Being gay is okay: Information and advice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and unsure under twenty-fives.
Problem page > Archive > July-August 2011
From [Parker] Age  Gender [M]
Hey Jason, I am gay and don't know what to do. I sit in my room every night wondering what I am... I feel trapped inside myself. I can't tell any of my friends or family because if I did I would Have no friends or family left... Then I would have nothing to live for. I feel so trapped I want to commit scuicide. Please help me jason
Firstly, you are not a bad person and you haven't done anything wrong. Some people are simply born gay. They are not, however, born feeling bad, scared and trapped – these things come later on because of the attitudes of those around us and how we think they might react to our sexuality.
Try to remember that you are thirteen years old. You've got a lot of living to do. Your world, as it is for many people your age, is very small at the moment. There's home life with your immediate family and then there's school. In a few years time that world becomes a great deal bigger. You'll meet more people, be able to travel further afield, perhaps move away for college or to explore career ideas. Your independence will increase, and pretty soon you'll be old enough to make decisions about the direction your life takes, have complete responsibility for yourself and financial independence. Think about what this means in terms of finding a partner and making new friends who are open and accepting. Please don't lose hope because things seem small and restrictive right now.
It's also important to try to manage your anxiety so that you don't get swept up in desperate thoughts and catastrophic thinking. 'Catastrophic thinking' is where you think in terms of completely dreadful things happening that you can't possibly deal with or recover from. It causes you to feel panicked and hopeless. In times like these, try to calm down and dissect situations logically.
Consider the following:
- What evidence is there to support the idea that all your friends and all your family members would react very negatively to your homosexuality? Not guesses: evidence.
- If your family reacted badly to your news, what do you think is a more likely outcome? Would they kick you out of the family home, making you homeless. Would they become heartless monsters, who forget years of love and nurture? Or would they get angry and find it hard to understand, refusing to talk about it further or telling you that it's a phase that you'll grow out of? Perhaps there's no evidence – only fear – to support the idea that they will react badly at all.
- You have more than one friend. They're all unique individuals who think and react differently, even if it sometimes seems that groups of people have the same outlook. Would every single one of your friends have the exact same negative reaction to your homosexuality? Would they all abandon you on the spot? Would they all forget years of friendship and all the things that they like about you that remain unchanged? Are your friends shallow people who have always let you down when you've had bad times? Again, think about how these people have behaved until now and what real evidence you have to support the idea that they'd all let you down.
- It's sometimes useful, though scary, to imagine for a moment that your worst fears came true. Your family and friends – every single one of them – shun you when they discover that you are gay, and you have a bad few years before you are old enough to move out on your own. You would survive! It wouldn't be a nice period of time, but you would cope with it because there's a big world out there full of people who would accept you for who you are and love you for it. That's worth carrying on for. You can be very happy, but you need to stick around to find and experience it.
There's no rush to come out to anyone. Tackle as much as you want, when you want. In the meantime, everything bad that's happening is inside your head; imagined scenarios, fears and panic. Don't let that kind of thinking rule you. Take control back using the calm and rational approach I spoke about.
From [Alex] Age  Gender [M]
Hi Jason my name is Alex and I'm 16. For two years now i have been finding myself a tracked to other guys and having fillings for them. I also like girls as well but I like guys just the same if not more. But i want to get married to a girl and have kids ect, because I think that is the right thing to do. I'm scared to come out to my mum because i think she won't love me for who i am anymore. I love my mum and don't want to hurt her. I'm also scared of what my brothers and sister will do and say (I'm the youngest of two brothers and one sister.) I'm scared and lonely and don't know what to do, can you help me?
Getting married and having children is something someone should only do if they truly love their partner and want to make a family with them. It's not a law. As a gay man, it would not be right for you to get married to a woman and to have children with her. It would be terribly dishonest to convince a woman that you love and desire her, to sleep with her when you have no sexual desire toward her and to raise children in a family where Dad hides who he really is and ultimately feels lonely and trapped. You wouldn't advise a straight man to commit to a romantic life with another man - it's just as crazy. Also, as I've said many times on the website, being straight is not a magic cure for all of life's ills. Here in the UK, almost half of marriages end in divorce. Successful relationships are not about the genders of the people within them: it's about choosing a partner who you really love, not taking them for granted, showing your love every day and working hard to make things work. And in terms of having children, the planet could do with people have a few less! Certainly, as a gay man, thinking in terms of adopting unwanted children who are already on the planet could be a wonderful part of your future and an amazing gift to give.
I believe that what everyone needs to be truly happy – gay or straight – is to accept who they and make the most of it. You can't be happy by pretending to be someone else and playing a part every time you walk out of your front door. It's draining. It's a cage that we make for ourselves.
I think that you'd like to come out, but you're afraid. You're not alone. There's lots of advice on this website that can help you to start feeling better about your situation and to make a plan for moving forward.
From [Jacob] Age  Gender [M]
I... well where do I start. Even though I am thirteen, I've done monumental amounts of research on homosexuality, and to tell you the truth I know I'm gay. I mean I see guys and I'm like OMG, and have an immediate desire for that person. But the next day, I... I feel guilty. I have no idea. And then I force myself to be straight, and it ends in pain. I just don't know what to do. That's just part 1 of the problem.
Part 2 is that my Mom accepts, my sister accepts and does not like, and my dad cannot know. He was raised hard conservative, and he is a recovering alcoholic. He ask's me what girls are hot, and if I like any girls. Or even if I have a girlfriend, and I just slyly lie. But I can tell he knows, somewhere repressed in his mind. And if I do tell him I am gay, he might snap back into alcoholism. And possibly die. I don't know what to do.
You can't force yourself to be straight, any more than a straight person can force themselves to be gay. Sexuality is firmly printed into us, just like eye colour. You know how you feel about guys, so happiness is about accepting and being comfortable with it. This will come with time. You haven't done anything wrong by being born different. The guilt that you sometimes feel is the result of the conflict between who you are and what you think others require of you to gain their acceptance i.e. it's hard to feel good about liking guys if friends make fun of gay people and family ask you about when you're going to find a nice girl. There's plenty of advice on this website on how you might start to feel better about being gay. The FAQ pages are a good place to start.
Your Father's alcoholism is not in your hands. He's an adult who is in control of his own life and makes his own decisions. It's good news that he is recovering and therefore, I assume, got the help that he needs to control his drinking and have a better quality of life. If the news of your sexuality made him reach for the bottle, it wouldn't be your fault: his decision, his hand reaching out, his bottle. Your being gay is not a punishment for you or your family, and it's not something bad that you choose to inflict on people. I could spend time with a friend today and say all sorts of things. My friend would respond to what I was saying, partly because of the content of my sentences, but also because of how he chooses to interpret the words and how he chooses to behave as a result of hearing them. He might take offence at something and choose to go home in a mood. Or he might choose to see things more positively, ask for my clarification, or give my meaning the benefit of the doubt. The point is that people choose what to do during interactions with each other: I can't make my friend react a certain way, and you can't make your Dad get drunk – people make their own choices. Your Father's alcohol problem has nothing to do with your sexuality, nor should the two things get mixed up together.
From [Maya] Age  Gender [F]
I am 18, and I am pretty sure that I am a lesbian. In fact,I have had sexual feelings towards girls, and had a relationship with a girl, which did not last. My problem is that I often doubt myself, or question whether I am gay or not, but I have always been more comfortable with women in terms of being close to them. Is is normal to question yourself?
Yes, it's completely normal to question yourself. There's definitely this idea that once a person decides that they are gay then the questioning part of sexuality is over, but this often isn't the case. Acknowledging same-sex desires is a big step, and one that takes some people a long time to feel comfortable with. But it's not always the case that eventual coming out means that a person is 100 percent gay and everything is crystal clear.
I think that sometimes life is as complicated as we make it. To simplify things here, and to sound a bit clichéd for a moment, you could decide to just follow your heart. Don't label yourself and just see who you are drawn to. You may find yourself drawn toward women, or you might find that a special guy comes into your life and puts a new spin on things. If you have doubts about being gay, then just see where life leads you and who it leads you toward. Nobody actually has to decide that they only like one gender and to deliberately and narrowly steer themselves toward that. You know as much as I do about what's going to happen in the future of what new perspective new people might put on your life. You won't go wrong if you are always honest with yourself about how you feel and never hide from those feelings.
From [Stewart] Age  Gender [M]
Dear Jason, I am having a few problems in my life, Yet i cannot exactly pinpoint what they are. I am gay, though still closeted, and i am in no rush to come out, though a few friends know. I have met a couple of people and have kissed boys before, today went another step and i was with a guy, and we started taking our clothes off. We did a couple of things yet i was unable to maintain an erection, i was totally let down in the trouser area. I am unsure on why this is so, am i eating the wrong things? etc etc. Also i was surprised at how small my penis was compared to his, and how he could get an erection rather quickly. I didn't think erectile dysfunction could really happen at my age, i am only 18. I am totally happy with every other factor of my life, but this is a big problem for me. Do you have any suggestions as to what is wrong?
Everyone is different physically, and penis size varies from one guy to another. Getting close to someone in the bedroom shouldn't be a competition. When developing a relationship with someone they care about it's usual for people to think in terms of the whole person rather than worrying about a check list of clinical measurements, single aspects and statistics. If the man you're with decided that penis size is something that's very important to him and he wants to be with someone bigger then that's his prerogative, but to a lot of people it won't even be relevant. If a boyfriend of yours was smaller than you you'd likely want him not to feel inferior and just to enjoy himself. After all, there's nothing you can do about penis size. Even enlargement surgery only gives a small increase, is very expensive and comes with the danger of erectile problems afterwards. Surely better to make the most of what you have than to risk not being able to use it at all! If it's really bothering you, then talk to him about it (unless it was a one-off, of course). Also, think about what actually happened in bed that time: did he gasp with surprise and jump out of bed, or did you both have a good time? Enjoy being close to the next guy you're with and try not to worry about it.
When it comes to erections, again, it varies from one guy to another. Some guys seem to flick them on quickly like a switch, while other people need to feel more relaxed and to spend more time on foreplay before things heat up. Being nervous and worrying about penis size and erections will, ironically, also hinder your ability to get and maintain an erection. Again, try to relax and not worry about and analyse your body. Even though the guy you went to bed with may have seemed all-systems-go, you can bet he has worried about different things at times too. Getting into a sexual relationship means letting your barriers down and being exposed – it's scary stuff! Don't be too hard on yourself if you're not leaping around the bed with complete confidence and self-assuredness. Confidence comes with time and experience and, within a relationship, learning about each other's bodies and what you both like and respond to.
This guy found you attractive and wanted to be close to you, which is a wonderful thing that can bring you a great deal of pleasure. Don't question it, take your time, hush your brain and enjoy it.
From [Toby] Age  Gender [M]
Hello, My name is toby
I am in a bit of an difficult situation. i know everything should be based on what i feel is right but i really don't know, and i have a had a look at your website it is wonderful, you should be very proud. the situation is, about October time 2010 i got a girlfriend (my first one, (i am now 17), and i have always thought i was gay from about 13 and thought about other men but, i really love what i have got with my girlfriend and the friendship but i think i would like to be with a same sex partner, and there is someone at the college where i am who is in my mind. but because my girlfriend at the moment is my first and she talks about the future, and i feel as if i cant hurt her, i have mentioned being bisexual to her, but i don't know whether to loose what i have got now or have something worse or better, i really don't know. i am in no particular rush but just felt like i needed to ask you. and only my best friend and girlfriend know i am gay/bisexual.
Kind regards Toby
I tend to take a hard line when it comes to gay men having girlfriends and I'll be no different this time. I don't doubt that you have feelings for this young lady, and I know that the desire to conform can be strong, but it's a terrible thing to use someone like this. This idea of holding onto what you have now because you're afraid of the gamble of other options not paying off is a pretty cynical way to measure relationships and people. Surely better to be on your own and be honest than to be with someone because it seems like the best deal currently available?
You admit that you've thought that you were gay from the age of 13, but 4 years later you have a girlfriend in tow – there's little excuse. If friendship is all you feel then it's not fair to feign a romantic and physical relationship with her. The fact that she's talking about a future with you is not a reason to bury your head in the sand: it's an urgent call to action. Better to end this now than hurt her more in the future. She'll resent you for deceiving her for years a lot more than she will for doing so for months. You say you have a guy on your mind and that you'd like to have a same-sex partner. It's obvious what needs to happen here.
And of course she'll be hurt. Imagine if you were with a man who revealed that he was really straight, didn't find you physically attractive and had been hiding these things from you. Nobody likes to have that realisation. But she'll get over it. Importantly, she'll be free to find a man who can give her what she wants, and desire her in all the ways she deserves to be desired. And you'll be free too, to explore your sexuality instead of hiding or restraining it.
Treat your girlfriend with respect, honesty and care, and come clean. Only then can you both get a true chance at finding what you want instead of both – knowingly and otherwise – pretending that you have.
From [Sally] Age  Gender [F]
Recently my best guy friend came out to me (I'm a girl) and I'm the first person he has ever come out to. He has thought about telling me before but ended up telling me because we got in a fight and it had a roundabout way of being connected. Anyway, himself being gay is in no way the issue and I fully support him.
The reason I have a problem is the way he spoke about himself. He saw it as a fault within himself, something he should never be proud of and a big negative in his life. I know that his parents are very anti everything homosexual so that probably has something to do with it and he believes he will never be able to tell them.
He also hates talking about it and refuses to open up, he doesn't even use words like gay or even guys! I understand that I have to be patient but how can I help him? Some of the stuff about how he sees himself really scared me. He knows that I fully support him but how can I help him accept himself? I just hate to think he has such negative thoughts about himself. He also has been getting frustrated/angry about it lately but would never let anyone know as he is pretty private.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks for writing. Your friend is lucky to have you, but it's hard to make someone open up and accept support if they're unwilling.
Most gay and bisexual people experience a period of time where they get used to the idea that they are different. In a perfect world we'd celebrate everyone's uniqueness and individuality and nobody would think twice about being whatever it is there are. After all, nobody is born with hang-ups about sex or being gay. We get taught to feel bad about being different by the people around us. For a young person finding themselves attracted to members of the same sex can be a time of great fear and worry, in a world that often sends negative and misleading messages about homosexuality.
If your friend has grown up around homophobic (anti-gay) parents then it's no wonder he's having a hard time accepting himself. He'll be struggling between his true nature and the desire to please, and live up to the expectations of, his family. It's not an uncommon story, and certainly not something he can't overcome. I like to think that most gay people eventually realise that in order to be happy in life they have to embrace who they are and make the most of it. Happiness doesn't come from trying to please others by lying and hiding, but by finding the courage to challenge others to love and accept the real you. As time goes by your friend will hopefully realise, as many gay people do, that you can have all the good things in life like love and intimacy, family, success and happiness, regardless of sexuality, though I'd be wrong not to say that the battle to those things may be tougher for some.
It sounds as though you're already being a good friend to him and I'm sure he'll need your support as he works things out. It can't be rushed, but you can remind him that you're there if he wants to talk and that, as far as you and a lot of people out there are concerned, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being gay.
From [Andi] Age [F] Gender 
I was told by a concerned friend about your website, and immediately though to give it a try! I have been dealing with the baggage of realizing my sexuality for nearly a year. I'm fifteen and a lesbian. I realized last July that I liked girls and in October that I am gay. I have tried to change, but I can't force a lie. I don't know how to handle it. I am fine with gay people my best friend is gay, but I am not okay with being gay! I hate it! I don't know how to cope! I try and have taken steps forward but still am not doing great. I don't know how to do this. I am scared! I live in America, in a small southern bible belt town, so I am not coming out of the closet (aside from family trusted adult and a few trusted friends) till after high school. I can't come out, but I hate feeling like I'm living a lie! I don't know how to be okay with this. I know I should be but I am not! I want to be okay! I'm not okay! It isn't okay! I can't even say it out loud!!! That's the simplest thing and I can't do it! So I guess the reason I am contacting you is for advice? I don't have a clue how to do this! If you have any advice on coping with teen lesbianism I would appreciate it. The things on your site helped a little but didn't fit my problems well. Thanks for any help you can offer!
It sounds as though, to an extend, you're facing some of the same issues that the friend that Sally was talking about in the letter above: self-acceptance and how to live openly and honestly as a lesbian in a world that might seem unsupportive.
Firstly, you sound like an intelligent, articulate young lady, who's aware of who she is and wants to feel better about it: all very positive stuff. I get emails from people a lot older who aren't as far along the path as you. Try to remember that you are 15 years old, so nobody expects you to have all the answers or to have figured everything out or to have become completely at peace with yourself – and nor should you expect these things of yourself.
It's especially hard for a homosexual person to find acceptance in an overtly religious environment because often the attitudes about sexuality go hand on hand with the religion of the community, on top of simply facing the different attitudes you tend to find from person to person. But that's not to say that everyone in a religious town is going to be homophobic by default. You have mentioned coming out to family, a trusted adult and trusted friends, so it sounds as though there are several people who you think will accept, or at least not negatively react too strongly to, your news. This is very good start. Beyond that, you have to ask yourself: is it anyone else's business beside family and close friends? Do I need to tell the town?
Take things a step at a time. Perhaps after coming out to the select few you might think about the next stage. What that can be is up to you. You might want to meet someone and think about ways of doing that. You might decide that a small town isn't compatible with being the open person you'd like to be, so you might think about branching out on your own, to study or pursue a career. You might decide to keep your sexuality to yourself unless someone asks you directly, or you might want to be bolder. You get to make the rules for your life, and you get to set the pace for coming out and more besides.
As for generally feeling better about being lesbian, that will take time and it's different for everyone. You're off to a great start because you want to feel better about things. You acknowledge that you're not as positive and feel as good about things as you'd like – there's no denial going on, and you should feel very good about how you're facing your problems head-on. You probably know that being lesbian isn't a bad thing. Simply, some people are homosexual, and it's only the attitudes of others and the messages projected by society at large that can make a person feel bad about it. You were likely born lesbian (as I believe) but you weren't born feeling bad about it, and you can feel better than you currently do. I think you're doing fine.
I think you already likely have, but please read my religion pages for some insights that might help.
From [Anon] Age  Gender [M]
im 16 years old and have always, since a very young age, been attracted to men. a few months ago i even came out to a couple of my friends but then recently took it all back and said i was just confused. i want more than anything to be straight, which is the problem beceause i feel very little physical attraction to women. emotionally though i want to be with girls and am still to this day trying to flirt and feel as though i am crushing on girls yet still have strong physical attraction and fantasies etc. about guys. i think my parents would be fine with me being gay as theyre not really homophobic at all and my mum has even mentioned thats he wouldnt care - my brothers not so much and im also scared of losing friends and being made fun of for it - theres alot of homophobics in my school...
the main point is - do u think its possible that even though ive felt liek im gay for most of my life that i could be straight later in life? and do u think its possible to change? i really want to be able to live the 'normal' life - get married have kids etc. but i dont know if i can do that now...
No, I don't think it's possible to change sexuality, nor is there any proof that it is. Homosexuality isn't an illness or condition, and therefore there is no cure or treatment. This website is all about helping people to feel better about who they are, and not encouraging harmful ideas about change.
It's important to realise that you can have both the physical and emotional connection with a man, but it's just a case of finding the right person. I get a lot of emails similar to yours because I think that often guys in school are very immature, so you might fancy some of them but conversation with them isn't so good! Young gay men often find the emotional connection and friendship they want with female friends, and find themselves wishing they could find that sort of caring personality in a man. You can, but you might have to look a bit more and be patient. As a gay man, waiting for a good man to come along is a realistic ambition, whereas trying to force yourself into a relationship with a woman is not.
What's do you feel is so dreadful about being gay? Did you know that in the UK almost half of all marriages end in divorce? So being straight isn't a magic wand over your life and the secret to lasting love. Having a successful relationship and your own family are within your reach as a gay man; it's about your attitude, how you conduct yourself in relationships and who you choose to get close to. Being happy in life is down to your ability to accept who you are and to make the most of it, and isn't about whether you like men or women. A sure way to be miserable is to pretend to be something that you aren't, to miss out on real love and to mislead others in order to conform; no woman will thank you for trying to like her. Being gay doesn't have to be a problem; it's what you make it. You can feel better about who you are and that should be your goal.
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