gay and really wouldn't have chosen it, but in the last few days (or even just during the time typing this email) after reading this site and browsing the forum I feel much more comfortable with myself. It is nice to know that there are so many other young people out there who feel like me and are going through similar things.
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
I think it's clear that just writing down your feelings has helped you to clarify things in your mind and gain a a sense of 'where you are'. You express yourself clearly and I think you probably have more answers than you have tended to think in the past. It's important to listen to the signs your body and emotional reactions are giving you and try not to spend too much time analysing yourself. It's normal to want to understand and to categorise your sexuality, but labels can feel restrictive, especially if you're really not completely sure of where your sexualities lies. Ask yourself why it's so important to make a definitive statement about your sexuality at this time. You may come to feel that it's actually okay to be unsure, like a lot of people, and to say as much if someone asks about it. You may also choose to people to mind their own business! Still, I understand why coming out is important. Being in the closet can feel dishonest and prevents you from being yourself and relaxing fully with people. Coming out is also about saying to the world, 'I'm a normal, healthy and good person; I shouldn't have to hide who I am; and I expect you to treat me with respect'. There's nothing unreasonable about that.
I have never heard of someone coming out as gay and later realising that they are straight! But I have heard about people who first come out as gay but have relationships with both sexes as they move through life. Many people who write to the website feel that they are gay, and have never felt attraction for the opposite sex. Things get confusing for young gay people when they have perhaps 'tried' to be straight and sidestepped the reality of thier feelings. Like you, many people who write to the website are unsure if they have ever had genuine feelings of attraction for members of the opposite sex because they've spent so much time thinking that they should, and have simply fallen into opposite-sex relationships on autopilot. But when a person faces up to how they really feel and allows the mist to lift, it's often quite clear who they genuinely find attractive and, therefore, where their sexuality lies. Being in a real relationship is about a genuine desire, both physical and emotional, to be close to a particular person - not simply a reaction to a feeling of duty or doing what's expected of you.
You may find, when being totally honest with yourself, that no lads have ever made you feel genuine attraction and sexual desire, or have made you feel the way women do. Just think about how you feel now when you go out with friends. Do you see guys in the street and find them sexy, or do you simply think they look nice. There's a big difference between appreciating a good looking man - a bit like looking at sunset! - and actually wanting to be close to romantically or sexually him. It'll become clearer with time. And time is the key here: whether you come out right now, as lesbian but a bit unsure, or wait a while until you feel more sure of yourself. It's about your need to be open about your feelings versus your need to understand yourself better, and only you can decide which way round to do things.
Read my coming out and religion sections to arm yourself with information for tackling trickier targets! I won't lie about it: some people won't be over the moon to hear your news, but I can promise you that you aren't doing anything wrong and that you deserve peoples' acceptance and love as much out of the closet as in it.
Name [Mike] Age  Gender [M]
I'm a 21 year gay man, but I'm still a Virgin and it's really getting me down. Regardless of what my sexuality is, I'm still so embarrassed about being a Virgin at 21. I've been on the gay scene for about 2 years now and still not managed to loose my virginity. I just don't like the way you pick up guys on the scene either. Its like one minute you like the look of someone and then seconds later you've got there tongue down their throat and a second later you're having sex with them down the side alley of a club or in the toilets. For example me and one of my mates where out on the scene the other night and my mate went to the toilet and he was gone for ages and he explained some man followed him into the toilet said he liked him and the next minute they where snogging each other and giving each other blowjob's!! I don't get it, it feels so wrong!!! And knowing my mate he'll not see him again, he does that thing all the time and when I ask did you like the look of him my mate goes not really! Don't get me wrong I'm not judging him, if he like's it that way so be it, but for me I don't want to be having blowjob's/sex etc with random people, even some really, really hot man I feel I would want to know first. I feel I have to get to know someone first. Maybe getting talking to them, go on a date, then a snog and then maybe sex on the 2nd date. It may sound old fashioned but I want the whole white wedding thing etc. So the way people just pick up guys like so easily and seconds later having sex with them I really don't like. I really do have to get to know someone first. Other than that I love the gay scene!! Another problem I have is the longer I stay a virgin, when I do finally loose my virginity I'm worried the man I'm having sex with will go off me as I'll come across so inexperienced in bed he'll definitely know I'm a virgin and find that weird (especially at 21) and go off me. The longer I go on as a virgin I'm worried I'm incapable of falling in love with anyone. I wouldn't even go and chat someone up I'm properly too shy to do that.
You're not alone in wanting a more meaningful connection with someone before you enter into a sexual relationship with them. Many straight and gay people prefer to have sex with someone they have got to know a little and have more than just a physical interest in. It's not old fashioned to hold out for someone you really like; to go on dates; develop something meaningful; have hopes of living with someone and making a life commitment with. Romance isn't dead, though it's easy to think that it might be when you're in a gay club. That's not to say that what your friend gets up to is wrong (though it does strike me as odd to have sexual contact with someone he doesn't find attractive - it sounds more like boredom than lust). Some people have a very casual attitude toward sex and enjoy it with many different partners, without any emotional bond, commitment or desire for contact afterwards. As long as he's happy, safe, and is doing it with people who want the same thing then there's nothing wrong with it.
When it comes to your worries about being inexperienced, Mr. Right won't be giving you marks out of 10! When you meet the right guy you'll be able to communicate how you feel about sex and what worries you before you get anywhere near the bedroom. Someone who cares about you will be happy to take it slow. You'll learn about what you like and what he likes as you go. Nobody expects you to be an expert the first time. Sex shouldn't be
forced, contrived or staged. Don't try and re-enact a porno, because there's nothing very real about that! Just be yourself and it'll work itself out naturally.
There are other guys like you in those clubs who don't want a blow job from a stranger in a toilet while under the influence of a few too many alcopops. But it's hard to tell what someone is looking for just from spotting them on the dance floor. Try to be a bit braver and chat to people you like the look of. It's easy to imagine rejection and frostiness from people, but a lot of people are just like you and happy to engage in friendly conversation. Your friend certainly isn't lacking in confidence, so ask him to help you find ways to get chatting to people. And if you're not having much luck in clubs, think of other ways you can meet people. While it's not impossible to meet someone for a relationship on the gay scene, you might want to explore online dating or other ways of socialising with gay people who are looking for more than a quickie. See my page here for ideas.
Name [James] Age  Gender [M]
I've known that I'm gay for over a year now but I'm really worried about coming out. There's a lad at school I realey like, i'v known him for about 3 years and I really like him but because he's straight it really upsets me every time I see him cuz I know I carnt be with him. I planned on coming out last summer but in the end I didn't go through with it. I really want to be open about my sexuality but I just can't face telling anyone. I feel like i'v been hiding it for to long and I'm feeling quite depressed and if someone says the simpelist thing to me it can turn in to a huge argument. I'm starting collage in the summer and thought about coming out just before then so I can start collage being openly gay but I don't know if I'll be able to go through with it. Can you pleas give me some advice on what to do.
Hiding your sexuality can become a constant source of frustration, leading, for some people, to feelings of anxiety, depression and even anger. It's normal to resent people who you feel keep you trapped in the closet, and to be hypersensitive to their comments about homosexuality, but remember that they likely have no idea how you feel. By staying in the closet (hiding your sexuality) you aren't giving anyone a chance to react in either a positive or negative way. Offhand remarks about gay people aren't always indicative of how a person really feels about homosexuality, or how they'd feel about a friend – someone they care about – confiding in them about being gay. A person in the closet can end up using a lot of guesswork and emotionally led assumptions about how their eventual coming out might go down with friends and family. It can be hard sometimes to think rationally and logically, but it's important to do so. At the moment you're creating tensions inside yourself and this is spilling out into arguments with your friends, who are probably struggling to work out what's really going on with you. It sounds as if you want to come out, and a part of you is very eager and ready, while another is scared. I think you need, at the very least, to start the ball rolling by confiding in one good friend. This will help you to gain some confidence when talking about your sexuality. From there you can make a plan to tell more people. It'll never be any easier or less scary than raising the issue with someone, just saying the words and waiting for a reaction, so it all boils down to when you want to make a start. Read the coming out section for more.
It's painful to have romantic feeling for someone who you know is not able to feel the same way back, but this isn't just a problem for gay people falling for straight. It's part of life for most people at some point to fall for someone who isn't available, isn't interested, is already taken etc. It's painful, but it's important to handle it well. Stay focussed on other things in your life that matter to you, be realistic about the situation and firm with yourself. Don't allow your upset about this person to result in you being rude or cold toward him, as you may push a friend away who you'll miss once the dust has settled. Read this page about how to deal with falling for a straight friend.
Name [Kai] Age  Gender [M]
i was walking down the street with my gay boyfriend. i now this might sound stupid but we had a kiss goodbye and is was about 3mins away from my house and i got beaten up for being gay. now i dont no what to do carry on being gay or just go to my normal self again please Jason can you help please my parents tell me to go back to your normal self and i dont now what to do and i dont now what is the right way to go im stuck i need some help all that can be given so i can go to being gay again
The problem here isn't you being gay. The problem is being attacked by thugs. If you haven't already done so, get in touch with the police and tell them what's happened. I hope that your parents, despite their misguided advice to 'be your normal self', did get the police involved and reported this unprovoked hate crime against their son. If crimes like this aren't reported, and the attackers are allowed to continue, then more gay people will suffer attacks.
You haven't chosen to be gay, and there's nothing wrong with you. Your 'normal self' that you refer to is the person you were before you got a boyfriend. That person was still gay – he was just single! It's easier to hide from your sexuality when you're not in a relationship and to appear 'normal', but the feelings that make a gay person gay are still there. If I lived on the moon, far away from any man for the rest of my life, I'd still be gay... and rather bored.
It sounds to me as though you'd like to feel better about being who you are, and your kissing goodbye to your boyfriend shows someone who was at least moving toward feeling happy and comfortable with his sexual orientation, until those thugs made you feel bad about simply living your life the way it feels right. You can't change your sexuality and nobody should ever be made to feel that they have to. You're not the guilty party in the situation your email describes. Talk to your boyfriend about how you feel and make use of his support. Think about other people you could talk to who will be supportive and helpful. Please spend time reading some of the content on my website - I hope it will make you feel better about your sexuality. The frequently asked questions page is a good place to start. Don't let those criminals stop you living your life and being happy.
Name [Caitlin] Age  Gender [F]
hai..slightly embarresed as this is a very stupid question but here goes:
I have only ever been in one relationship with a girl and none of my mates knew about it which is why we broke up cos i didn't have the guts to tell my christian and possibly slightly homophobic best friend, but the thing that's confusing me is, i can't see my self liking another female,ever, i mean when i was with her i was the happiest i have ever been everyday even when i was ill, but it just seems to me that its not girls its just her,(who i still annoyingly fancy like crazy btw, stupid me being a coward ruining things again...) anyway my querey is, is that well i don't know how to ask it umm..is it..possible for me to only like this one female but when i move schools in a few weeks and not see her again magically become straight? :] thanks
I think it's unlikely that you'll never again meet a female who makes you feel the way this ex girlfriend did but (though I doubt anyone could definitively state that it's impossible). It's obviously a part of you that you can feel that special way about someone of the same sex. You don't mention how you feel about guys, or say if you've ever felt as strongly about a guy as you have this ex. But you are very young and don't have a great deal of experiences to call on, so it's quite early to make statements about your sexuality. There's no need to rush to label yourself. There's a lot to be said of avoiding categories and labels, as they can be restrictive and make you feel trapped. At the moment you have had very strong feelings of attraction toward a girl and don't feel comfortable labelling yourself as lesbian on the back of just one same-sex experience. That sounds like a very sensible and reasonable way to behave.
What isn't so sensible though is that you broke off a relationship that you were enjoying with someone you find attractive. Not because the relationship wasn't working, but out of fear of offending a friend. Think hard about these sort of choices in the future. You may again meet a girl you like, or perhaps a guy that family and friends aren't keen on. Is it right to sacrifice your happiness in order to live up to the expectations of others?
Sexuality isn't always a black and white issue. Some people are confident and sure of themselves and their preferences from an early age and can confidently identify as gay or straight, while others are less sure and find their feelings being pulled toward both men and women. Some find themselves in situations like yourself. It's certainly not unheard of for a person who's always assumed that they are straight to meet someone of the same sex who stirs up feelings that makes them question themselves, even well into adult life. None of this is wrong. What is wrong is when a person runs away from how they feel and risks missing out on wonderful connections and relationships with people who make them feel good. In an ideal world we'd all forget about gender and just see where our attraction leads us.
Name [Tom] Age  Gender [M]
I am 17 years old. i have known i was gay since 8th grade. But i am now a senior in high school and still haven't come out. I am not your typical gay guy i play sports i don't act girly or campy whatever the term is. I want to come out so badly though. Playing straight was fun and it helped me for a while but now i just can't go on. This is about to sound really shallow of me but i am really popular at my school and i am afraid i won't be once i come out. i was voted 3rd cutest guy in my grade freshmen and sophomore year and 2nd cutest last year. I have also had girlfriends and even lost my virginity to a girl. I have also have had boyfriends.
Anyways last year i met a guy and i trusted him too quickly and told him i was gay. he was gay too and out about it. so he made up lies about me saying we had sex. this spread really fast throughout the school. i know this might sound over dramatic but it was kind of a mini high school "scandal" there was even a facebook group about it that said "join if you were surprised when you found out tom is gay" it got taken down but a lot of people joined. a lot of my guy friends who are on sport teams with me rejected me and i lost my popular status. i still had plenty of other friends who were here to support me. but i wasn't the cool popular guy any more so in the end i ended up being able to "prove" i was straight and claimed that kid made it all up. so i got my popularity back and put everything behind me. Now though i wish i just came out then.
I now hate my friends who rejected me during that time because obviously our friendship is now built of a lie and they don't really care about me and i wish i realized that when i was trying to get back to popularity. But i used a lot of people sexually and just in general to prove i was straight so now it just makes it a hundred times harder now to come out now. on top of it i met this guy he is gay he is really cute and we have been going on dates for a month now. he promised not to say anything though. but he also said we cant be an official couple until i come out because he doesn't want to be hidden and stuff. which i completely understand and i would feel horrible if i did keep him hidden like that. i don't know why i care so much about being popular any more all its done is destroy me. every time i was having a problem or having to deal with being gay i would put my "straight" self on and just push all my problems away. so this is the first time i have ever actually dealt with my problems. i just don't know what to do any more. i would gain so much by coming out i know i would. but i would also lose some things. so can you give me advice on what to do.
It sounds to me as though you've reached a point in your life where you're fed-up with pretending to be straight, with hiding your boyfriend and entertaining friendships that only exist because of a lie. A lot of gay people pretend to be straight, or simply keep quiet about their sexuality because of fears over losing friends and being bullied, so you're far from being alone. Most of them eventually get to the stage where they feel that it's better to lose a few fickle, bigoted friends and be true to themselves than to carry on pretending. You need to decide if the kind of popularity that you enjoy in school is more important than telling the truth about who you are and if it's acceptable to date and use girls and generally mislead people in order to keep up the façade.
It was wrong of that guy to make up stories about you, but in a way he did you a favour by telling people about your sexuality. Because of the cruel Facebook group you gained a valuable insight into what your friends think about homosexuality, and also how quickly some turned away from you because you didn't live up to their expectations; the fact is that there are some people in your life who only want your friendship if you are this straight persona that you have created. That must have been a painful realisation and a bit of a shock, but it's surely better to know who your real friends are. On the flip-side, you found that some people were fine about it or simply didn't react negatively. So, sure, things would change if you came out, but the friends that you would have afterwards will be the more mature, open-minded and genuine people in your life; the sort you can introduce a boyfriend to. This, instead of people who have an agenda or just want something from you. Coming out also means that you wouldn't be hiding from your problems any more; it's a time of growing confidence, courage and self-acceptance.
You have one very big reason to come out: you've met someone you like and he's quite rightly said that he doesn't want to have to be a secret, hiding away while you pretend to be straight. If you want to give this relationship a proper chance of succeeding – and even flourishing – then you have to come clean about your sexuality. Looking to the future, whether it's this guy or someone else, you may want to live with him and life becomes very complicated and restricted when you're trying to hide your sexuality and somehow have a healthy relationship that can last.
For most gay people, coming out isn't a case of 'if', it's a case of 'when'. It sounds as though you've reached your time.
Name [Blake] Age  Gender [M]
First, Thanks for reading this letter and making such an awesome site. :)
Now my problem, I was spending the night with my close friend just yesterday. Everything went on as usual; we played video games, talked about parents etc. He is straight. Later, however, he was watching T.V. and I was... well... looking at yaoi on my laptop. He glanced over but didn't say anything. He has a very open mind and does not judge me like some people do. We, as friends, sleep in the same bed together and while we were lying down, asked if he could tell me something that was private. He thought he might be bisexual. Before I knew what was going on, we started kissing and he actually started giving me a bj. After all this was over he said that he wasn't really like "that" and went to brush his teeth. He has a girlfriend and I am super confused because he is almost my dream guy :/
Thanks a ton, Jason.
Your friend has been cold and dismissive in his post-sex behaviour, but people arrive at self-acceptance at different times and he's got a way to go yet.
Straight guys don't give oral sex to male friends, and he's clearly been aware of his same-sex desires for a while. The sleepover allowed him to explore his feelings. His saying he wasn't 'like that' and leaving to brush his teeth afterwards was about denial and getting back to the business of being 'straight' because he isn't comfortable with that part of himself that isn't – however big that might be.
I'm sure you enjoyed being close to him too, so try not to feel too hurt or like a victim here. You got intimate with someone who is in a relationship, which really isn't a good thing to do, so you're both in the wrong here.
I think the ball is in his court now. He knows that you like him and enjoyed your time together. He now has to decide what he wants. If he is bisexual and loves his girlfriend then it's fair enough if he wants to just put the incident behind him and concentrate on being a better boyfriend. But if he is gay and in denial; or perhaps bisexual but prefers men; or simply isn't all that into his girlfriend, then he needs to sort himself out and do the right thing. There's not a lot you can do as it's very much about him fighting his demons and deciding if he's got the balls to make some difficult changes in order to make his life better, more honest and more fulfilling.
But don't sit around hoping he'll come to visit. Don't be a doormat. It might be all too easy to become the 'other man' and be there for sleepovers and one-offs. But that's not fair on you, especially if he's going to be frosty afterwards. If you want to be a boyfriend instead of a casual, then you have to make that clear; think about your own needs and feelings. And if this guy isn't going to give you what you want, then don't miss out on opportunities with openly and comfortably gay guys who can.
Name [Tamara] Age  Gender [F]
i am gay i know that i guess some where deep down i have always known that but its in the space of the last 4 months that i have come out to close family and a few trusted close friends well basically most of them just accepted it and moved on but for some reason my mum will just not she says she does but she don't she is always sayin its just a phase and always making jokes about it. i dont really feel comfortable talking about it to her no more because of her replies and stuff. also i think its got to the stage where im saying i just want to tell the world but then i think of the outcome of what could happen as i already get bullied for other things and i really dont want to make it worse but at the same time i just want to tell the world yes you know what i am gay and im proud but and not having to live under threat of everyone and well i just need help.
thanks a lot
To an extent you're a victim of your age. At 13 you are still a child, and this does mean that some adults won't take statements about sexuality very seriously. But that's not to say that some 13 year olds know very well that they are gay. It's still very popular (though not as much as when I was in school) for adults to cling to the idea of phases whenever a person under 16 says they are gay; it's often the default response. While it's true that some young people may have same-sex experiences but go on to be heterosexual or bisexual adults, plenty of young people have same-sex experiences because they simply are gay or bisexual. I knew I was gay when I was 13-14 years old and those feelings haven't changed since. Only you know how you feel, how strong and real those feelings are. It's not fair to assume a young person doesn't know themselves, but it's sometimes the case that adults might not think that you do.
Your Mum will get used to the idea as time goes by. In the meantime it's okay to ask her to try to take you more seriously and not to make jokes about something so personal and important to you. Don't create or encourage an argument; just calmly explain how you feel and what you'd like.
Coming out is a personal thing and you have to decide when you're ready. But don't be in a rush. It might be enough to tell a few close friends for now, especially if you are suffering from bullying. Please read the coming out and bullying sections for more.