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

Problem page > Archive > October 2010

From [Ethan] Age [17] Gender [M]

I don't really know, but I think I'm bisexual. I have a girlfriend who I really care about, but I also look at guys and envision sex with them. While I feel that I am strongly emotionally attracted to women, and only moderately sexually attracted to them, it's the reverse for men. I don't feel that I can come out to anyone, all my friends are really religious, as is my mom. My dad, while atheist, doesn't support it. I don't really know what to do. :/

Hi Ethan,

I don't think you necessarily need to do anything at the moment. It's not always the case that I advise people to leap out of the closet; to announce to the world that they are gay or bisexual. In your case, you are in a heterosexual relationship with a girl who you care about. So there's nothing really to announce. If you were seeing a guy, it would make sense to come out. Otherwise you might be sneaking around, lying to friends and family, as well as pitting your partner and the relationship under strain. But that's not the case here. Unless you feel it's vital that people know that you find men attractive, then you may opt not to tell anyone, and that would be an acceptable course of action. Being bisexual doesn't mean that you don't love your girlfriend or that you're less committed to the relationship. The fact that you find men attractive isn't a crime that threatens to undermine what you have with your girlfriend. I'm sure she occasionally spots a guy in the street who she finds attractive. It doesn't mean she cares for you less.

But if your feelings toward men are strong and you want to explore them, then of course it would be time to come clean. It's not fair to stay in a relationship with anyone where your heart isn't really in it and the physical side is doing nothing for you. I'm sure that there are guys out there who could give you both the emotional and physical connection that you want. You may just not have met him yet.

So think hard about what you want. If you are happy, in love and sexually fulfilled with your girlfriend, the just get on an enjoy it. There isn't a problem to tackle here. But if you long for something else, then it's time for some tough, but ultimately rewarding, changes, and very likely a degree or coming out.

From [Liam] Age [15] Gender [M]

Hi Jason,

I have recently come out to my parents that i'm gay and they where fine with it and now i want to tell my mates but because of what i do (i.e. i'm into computer engineering) i think that as it spreads across the school in a matter of hours i will get bullied even more because of it.

I don't know what to do, i want to be me, but if i am me i will get bullied, i don't know what to do?

Cheers Liam

Hi Liam,

It's completely unacceptable to put up with bullying. The fear of bullying and the desire for acceptance is often the reason people hide their true selves. But is it better to be accepted because of an act you put on to impress others, or to be yourself and face negativity from bullies who won't remember your name after leaving school?

You deserve a peaceful life, free from harassment and threat, just like anyone else. Don't let bullies slow the momentum of positivity and confidence that coming out to your parents has started. You've already faced what many people consider to be the hardest part of coming out.

Please read my dedicated bullying section for practical advice for moving forward.

From [Jack] Age [15] Gender [M]

Hello,

My names Jack and im nearly 15.
Im writing because i think im gay. I have been thinking this for a while now, I feel really attracted to men but when i think of women I dont feel anything.
I havent told anyone about this because i feel ashamed and wierd. I wish i didnt feel these things because i have always wanted a family. It drives me crazy when i think about it, i just wish there was some sort of switch that i could press to make me straight.
Thank you.

Hi Jack,

Your feelings are giving you very clear information about who you are and what you want. It's good that you're acknowledging that by writing to me. In all areas of life, pretending that we don't feel a certain way when we do doesn't lead to happiness or resolved problems. I think you really want to feel better about who you are, rather then deny the truth of it. A lot of people struggle even to acknowledge their own feelings. You should be proud of yourself.

There is no 'straight switch', and it's important to work at feeling better about being gay, rather than wishing you could change. Most gay people go through a period of time where they feel conflicted about their sexuality. Most of us are raised to associate happiness and a 'normal life' with being heterosexual, getting married and producing children. We can feel pressure from family and other sources to conform to this ideal. But in reality, heterosexual marriage and having kids is not a magic cure for all the world's ills, and it's not a guarantee of happiness – just look at the divorce rates in the UK and US. Besides, family comes in many forms and there's no reason you can't still be a parent or a valuable part of a child's life.

As a gay person, there's really very little you can't have or achieve. Once you start to see homosexuality as a natural part of who you are, and not a disability or curse, then you'll begin to feel much happier and more positive about life in general.

I think you'll find the frequently asked questions section helpful.

From [Nessie] Age [19] Gender [F]

Hi, I'm 19 and have recently discovered I'm bisexual. I haven't told any of my friends and I'm scared what they and my family may think. I have had feelings for a girl before but thought nothing of it. I don't fancy girls anywhere near as much as I do lads - is that normal?

I'm scared that if I tell my friends they won't want to know me and will push me away.

I have a few friends (girls) and when I go to there's or they come to mine we often sleep in the same room or even bed and I'm scared that if I tell them I'm bisexual they won't want to come around anymore over night. I don't have feelings for any of these girls.

I have looked at a few youth groups for gay/lesbian and bisexual people but they are all aged up to 19 years old and I'm nearly 20 are there any other groups or chatrooms you could recommend?

Hi Nessie,

Bisexual people often report that their attraction to one gender is stronger than toward the other, so you're perfectly normal. This feeling may change, or seem to change, over time as you meet new people and see what life brings. Read the dedicated bisexuality page for much more on this topic.

Your worries about rejection are common for gay and bisexual people. It's true that coming out does come with some risk. It's up to each individual to decide if telling the truth about their sexuality and living a more open and liberated life is worth potentially losing the friendship and support of others. I personally think it is. Hiding parts of who you are in order to secure conditional friendships is not a great way to live. Being repressed and unhappy, in order to please others, is a waste of the time we have on this planet. Some can't bear the idea of losing friends or having peoples' view of them changing, and they think it's worth the cost of hiding their sexuality for life, and even getting married and having children to cover up the truth. I think this is madness, but I can understand how the fear of rejection is a powerful persuader to stay in the closet.

But coming out can be an amazing turning point, and often is for many gay and bisexual people. For me, it brought me closet to my real friends and cut off the dead wood in my friendship circle. Now, as a grown, openly gay man, I naturally attract good, open minded and caring people as friends; bigots don't want to be friends with me - good! If your friends are open minded, decent folk then your news won't be a problem. You aren't attracted to any of them, so your sleep-overs and other activities should be a non-issue. You know these girls, so what makes you think they'd react badly to your bisexuality? Are your fears based on anything real that's happened in the past, or are you simply imagining the worst? Read my dedicated coming out section for much more on this topic.

As for groups, chat rooms etc., you can find a few in my links section. You'll also find links to bigger lists. I know that when I went to an LGBT youth group it was for under 25s. I'm sure there are still groups with slightly higher age limits like that. If not, you might want to look for something aimed at adults. It's also worth trying a helpline/switchboard and asking about groups and venues in your area. There's a list here. Your college or university (if you are attending or thinking of attending one) may have an LGBT society that have meets and opportunities to meet other gay and bisexual people. For more on making new friends and/or finding a partner, read the dedicated section here.

From [Sean] Age [15] Gender [M]

dear jason,
i am 15 years old and i am gay. and i have issues dealing with it. the other week when i was in confirmation class, they showed a video about what it means to be a catholic. in this video at some part this priest was talking about how his generation of catholics didn't face "problems" that now a day catholics face and it cut to a picture of two grooms on a wedding cake. seeing that literally made my heart drop. i was sick to my stomache. i know being gay and cathoic hasnt always been the easiest thing to be but seeing that video just tore me apart. after the video i asked why is it a big deal to be gay and the teacher responded with "its not a sin to choose to be gay but gay relastionships and marriages are becuase being gay IS a choice." i could not belive what i just heard him say. i just responded with "Ohh i see" ( i am not out of the closet at all except i told 3 friends.) i am so sick and tired of people thinking its a choice to be gay. I feel so bad about being ga
y all the time and seeing that just made me feel worse. i could talk to my parents but i am not ready to come out. but i know they will be fine with it when i eventually do. i mean would telling more people make me feel better about myself? also how do i get over that video in confirmation class? i mean i read your religon section and it did help me realize there is nothing wrong with me. but i just don't know how i can go back to that class.

Hi Sean,

I think it'd terrible that people who are paid to inform and support the development of young people are saying stuff like this. I'm sure you aren't the only one in class who's giving that video some thought. Whether it's a fellow pupil who is questioning their sexuality, or perhaps someone who has a gay friend or family member. The truth is, gay people aren't a new 'problem' for the Catholic Church: it's just that with gay rights movements and greater acceptance of homosexuality, gay people are more visible these days and they want to be heard. As long as there have been people, there have been gay people, just as homosexuality occurs in other species, and I imagine always has done. The good old days your teacher's video might compare the present day to, when priest didn't have this 'problem', is simply a time when gay people were more afraid to come out and ask for equality, such as the right to marry and have their relationship be validated and recognised by the Church i.e. a time when gay people were more oppressed and the Church was less frequently challenged.

You already know that being gay isn't a choice. You didn't get to pick your sexuality out of a hat, and nor did I. It's always a straight person who suggests the myth of choice, never gay or bisexual people. What a shame that a teacher believes this nonsense. Would it make sense in a world that can be so hostile toward gay and bisexual people, for anyone to choose to be anything but heterosexual?

It's okay to question what you are told, in any area of life. We don't have to just accept everything we're told in school, work, on TV, by the church, by the government etc. If something doesn't feel right, then don't buy into it. It's by questioning things that don't seem fair that things begin to change. I'm not suggesting that at 15 years old you challenge your teacher, but you can choose to quietly disagree on this issue because you have a better understanding of what it means to be gay than your teacher, with his own agendas and hang-ups, does. As you get older, gain confidence and leave school, it'll become easier to speak out if you feel that something isn't right... though I have to say that arguing with the Catholic Church would be a very frustrating hobby!

It's great that you've come out to three people. This shows that actually you are doing well at accepting who you are, despite mixed messages in school that have brought you down a little. It may make you feel better to tell additional friends, but I certainly think it would help to talk about how you feel to your existing confidants. It also sounds as if your family would be fine with your news. Don't forget the amazing pool of support that can be found at home. Perhaps your parents have a better and more modern outlook on sexuality than your teacher does. At the very least it would be good for you to have your mum and dad to talk to about concerns like this.

You are right to question that daft video and your teacher's uninformed words. The next time you're in class, draw strength from the fact that you know, better than most people in the room, the truth on the issues of homosexuality. Remember that there will be a lot of other information given in class that does feels good and right to you, so don't be put off.

From [Jesson-Skylar] Age [16]
Gender [M]

So im dealing with names and getting pushed around by other guys... Gym class is extremely awkward... And my friends cannot do anything for me... I have made attempts to be straight but i cannot overcome my feelings for other men... What can i possible do?

Hi Jesson,

Your sexuality isn't the problem when being pushed around by other people in your class: bullying is the problem. What does the gym teacher have to say about it, or does he/she fail to notice or take it seriously? If there's little support there, then I urge you to speak to another teacher; a teacher you get along with, respect or trust. No matter who or what you are, you have a right to attend school free of harassment. There is never a 'reason' to bully someone; there is only ever a thin excuse to single someone out and make them feel uncomfortable. Please see my dedicated bullying section.

You can't make yourself straight, Jesson. Nobody can. Nor can straight people will themselves into being gay. Again, your sexuality isn't what makes life harder: it's how other people choose to behave toward you that makes life better or worse. Speak to someone about the bullying, and then think about how you can feel better about who you are. There's lots of content on the website to give you some ideas for moving forward in a more positive way. The Being gay FAQ is a great place to start.

From [Rob] Age [15] Gender [M]

i am 15 years old and gay obviously. i love being gay. but my friend who i have known since i was 1 is so homophobic. He goes on rants on how gay people (mainly gay boys, he doesn't mind lesbians) are gross and should all die. It's not like i can just forget about him. my mom is really close friends with his mom. So when i do come out my mom will probably tell his mom. But it's not just gay people he is just a bigot in general. He makes rude jokes about Jewish people, says the "n" word like no other. i mean his parents aren't the most pro- gay people but they aren't against it either. and they don't care about someone's race or religion. i try so hard to convince him to being more open minded about gays but it never works. in his words he thinks all gay boys are "annoying, girly and deserve to die." and i have to play straight around him and it is getting harder and harder each time. and by play straight i don't mean act all macho i mean i just pretend to like girls. i do have a feminine side to me but its more sensitive than actually girly. like when i am around my gay friends and pro-gay friends i let my feminine side out a little more, but its not like i feel like i am in the wrong body and should be a girl. i mean to be honest my friend is making it harder for me to come out. if he wasn't in the picture i might be a little more out by now. i just don't know what to do with him.

Hi Rob,

My first feeling, when I read your email, was that this bigotted friend must have some bigotted influences at home, but then I saw that his folks don't behave the same way. It's really strange that such a young person, who probably hasn't met many – or even any – gay, Jewish, Black people has such an overtly negative view of them. But his personality defects aren't your problem.

If you really want this person in your life (I'm not completely sure why you would), then things have to change – I think you realise this. Pretending to be heterosexual might work for a while, but eventually he's going to figure out that you are gay. Either you'll get a boyfriend, or someone will tell him etc. This secret will become harder to hide as time goes by, and pretending to be straight will begin to have a negative impact on your life i.e. what boyfriend is going to put up with that?

You don't necessarily need to make a poiint of coming out to the guy. But you can, and should:

  • Stop pretending to be straight. It's not fair on you, it's misleading him, and there's also the possibility that you might hurt a girl's feelings along the way.
  • Tell him when you think he's behaviour is unacceptable. If he uses the n-word, tell him that it's far from okay.
  • Get him talking about why he has such bigoted views. Try to make him justify his behaviour with real, solid reasons. He'll struggle. Have any black, Jewish or gay people wronged him in any way? He'll more than likely say no, and then be a bit lost for words. There's a hope that he'll realise how irrational and plain stupid he's being.
  • Ask him why he's got an issue with same-sex relationships between men, but he's fine with lesbian relationships. It's a terrible double-standard and highlights the irrational hatred he's spouting. I may say something daft, and sadly common, like lesbians are okay because two women together turns guys on, but gay men aren't because imagining two guys together makes them feel queasy.

Ultimately, if he's not prepared to change his way, you need to decide if his friendship is so valuable and indispensable that it's worth putting your self respect aside when you are together.

From [Ashley] Age [13] Gender [F]

hey i have a feeling that i might be bisexual. there's a girl at my school at first i thought that she was really great to be friends with then i got really bad feeling for her in a sexual way and when i see her i feel really happy but then at the same time i get really nervous. i like spending time with her alot i told my best friend that i liked her and she's fine with it but i still have feelings for a boy. i wouldn't be ashamed if i was bisexual but because i have only told one friend i am really worried if it goes my school that im bisexual so sometimes when im sad and really upset i slit my wrists i dont have a mental problem i just do it because i feel sad

Hi Ashley,

Firstly, please see the section on self-harm. It's a dangerous thing to do and there are other, safe ways of coping with negative feelings. It's important that you address this.

Technically you are bisexual because you say that you like both boys and girls. It's good that you have a positive attitude about it: you don't mind if bisexual is how you stay. It's also good that you have a friend who knows about how you feel, so you have someone to talk to. If you have asked her not to tell anyone, and you trust her, then there's no reason to become distressed with worry about people finding out. You are in control of the information about your sexuality, so try to be calm and rational about this.

Your sexuality is still in its early stages of asserting itself. It will become clearer as time goes by. Since you are comfortable with the idea of being straight or bisexual, there's nothing more to do. Give yourself plenty of time, listen to the information that your body and mind are giving you about who you find attractive, and just get on with your life. Worrying about it won't make it any clearer, any quicker. Read the faq and bisexuality pages for more.

From [Sean] Age [17] Gender [M]

hi Jason, i am slightly confused about my sexuality

when i was younger i did have feelings for girls, i was even caught by my mum while i was looking at a "Nuts" magazine! but during secondary school i started to have feelings for boys, i had crushes on lots of the boys at school but there was this one boy that i really liked, he kept flirting with me, this went on all the way through school but when i finaly told him my feelings he said he was straight and that he was mucking about.

as i gone through school my feelings for boys got stronger and my feelings for girls less, but now i am at college and i think i am gay, i don't have any feelings for girls anymore.

so i have two questions: 1. is the boy i know from school gay

and 2. am i gay?

i know you should not label yourself but i would like to know

thank you Jason

From Sean

Hi Sean,

I would say that you are gay. You described the time when you were younger where you weren't sure, and there was some interest in girls, but it sounds as though your sexual orientation has settled on guys, especially as you say you have no feelings for girls at all now. If you were 12, I'd say to wait, but you're 17 and your email is clear about how you feel. It's normal to want to label yourself; it's a way of stating who you are to yourself and other people, and also saying that you're okay with it.

As for the guy in school, I really can't say. But when I was in school I had several male friends who were flirty and tactile. I was always very sure one of them was gay and suspect he's an out gay man these days. Others, I wasn't so sure about. Those early teens are about experimentation and sexual uncertainty – for some more than others. While some people know that they are gay from a very early age, others are more uncertain and figure things out through flirting and touching etc. Your friend might be gay but not ready to say so, or he might have just been curious and unsure. He may have sensed that you were receptive to his flirting and more intimate behaviour, and explored his sexuality a little with you. Let's not forget though that flirting is something most people do, to both genders, and it's not always about sexual interest.

Since your friend has said that he is straight and was mucking about, you have to respect that and just concentrate on being his friend. That might be hard if you have romantic feelings for him, but pressuring your friend will alienate him and really get you down. If he is hiding something, he needs time to find the courage to embrace that.

From [Alysha] Age [13] Gender [F]

Dear Jason,
Hey.. I relized I was gay back a few years ago. i haven't told very many people. i tried to tell my best friend but she thought i was just copying her. I told her this summer. I'm afraid she might go around telling a whole bunch of people at school once it starts up again. I'm made fun of alot already because of my weight. What should I do? Should i tell my parents?

Hi Alysha,

It's a shame that the first person you came out to didn't take you seriously, and chose to see your coming out as something that was about her. If you are worried about your friend telling other people, then it's important that you tell her that you do not want this personal information shared with anyone else.

It's also important, for the sake of your friendship, that she takes your feelings more seriously. You told her something very personal and important to you, and her response was less than supportive. It sounds like it's time to have a good, long talk with her about how you feel. If she is your best friend then she'll be keen to do better.

The decision to come out to your parents would seem to be a separate issue, and not necessarily something you need to do if you don't feel ready. There is no rush, Alysha; at 13, you have plenty of time. Read the coming out pages to help you decide.

I was also picked on in school for being overweight, so I know it can be tough. No matter what reason people give for doing it, it's not acceptable for anyone to be bullied. Please read the bullying pages. If you are worried about your weight, it's a good idea to look at what you eat and whether you do enough physical activity. Cutting down a little bit on treats like chocolate and fizzy drinks, and doing some cycling or walking regularly, can make a big difference to how you feel and look. Remember that food is good for you, and it's important not to become preoccupied with diets and body image.

From [Jack] Age [15] Gender [M]

hi
i know i am gay i have known since i was 4 and i no problem with it or my family i just seem to think i fancy anyone who i or any one else thinks is gay and i don't know it actually fancy them or i just want someone. plus there's this boy at school called Kane and i think he is gay. he is very flirty to every one and i don't even want to do things with him but i cant stop thinking about him and being with him makes me happy but we don't hangout although we used to. i feel desperate for your view on the situation so please help me.

Hi Jack,

When someone is very keen to be in a relationship they can run the risk of being a little too open to possibilities! In the past, I've certainly got into relationships with guys who were completely unsuitable for me, because I was so determined to be with someone. The relationships didn't work out because we simply weren't suited. You tend to meet the right person when you're not desperately seeking a partner; it's only then that you can clearly see the real gems who you properly connect with. You are wondering whether you really do fancy every gay man that crosses your path, or if you're just a bit lonely. I suspect that it's the latter. It's worth waiting for the right person to come along because you'll be truly happy, rather than making do with whoever was available. And being single isn't a curse! It can be good to spend time by yourself: it allows you to figure out what you want and be able to recognise it when it comes along.

So you like Kane. You know that he's gay, so what's stopping you from spending more time with him and seeing if he likes you too? You say that you used to hang-out; why has that stopped? Invite him to do something with you and see what happens. The information in the relationships section might help further.

From [Drake] Age [16] Gender [M]

hey,
i don't know if i really belong on this site because i am straight but i still have a problem. the other day during religious class (i am catholic) the topic of same sex marriage came up. and of course we were told "being gay isn't a sin and you should accept everyone for who they are but gay marriage is a sin" well i think that's false. I think everyone has the right to be married and find love, and i support gay rights 100 percent. but now people think i am gay because i stood up for what i believed in during class. so now rumours are going around that i am gay. not just in my religious class in my high school and city. people say "no straight guy would ever support two guys having sex", or some will say "the only people who accept gays are girls and the gay community" or "i don't have a problem with gays but gay marriage is wrong." obviously these are false because i know plenty of straight guys who accept gays. i mean i dont take back what i said and i am proud for standing up for what i believe in but how do i have these kids stop. i mean they can assume i am gay all they want i don't care. i find it to be more of a compliment that someone things i am special and unique. but now its getting in the way with me getting dates and stuff. one girl i went on a date was new i supported gay rights and so did she so she didn't care. but than she heard someone say i was gay and says we can only be friends for obvious reasons. so how do i stop these rumors?

Hi Drake,

I think it's great that in your religious class you are told that being gay isn't a sin and that you should accept everyone for who they are. It seems odd, with that view as a basis, that gay marriage is seen as sinful. Still, it's a big step in the right direction.

But the real issue here is the way you've been treated after defending – rightly so – the rights of gay people. It's a shame in a school that teaches that being gay is not a sin, that the actual behaviour of its pupils, and even people outside school, is of suspicion about your motives, and general homophobia.

You are right, plenty of level-headed, open-minded people support equal rights, regardless of whether they themselves are gay or straight. Your mature approach and attitude of acceptance is great, and you're certainly not the one at fault here. I bet there are gay pupils, out and otherwise, who were delighted when you stood up for gay rights. Your actions may have had positive effects you aren't aware of.

Here's some practical tips for handling the way people are behaving:

  • If a girlfriend breaks up with you because she has heard rumours that you are gay, then I'd suggest the relationship wasn't going to be a major success anyway, and she's got some growing up to do. A relationship that's going well shouldn't be shaken by silly comments that other people make. If you really like this girl, then have a serious discussion with her and explain that you are heterosexual and have no sexual interest in men. If that's not good enough, then you're better off without this one. I imagine there are many girls in your town who would like such a mature and liberal partner; qualities that can be hard to find in young guys.
  • If the rumours being perpetuated by fellow students in school is getting you down and interfering with your life, you have to report it. 'Bullying' might sound like a strong word, especially when you seem to be handling things so well, but it is appropriate here. Please read the bullying pages.
  • Rise above it. The assumptions of people who aren't close to you really don't matter. Any real friends know who and what you are, and love you for it. As time goes by and you have relationships with women, the rumours and comments will diminish. Most people eventually realise that there are better things they should be doing with their lives. If some die-hard dullards want to spread rumours, when you're married and expecting your third child, then they really aren't worth a second of your time.

The world needs more people like you, Drake. Don't change!

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

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