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Am I Bisexual, or Lesbian ?

Question:

I have always dated guys , but I’ve been attracted to other girls since about 6th grade. I never told anyone because when I was younger I was told being gay was wrong; I was born into a very strict Christian family.  I met my now best friend of 3 years in 7th grade. I’m in love with her… And you can say, oh, you’re too young to know what love is, etc. But I know how I feel. She feels the same way, but she has a boyfriend… She’s bisexual . I don’t know what I consider myself yet. But I have accepted the fact that I am attracted to both guys and girls . If I have feelings for a guy, I will date a guy. If I have feelings for a girl, I will date a girl . So I guess I’m bisexual? I don’t like labeling myself. Or my sexuality. So I’ll just call it Love. I will love who I want. Now I just need help coming out … A few of my close friends, and obviously my best friend, the girl I like. How do I tell my parents though?

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Dear Leah,

First of all, I have to say that the way you wrote about your feelings is incredibly admirable. It’s very cool that you don’t feel like you need to label yourself and have accepted that you like both boys and girls. That’s a really difficult thing for some people to do, so the fact that you’ve made that step is a mark of your maturity. Second of all, I totally believe that you’re in love with your friend. I’m glad you can realize that your feelings are legitimate and real. It sounds like you’re able to be honest with your friend, too, and that’s a very good thing.

I understand why you feel you need help coming out to your parents. It can be a scary process, but the fact that it sounds like you have a good support system in your friends and that you’re so accepting of yourself will hopefully help. One thing you might want to tell them is that you are coming out to them because you love them and because you want them to know who you are, and that you’re the same person you have always been. You’ll be sharing something very personal and you’ll be doing so because you want to be closer with them. You may find it helpful to write out and rehearse what you are going to say. The Human Rights Campaign resource guide to coming out has great info and advice: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/resource-guide-to-coming-out. I know it’s scary, so remember also that you do not need to rush telling them. It’s totally okay to wait until you’re ready and feel it’s the right time.

There’s a great organization called PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) that you could look into with your parents: http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2. They have a Philadelphia chapter which offers some events in the area as well: http://www.pflagphila.org/. Sometimes it takes parents a bit of time to feel comfortable going to PFLAG events/meetings, but if you let them know that it is important to you, that might help them to conjure up the courage.

If one of your main concerns is your parents’ religion, maybe you can be prepared with some information about some LGBTQ-affirming religious organizations and churches. There are lots of online resources that address being gay and Christian, and how they don’t have to be in opposition to each other. Here is one: http://www.gaychristian.net/aboutgcn.php. That site offers information as well as message boards that you can explore.

It also looks like there are quite a few gay-affirming churches in Philadelphia. If you go to this link and scroll down to Philadelphia you’ll see them. (http://www.gaychurch.org/Find_a_Church/united_states/us_pennsylvania.htm). I don’t know your denomination or if you’re interested, but perhaps you can check one of these places out – on your own, with a friend, and maybe even someday with your parents.

In addition to the sites linked above, it might also be helpful for you to explore TrevorSpace (http://www.trevorspace.org/), which is the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people and their friends/allies ages 13 to 24. TrevorSpace offers a supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having. You can also check out Trevor Chat (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat)  if you want to chat with someone online in real time.

We at Ask Trevor are also always here for you if you want to write to us again. There are so many people going through the same things you are, so remember you are not alone, you are fabulous, and you should be proud of yourself.

Take care,Trevor Staff