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

Problem page > Archive > June 2011

From [Jannie] Age [14] Gender [F]

Hi, I'm pretty sure that I'm gay. I'm having to go to counselling for depression and anxiety soon and I think the reason behind my depression is having really homophobic people in my family, for instance when my 14 year old step sister told my dad that she was pregnant, he replied "Well, at least you weren't going to tell me that you've chosen to be gay." I think that I might have to come out in these sessions and I was wondering if you knew if there were any confidentiality laws that could stop my councillor from outing me to my parents? I've heard that if you are putting yourself or anyone else they have to tell your parents the reason behind it and I've been self-harming for a year, just to cope. Thanks, Jannie

Hi Jannie,

Counselling is confidential. You don't have to worry about your parents being debriefed after each session or getting some kind of list of issues that were discussed. Your counsellor won't tell your family that you have said you might be lesbian. This would make a joke of counselling for young people and, worse, put many at risk.

However, there are circumstances where a counsellor may break confidentiality, such as when the counsellor believes their client is a risk of causing serious harm to themselves or to others. When we talk about 'serious harm' to oneself we're really talking about suicide; and a very real and immediate risk at that. So I doubt that a counsellor would break confidentiality over a long term case of non life threatening self harm, nor go into the reasons why you feel you do it. You'd be going to the counsellor to talk about why you self harm and to learn to manage your problems and negative feelings so that you can move away from using it as a coping mechanism. The counsellor will have met many young people who have self-harmed and she or he won't be alarmed by it.

If you are still worried then don't be afraid to ask the counsellor about confidentiality. It's likely the counsellor will introduce your first session by outlining these practices anyway.

Don't hold back from opening up and making the most of this service. It could help a great deal. I've had counselling at various times in my life and believe it can help people break negative thinking habits; gain confidence; deal with painful events that are holding them back; and learn to get more out of life. Embrace it.

From [Lee] Age [14] Gender [M]

hey jason
i have really big problems with bullying i get pushed called gay the biggest name they say all the time is leegay (i say im not gay to them but i am) and some times crowded round by a few people and asked questions that i dont want to answer. All my friends do is stand by and watch or even walk away like they dont even now me. most of the time i just come home lock my self in a room and cry i need help

Hi Lee,

I'm so sorry that you have such a terrible time in school. It's very painful to face bullying on a daily basis and even more so when you don't have the support of your friends. I suspect they're just trying to stay out of the firing line so that they don't get attention from the bullies themselves, but that's not much help to you.

I've written a lot on bullying in the dedicated section here. This talks you through what you can do to get the bullying stopped and also how to tackle the tricky issue of keeping your sexuality hidden while taking action against homophobic bullies. Please take the time to read it.

I was bullied badly in school when I was your age and I let it go on for years. If I could do things over again I'd speak to someone much sooner because once I did the bullying halted overnight. Be brave, speak up and take control back from these bullies. Life can – and should – be peaceful, fun and free from fear.

From [silentcanada] Age [18] Gender [M]

I came out to my parents that I was gay about a month or two ago. I thought they would of accepted it by now but they have not. I have talked to my friends about it to. they think I should leave my parents house sense Im 18 but I disagree. I love them and don't want to hurt them. But they are killing my mental health. I have harmed my self multiple times, tried stopping. I have stopped eating and really under weight. My parents wont let me date the guys I like, so most relationships are in secrecy. The guys get tired of dealing with me and that just hurts me more. My parents even see how awfull my mental health is and how depressed I am but they dont care. I have 1 year of school left and then im out of here. Im not shure what type of advice Im asking for but I dont know what to do or think myself?

Hi SilentCanada,

Anyone's mental health would suffer if they were living with people who didn't accept them or who tried to control them. It's not a healthy environment or one that fosters peace, support and love.

You're miserable at home but you don't want to move out because you don't want to hurt your parents feelings. This speaks volumes about what a caring and considerate person you are but doesn't speak massively of logical thinking and self preservation (sorry!). Your parents aren't showing a great deal of regard for your feelings or health, so it seems very self punishing to endure whatever they do because you don't want to upset them. Your health is suffering and it's time to think of your own needs.

If you have somewhere else to stay, then I'd give some serious thought to taking it. Of course, there are finances to consider: do you have enough money to live away, to complete your studies and to finance your next steps (i.e. is there funding in place for college or for other training you might want, or are you going to get a job after school?).

If you really can't afford to live away from home just yet then it's important to come up with some ways of managing the negative environment you live in and to protect your mental health. Consider these points and suggestions:

  • It's only one year. In the grand scheme of things it's not a long time.
  • Make plans for the future. By thinking beyond your current situation you are giving yourself clear and positive goals to aim for. Maybe you're going to share a house with a friend, get your own place or take a trip somewhere. Perhaps you're excited about a future career or further studies. Making plans gives you a purpose and something positive to hold onto when you're feeling low or things are particularly tense with family members.
  • Being gay is okay! Your parents have a bad attitude about your sexuality but there's nothing wrong with being gay. Thousands and thousands of people are just like you. You simply asked to be accepted for what you are and you've been let down. You're not at fault here and you didn't create the negative environment at home. Your parents did. They chose to behave a certain way, but you didn't choose to be gay. Don't become a victim or a villain in this situation – you're neither.
  • Since you can't open up about how you feel to your parents you'd likely find the opportunity to speak to a counsellor very beneficial. Counsellors (or therapists) offer advice, guidance and listening. Counselling can be an opportunity to vent; to work out better ways of dealing with things; to break negative thinking habits that hold you back; to process and make sense of painful things that have happened etc. Anything you tell a counsellor is confidential.
  • Spend time away from the home if it's unpleasant to be there. Do an evening class or take up a hobby and use the next 12 months to learn some new skills. Spend time with friends and enjoy the calm that their homes have to offer. Ease the pressure by getting out and about.
  • Don't get into arguments with your parents. Try to manage your anger and speak calmly, at an even volume, if someone is looking for a row. Arguments about sexuality are pointless because you can't change being gay. They are just a way for your parents to let off steam and express their issues. Sometimes it's best to remove yourself and go for a walk if things get too heated. Young gay people often have to be the grown ups.
  • Look after yourself by eating properly and getting some regular exercise. Simply eating more fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods (wholemeal bread, oats, seeds etc.) and doing some walking will lift your mood. Eating badly, skipping meals and loafing around will make you feel sluggish and depressed. People forget that the mind is part of the body and that it's not just external events that affect mood and mental wellbeing.
  • You are 18 so see your boyfriend! If your parents have given you no choice but to be secretive about it, then so be it. The support of a partner could be very helpful over the next year. On the other hand, any guy who runs a mile because you have problems isn't worth your time. It's important to work on being strong and independent, whether you have a shoulder to lean on or not.

Your parents might change their behaviour and attitude over time, so don't give up on them. Be patient, calm and reasonable as much as you can. But it's clear that at the moment their priorities are not on making a happy, supportive and accepting home environment. Focus on protecting yourself and making your daily life at home as manageable as possible.

From [Martin] Age [21] Gender [M]

Hi Jason

I find this website most helpful, however I am unsure as to my sexuality. I have had a long term relashionship with a Women before (nearly 2 years) and have also had regular sex with other women. However I have also had same sex experiances as well. I enjoy straight pornography but I would watch mostly Gay porn. I feel greet after Straight porn or sex however when I do anything same sex wise, I get a very strong feeling of guilt and just want to forget the whole thing. I dont know wheather this could be classed as bisexuality?!

I would be most greatful if you could reply, as I am so unsure about what to do.

Many Thanks
Martin

Hi Martin,

Nobody is born with feelings of guilt and embarrassment around sex. These feelings are introduced to us by family, friends, school, church etc. We're also taught, though not necessarily directly, that being homosexual or bisexual isn't normal or as valid as being heterosexual, or even that it's wrong or bad to have same-sex relationships. It's no wonder that by the time someone gets to the age where they actually have sex there's all sorts of baggage being brought into the bedroom and spoiling what should be one of life's greatest experiences.

You feel aroused by and enjoy gay porn, but once the moment is over you feel guilty. Not because same-sex activity is wrong, but because you're not completely comfortable with the idea of your enjoyment of it.

On a positive note you are brave enough to admit that you enjoy this imagery, and you want to understand your sexuality rather than run from it.

It's safe to say that there's a significant part of you that is quite keen on the idea of two men together, and I think it's unlikely that you are a completely heterosexual man who just happens to like mostly gay porn. It just wouldn't add up. Based on what you've told me I would suggest that you are a bisexual man, but it's important to be honest with yourself about your feelings for women and your motivation for being with them in the past i.e. because you found a woman a turn on or because you thought you should.

Feelings of guilt around same-sex desire put up walls that prevent you from exploring those feelings or letting a man get close to you. It's important for your well-being and happiness that those walls start to come down and for you to see that a same-sex experience is as healthy as an opposite-sex one. If you can begin to see either being with a man or woman as equally valid then you can concentrate on what and who you want, and not focus on a potential partner's gender. It's a great shame to miss out on good experiences because of needless guilt and bias about same-sex relationships.

From [Boston] Age [18] Gender [M]

Hey Jason,
I'm so proud of the world that such a website where young LGBTQ community members can have problems addressed can thrive. Thank you so much for providing this resource for them.

I was out as bisexual starting around 16 and later that year came out as gay. Most of the gay teens I know of are skinny, short brown hair, etc., that's so attractive in society's (and my) eyes. But I'm not that at all. I'm quite overweight (which I'm trying to work on though not with much success lately) with red hair and freckles. Since I've acknowledged my full-fledged homosexuality and after taking into account my not-so-hot physique, I've been constantly worried that I'm going to be one of those very campy (which I already am) gay men that just hangs out with only women (which I essentially already do) and never have a happy relationship, which I crave so much right now. On top of this, my father (though otherwise very supportive) won't fully recognize my homosexuality until I actually "do the deed", which I can't bring myself to even think about looking the way I do. What are the odds that I'll end up like this? I only ask because I'm terrified to turn out this way.

Hi Boston,

Not everyone worships the skinny teen. It's amazing that in a country where two thirds of it's people are overweight that the pervading image in the media is skinny, and that people end up feeling inadequate for not adhering to this. Obviously, being overweight is a real health issue and it's a good idea to slim down for health reasons alone. This can be done by eating less processed foods; eating more fruit and vegetables and wholegrains foods; and introducing regular exercise into your weekly routine. Losing weight will dramatically decrease your chances of become diabetic, getting heart desease and some cancers. Being very big can also impact on your mobility and overall quality of life. Still, it's also completely valid to decide that you are quite happy being a bit bigger than that skinny person on the billboard. Being bigger doesn't mean you can't find a partner. I bet every one of your friends has something about their body that they would change if they could, or has some kind of hang-up that seems like a major issue to them but not a big deal to others. It seems that nobody is ever completely happy with the body they were born with and beside being able to gain and lose weight, there's not a lot we can do to change the basic building blocks. It's a good idea, in order to have a happier life, to be able to accept who you are.

Once you do you'll also notice that people find different things attractive in others. Some guys like bigger men. In the UK bigger men are celebrated in some circles, with special nightclubs and events catering to larger men and those who find them attractive. Not that you have to seek out a special appreciation society to find a boyfriend; you'll meet many people as you move through life and not all of them will be skinny-obsessed. Of course physical attraction matters, but I used to be very overweight and I had a boyfriend who loved my body, and my size didn't stop me having an enjoyable sex life with him. There's no reason that this can't happen for you.

Decide what you want to do about your weight and do think about the health benefits of slimming down a bit. But also remember that being big doesn't mean that you can't find a man who adores you. Confidence and self belief are key, no matter what size you are.

From [Jess] Age [15] Gender [F]

My name is Jess and I have been openly lesbian for just over 6 months. I have been dating my current girlfriend Jamie for almost three months, and I love her to bits.

I, for lack of words, would consider myself a 'player' or party girl and was used to the experimenting with all types of girls kind of lifestyle. Since my relationship, I am not sure how to relax into the whole being faithful and those type of things. To make matters worse, Jamie and I do try what we would classify as sex, and since she is my first, I am not sure how to explain to her that no matter how relaxed or sexually stimulated I am, it just doesn't feel good.. To make matters just THAT bit worse, I had to make her cut her nails as I had been bleeding after it. Now, even though it is extremely unlike me, I feel an aversion to having sex with her, even though I am used to wanting it 24/7.

I honestly love this girl, and we are best friends, but this is the one and only thing I have never been able to understand. I suck with emotions and have always been the girl who shows her love physically, rather than emotionally, due to depression etc.

I sometimes feel like I need a break from her though, to sort of muck around with my other friends who a vast number of them are also bi & lesbian. I know that ever saying this to her would hurt her, and our relationship, and I know that if you truly loved someone, you wouldn't want anyone else... but I am a realist, and I am severely convinced it just doesn't always work that way.

Hi Jess,

It sounds to me as though you have strong feelings for your girlfriend, but you also have one foot out the door. This doesn't make you a bad person at all. You might care for her, or even love her, but it's clear that you have other needs that are pulling you in another direction. You may find that this just isn't the right time for you to be settling into a monogamous relationship (i.e. being with one person). Some people prefer to keep their options open and to have experiences with several people, while others get into committed relationships and stay in them for long periods of time. However, what a person wants romantically and sexually isn't set in stone for life and you'll also likely experience change and different wants based on who you meet, how they make you feel and where you're at in life.

I should also point out that maybe your girlfriend just isn't the one for you. She isn't interesting you all that much sexually and your itching to explore other avenues. Perhaps, like many people, you will someday meet someone who makes you want to give up your sexual freedom in exchange for a loving and committed relationship, and it won't feel like a sacrifice because you'd be completely happy, fulfilled and in love.

It will be painful for your girlfriend to hear that it's over, but the only fair way to move forward is to end your current relationship and address the needs that are clearly very powerful and occupying your thoughts. As long as you conduct yourself in a respectful and honest way then there's nothing wrong with having a more casual approach to relationships while it suits you and the other people involved.

From [Amy] Age [17] Gender [F]

Hi Jason,
I've just finished the Leaving Cert here in Ireland, which means I'll be going to college in September.When my parents found out that Im gay, they made me promise not to tell anyone until I finished secondary school.

I told a few people because I ended up self-inflicting and I needed help. But now I'm finished my 3year 'rule of silence'...

One thing that my mum said to me has still stuck with me, and I've been worried about it for years. She told me that LGBT people dont have as long, happy relationships as straight people; the relationships dont last and it's a lonely life. Ive been thinking about this alot recently, because I hope to meet someone soon (I haven't had a relationship) and frankly, I'm scared. I want to get married to another woman and have kids, but...I'm feeling kind of inadequate. Does that make sense?
Thanks

Hi Amy,

I'd like to know where your Mum has seen evidence that same-sex relationships are less successful than heterosexual ones, that they don't last and that gay people have lonely lives. You've only got to look at the divorce rates to see that straight people haven't got all the answers. I have friends who've been together for years, and any relationships I've had that haven't worked out had nothing to do with the fact that we were two men.

Relationships are about the people in them – not the sexuality of the couple. Some people work out and some don't, but to say that same-sex couples are predisposed to failure just isn't true. Still, not only do gay people have all the usual hiccups and bumps in the road that straight couples face, but often they also have to face prejudice about their union from family and beyond. This can put a massive dose of extra pressure and stress on a relationship that can push it to the limits. Compared to a straight couple, who's union is celebrated and embraced, gay couples can face an uphill struggle the moment they start seeing each other. In a society that puts great value in heterosexual marriage and the production of children, even those gay couples who don't face outright homophobia may have this vague sense of being inadequate and not 'as good' as a straight couple. This is a real shame because love and commitment are wonderful things that go beyond gender and sexuality and should be universally celebrated.

So I have to disagree with your Mum and her ideas on gay relationships. While life partners don't fall out of trees, regardless of whether you are gay or straight, there's absolutely no reason why you can't find someone to spend your life with and be very happy. Don't let other people devalue that union simply because of the gender of the people sharing it.

From [Tim] Age [14] Gender [M]

Can you help about cutting arms?
Im sure Im gay and so worried about that. Ive been cutting my arms ever since I knew I am gay.
I just get so much hassle from my dad especially about cutting arms and my Mum as well.
I guess I know its stupid to do but it makes me feel less worried and freaked out.

I don't think it's stupid at all. People self-harm as a way of coping with difficult feelings, but it is dangerous. It's important to be able to tackle your immediate problems in a better way, as well as learn to cope with and find a non-destructive outlet for difficult emotions as you move through life.

As your parents are aware of the problem they should have already taken you to doctor who would likely have referred you to a counsellor to speak about your problems. If this isn't the case then please make an appointment with your doctor.

Please read my self-harm page for more information about self-harm and advice on moving forward.

From [Taylor] Age [15] Gender [M]

Hi Jason,
i am a 15 year old male living in wolverhampton. I go to boarding school and am surronded by boys all the time. I just think that men are far more attractive but the thought of penetrative sex with another man is repulsive to me. And i dont think tht im not attracted to girls, i just prefer boys. Im quite confused.

Thanks

Hi Taylor,

Being with a man doesn't mean that you have to have penetrative sex, nor does an aversion to it mean that you can't be close to a man. Not all gay or bisexual men enjoy that activity and it's okay to say no. People like different things and nothing is compulsory between any couple in the bedroom. You will find that when you are very attracted to someone – male or female - and have strong feelings for them that sex will feel right and natural, whatever form you both decide it should take. Don't worry about particular sexual acts and instead focus on whether you like a person enough to begin a relationship in the first place.

Please read the 'All gay men have anal sex' myth on the myths and stereotypes page.

Sex between anyone in the UK is illegal under the age of 16.

From [Danny] Age [18] Gender [M]

Hi in need of feedback asap ive known im gay for all most 4 years now but haven't told a sole not even my close friends twin brother mum dad ect. there all homophobic and my nan is a catholic gay is an illusion or the devil inside you.I dont no what to do ive tried so many times to take my own life my parents just think im a naughty child and no1 has ever took no notice or even bothered to help me i feel trapped and the thought of being gay makes me feel sick but i cant help my feelings i no people say people are more open to gay people but i must be living in another world
every day sum1 makes a comment about being gay its on tv and all ways comes up and i just have been sitting back listening to peoples responses some of them scare me no1 cares but then again no1 nos I don't no what to do i don't want to live like this but suicide for me has not been working is there any hope for me.............?

Hi Danny,

Firstly, please speak to someone about your suicidal thoughts. 'Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.'

Is there a teacher or school counsellor you could talk to? What about a relative who doesn't share the homophobic attitudes you've found in the family home? What about considering coming out to a close friend, or do you feel that every one of them would react badly? It's understandable that you've come to expect the worst from people, when you're surrounded by anti-gay sentiment, but perhaps someone in your life is worth taking a chance on. It's also worth remembering that stress and unhappiness you are feeling by hiding your sexuality may skew reality i.e. people might not react as badly as you've worked yourself up to think. A lot of people make flippant and thoughtless remarks that aren't necessarily malicious in intent. While such comments are not acceptable, the people around you may be completely unaware that their comments are hurting you. What they say may not necessarily reflect any true homophobic intent.

Remember that you are a young adult at 18 years old and have control of your life and where it might lead you. If things are unbearable at home you might think about branching out on your own. Perhaps you want to move away to study, or perhaps this is simply a good time to rent a place on your own, share a house with friends, or rent a room or bedsit. Being financially independent is important because that allows you the freedom to come out without worrying about any drastic action by your family, such as refusing to help you with money. If you feel so strongly that your family would react badly to you being gay then it seems that you need to break out of that trapped and helplessness of the home environment and make a begin to build resources of your own. With that change will come a new confidence and independence, and relieve a lot of your current pressures. Being out on your own also gives you the space to explore your sexuality and try to establish some gay friends or even find a partner. This won't happen overnight, and you clearly feel badly about being gay due to negative input from others. Please read the material on this website to get ideas about how to start to feel better about who you are. The FAQ is a good place to start. Lots of people are gay or bisexual and it's completely normal. It's only the bigotry of others that prevent some gay people from leading happy and fulfilled lives. Your negative feelings about your sexuality aren't a reflection of being gay itself, but of the influences around you. You can find peace with who you are, but it doesn't sound as though you can begin to grow in a positive and new direction by sitting at home and listening to homophobic comments every day. It's time to take some action to change things.

From [Aly] Age [18] Gender [F]

Hi Jason

I kinda stumbled across the site while google-ing a few things and I figure that it's probably worth sending an email to see if maybe someone can either give me a verbal slap or maybe make things a bit clearer for me.

I'm 18 years old. Female. And I live in Scotland. In august I started an acting and performance NQ at a college in Glasgow. When I entered the course I had just got out of a pretty shit relationship with a guy and found myself in a bit of an iffy situation to say the least. However I won't bore you with the details.

The way our course works there are thre levels of study NQ, HNC and HND and the way the course is designed is that they look at it as an all inclusive 3 year course as opposed to other colleges who take them each as seperate curricular entities.

When I started at college I quickly became good friends with one of the 3rd year (HND) students. We were great friends grimmest one and it was great for me that I seemed to have made friends with someone so quickly. (now this is where things get relevant) when I met her it was no secret that she was gay. Infact most of my friends are either gay or bi. As time went on people started to poke fun at the fact that we were almost joine at the hip and we kinda laughed back. Or at least I thought we were laughing. Infact she had been harbouring feelings for me. And we were getting closer and closer. Now this next bit may seem bizzare but bearing in mind that at the time I dint know what was going on from Her point of view. We started to poke fun back at them by beig all huggy etc around college.
As time went on it came out tha she liked me and we had kids came to the understanding that It wasn't gonna affect our relationship but that obviously I was if you like "straight"

However. As time went on we became closer and closer to the point where we were getting rather cosy with each other even outwith college. This built up untill eventually just before a college party she kissed me. And to my great surprise I didn't pull away like I would have expected my reaction to be at the time. Again things grew from there and we ended up almsot being that couple who weren't actually a couple if you know what I mean? At the time it was all very confusing to me because I didn't know what was happening in myself and there was alot of conflict in that I was terrified of what was happening and also of hurting her. Because wether friend or more than that I cared so much about her.

We've now been in a relationship for what will be 5 months cme the 18th if the month and I wish I could say it's got better or easier. Our relationship is fantastic and on that front I have never been happier with a person. But the sticker for me is that I don't buy into the whole you're either gay or straight or bi or whatever. I've always believed that the majority of the time people will fall in love with a person. And I feel that in a way Ive proven that to myself as I have no interest in any other females. Like I know in myself that if anything was to happen to me and her then I wouldn't go out specifically looking for another girlfriend. Infact I'd most likley end up with a guy. Which is why I can't quite bring myself to say to folk that "oh yeah I went to college and now I'm gay" because I dont feel that that label is true to me and likewise I don't feel right usig the easy opt out of saying that I'm bi. Yet it seems like that's all that society will accept. So I avoid the issue.

It's all made alot harder by the fact that Hers parents both don't know she's gay. When her ex girlfriend broke up with her 2 years ago she was sitting upset in the house and her parents kept pestering her asking "what's wrong" eventually she had had enough if the questioning and to shut the
up told them that her girlfriend had broke up with her. And she came out as bi then. Her parents (both strong christians) grounded her took away her phone and laptop and the only way she managed to see her friends was by sneaking out and riding her bike to meet them. Since then it has never been mentioned and as far as they're concerned she's gonna flounce through the door with news of a new boyfriend etc etc etc so obviously they don't know about us. I live with my dad and he is not religious but is about as homophobic as the pope is a catholic. So I would never dream of letting him know that there was anything going on other than friendship between me and her. On the other hand for me my mum lives in Saudi Arabia so I only see her during summer and at Christmas and at Christmas just past when I was laughing bout all the "mocking" at college bout me n this girlsclose friendship she said that it was riddiculous for folk to be saying things like that but that in all honesty if we were in a relationship then to her it wouldn't matter because as long as I'm happy that's all that matters. but here's the sticker for me

As much as my mum wouldn't care there's the obvious problem of her living in Saudi. My dad who I live with would and would probably chuck me out. And her parents (who at the moment love me because I'm such a good friend to their daughter and I'm always there for her etc but who wouldn't love me if they knew) would also chuck her out if they knew. So on the secret goes. And I know that if I was to even just explain to my mum and tel her I know that maybe not immediatley but eventually somehow it would all get back to my dad and to her parents and therefore we would be stuffed.

It just seems like an endless cycle and when I'm with her and in her company none of it seems to matter and it's like nothig can get in the way. But then there's times where I sit and wonder "what if?" and ibhate it because I wouldn't want things to change and I know I couldn't hack it if we got ruined by all this but sometimes it just looks so helpless. And I guess that it's made even more difficult by the fact that I almost hate admitting it sometimes because I hate then having to justify me not then actually saying that I'm either gay or bi or whatever. And I just dint quite know what I'm supposed to do. I don't want to ruin what we have which is amazing. But at the same time the way things stand I'm facing losing my house the majority of my family and so is she and I cat hack that at all. I have always bwwn one for supporting the HRC and have always hated the way the LGBT community gets treated like dirt by society and I've read up on the it gets better project and I just don't get how it can if I don't identify with being gay or straight or bi or if I can't even be open about the fact that I happen to have found myself in a relationship with someone who is everything I have ever wanted and more but who just happens to be a female.

I apologise for this long rambling rant of an email and I don't really know what I'm looking for in response but I just don't know what to do and I just need to know that I'm not being stupid in thinking that I might need some serious help or summat to find a way around all this without ruining what is the best thing thats happened to me in a long time

Again apologies

Thanks for your time

Aly

Hi Aly,

Labels are comforting for most people because they put a big definitive sticker on things that helps us to make sense of the world around us. People feel safe with the idea of straight or gay because it leaves no grey area or source of confusion. In reality, though, many people don't feel that they fit snugly inside these tags. I describe myself as a gay man, but have always said that sexuality is not black and white. While I have never found a woman sexually attractive, I don't rule out the possibility of it ever happening. I think it's unlikely to! But I doubt that anyone is truly 100% gay or straight. When it comes to bisexuality many report that they lean more toward one sex or the other so there's no neat and tidy percentage there either.

You don't have to justify yourself to anyone. You only have to say that you are in love with this woman. Straight people don't have to justify their sexuality when they bring a new partner home to meet the folks. If someone is cheeky or invasive enough to delve further than the fact that you have a female partner, you might tell them that you simply fell for this woman and are very happy, and that there isn't a convenient label for you. I can imagine that you get tired of explaining to people that you can be happy with a woman without identifying as a full-blown 100% lesbian. Maybe it's time to just tell people that their probing is rude and that you wouldn't undermine or question their romances.

As for family, I expect you know that this situation isn't unique. I often hear from people who are quite happy being in a same-sex relationship but have a potentially explosive reaction waiting at home if the news gets out. So don't tell them! Your Dad and your partner's parents have made it very clear that they don't accept same-sex relationships and that their love is conditional on you both being straight. It's utterly unacceptable and tragic, and the atmosphere of secrecy and lies that this attitude encourages means they're losing out on better relationships with their children. But you're 18 and are clearly able to conduct your relationship despite this backdrop, so carry on and be happy. The parents have given you no choice but to conceal the true nature of the relationship in order to have a pleasant existence, and you're not doing anything wrong. You say yourself that you're happier than you've been in a while, so carry on being happy! Think about the future and how you might make it easier to be together without the stresses of home. Perhaps someday you'll get a place together. Even if just one of you has a place outside of the family home then the other can visit and you can both enjoy the privacy and freedom that brings. Of course one day you might both want to come clean, but it sounds sensible that you are both financially independent and settled in your own home(s) before you do. It's a no-brainer that telling your Mum at any time is a safe thing to do, as long as she isn't likely to call up your Dad or other relatives and share the news.

Take each day as it comes. Don't justify yourself to anyone. Enjoy this special thing that you've found and work to protect it. Look to the future.

From [Random] Age [14] Gender [M]

Hey,
Is it absolutely essential to 'come out' to family? I used to think it was but now I always have ideas of running away to New York (when I'm way older obviously) just to avoid 'coming out'. Is that strange? I feel like I would have to. Whenever a gay person comes on the TV the channel gets changed or something.
Basically I'm wondering, is it better that I come out? And if it is I wouldn't even know how to. << that seems so silly but ah well.

Hi Random,

Coming out to family is a very personal choice. Only you can decide if it's an essential thing to do, but how essential is it that you don't have to lie about that man you're living with, or explain why you haven't met that special girl yet at every family get-together, or keep certain gay friends away from Dad because they might give the game away etc. etc. You might not get the reaction that you want from everyone if you come out, but it means freedom from lies and cover-ups that can make life for yourself and a future partner intolerable. Still, if you move far enough away this might not be much of a problem – unless they want to visit – but it does seem very sad to create such distance when there's even a chance that your family might actually be okay about things or come around. We all want the love and support of family and it works both ways. Switching the channel when gay people come on the TV doesn't mean your family are ready to form an anti-gay protest march, so give this some thought. Read my coming out section for more.

From [Matías] Age [19] Gender [M]

Hi Jason,
I really donâ t know where to start; Iâ m consumed by confusion. May be I can start when I came out to my parents, which I may say they did take it better than I thought, thou they implied that they thought I wasnâ t gay, but it was rather a faze in my life.
The thing is, towards the time I decided to tell my parents, I started to doubt if what I knew I was, it was really certain. I had never seen women in the way I see men, but then I started to watch some straight porn, to see if I could resolve my question, to my surprise I felt exited, but I canâ t tell if it was because of the straight sex, or just the man that was performing it.

I really donâ t know what I think, feel, nor anything,
So I would appreciate your advice,

Matías

P.S: Iâ m sorry if my English is not very good, itâ s just I havenâ t been able to use it frequently.

Hi Matías,

As human beings we respond to sexual imagery. I remember seeing a documentary once where gay pornography was shown to straight men and many of these men showed signs of arousal. It works the other way too, with some gay people enjoying heterosexual porn, whether that's because enjoy watching the man in this different context, or perhaps they also enjoy seeing the woman. Arousel when watching porn isn't necessarily a statement of sexuality, but just the body responding to sex. You might even find that lesbian porn is a turn on! Simply, the act of two people being convincingly turned on by each other and having a good time in bed is sexy, and people without hang-ups might enjoy various kinds of sexual imagery.

A truer indication of your sexuality is better found away from the DVD player. Who do you look at when you are in town? Do you find sexy men appealing, or do you look with desire at women? Maybe both? I know that I am gay because I find men sexy, and I notice good looking men when I'm outside the home. On a hot day when guys have their tops off on the beach, there is absolutely no doubt! I just don't notice women in a sexual way at all, though I do notice beautiful women because it's a pleasant experience to look at someone beautiful. I know matters aren't as clean-cut for everyone, so just see how you feel about people as you go about your daily life. You'll notice who you are attracted to if you just allow these feelings to form without stress or trying to force them. Give yourself time.

From [Allie] Age [24] Gender [F]

I'm 24 years old and I'm a newly out bisexual woman. I'm sort of out at school, in fact I'm starting a LGBT program at my college because there is none. My family hates bis i mean they think they are all gross swinger slutty people who are disgusting. They have no problem with people who are gay, in fact if i were to come out as lesbian they would be happy for me; thing is, I'm not lesbian, I'm bi, i know 110% for sure that I am not confused(even though people told me I was for how I felt) I find men and women both physically and emotionally attractive. I am not a bi stereotype, I'm monogamous, I like being a twosome, I'm christian, and I'm a total nerd(love horror movies and sci-fi especially torchwood and doctor who!) I'm afraid to come out to my family as bisexual. They are paying for my college due to the fact that I don't have a job and I can't do it myself. Though I am grateful that they are doing this, there comments on things, such as warning me to not become bis
exual(I told my mom I was Asexual because she asked why I'm not dating anybody) because they are gross and sad individuals. The reason why I don't date is because: 1)want to focus on me and more on who I am 2)I feel that people will think, oh so your this or that if I did end up with either a man or woman, even though I know in my heart that i will always have attractions to both men and women. I really need help, I'm scared for who I am and I want to go back into the closet. I even know a few gay people who say that bisexuality is not real and we are all just a bunch of phony's which really hurts my heart. I feel that I have nobody to look up to in the media, especially since the media paints us as disgusting whores who are just experimenting. I feel so very alone right now, my group hasn't gotten off the ground yet and it will probably be another two weeks before it does. I feel that it will help, but it wont help with my family and what they say about bis. Totally lost
what should I do?

Hi Allie,

I think it's very sad that even gay people aren't accepting of the idea of bisexuality. You'd think there was enough prejudice from straight people without dividing ourselves further. Bisexuality is real. As I said in another letter this week, people do like to stick labels on things and can't quite being themselves to think outside of those. As human beings we seem addicted to labelling and separating people into groups so that we can either dismiss or include them - whichever option benefits us or alights with an agenda.

Still, not everyone has such a narrow view and you could always try to explain how you feel to your gay friends. They may not have met a bisexual person before, and the situation is very similar to explaining homosexuality to a straight person who's not previous met someone gay. Without any real experience, stereotypes fill the gap. These need to be knocked away and replaced by facts.

Your group sounds like a great idea. Not only will it help build your own confidence, but it'll help others too. You may meet other people through this group who can understand what you're going through.

Although you are clearly hurting at the moment, what comes through in your email is that you know who you are and are quite comfortable with it, despite the attitudes of those around you. You have told me what and who you are and why you choose not to date at the moment. It doesn't sound to me as though there's much confusion here – just the unfortunate attitudes of those around you.

You don't necessarily need to come out as bi to your family at the moment, if it's likely to cause you stress. Why not just leave it until you start dating someone? The issues around coming out are the same as for a gay person. People can't fail to see as time goes by that you aren't a walking stereotype and that you make your own rules; that bisexual people are as capable of loving and committed relationships as straight and gay people. You're going to have to be strong and by simply living your life you can educate people. My bisexuality page might help further.

The Samaritans (UK and ROI) provide emotional support, 24 hours a day, by email and telephone for people in distress.

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