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Am I?

Question:

Alright a little background on me is that my mother is very anti-gay I mean she doesn’t mind me being friends with anyone who is gay, but even a joke from me saying I might be makes her want to cry. She’s yelled at me for joking like that and has said that if I even try she’ll kick me out. So that makes this all the worse. Now I’m kind of questioning my sexuality and it’s not because I don’t think my friends will accept me or anything, on the other hand I know most of my friends will fully accept me. However I haven’t come to terms with what would happen if I am a lesbian or bisexual. I mean everyone I’ve dated has been a guy and I’ve had small crushes on girls but I don’t know what that could mean. Currently I have a crush on two guys and a girl, my friend who is openly bisexual and I’ve never told her that I’m questioning but what do I do? Because I know that if I come to my mother with this there will be no turning back. But I also know that I’m getting nowhere just sitting here not saying anything.

 

Answer:

 

Hi!

Thanks so much for writing to us! It sounds like you are struggling to understand your sexuality and are concerned about the impact that your sexual orientation might have on your relationship with your mother. It is not uncommon for people your age to feel confused about their sexual orientation. It is normal to experience a lot of different feelings, sometimes contradicting or confusing feelings, during this time of your life while you are of discovering your sexual identify. It is ok to acknowledge your feelings about both guys and girls and take as much time as you need exploring your emotional, romantic, and physical feelings about people of both genders as you figure out who you are and your sexual orientation.

And there are resources out there that can help! On http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=730&Itemid=177 you’ll find the brochure “I Think I Might Be Lesbian…Now What Do I Do?” You can also find the brochure published by PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends Of Lesbians & Gays) “Be Yourself: Questions for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Publications/Be_Yourself.pdf You may also be interested in checking out the Trevor Project’s resource “Coming out as YOU!” http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/YOU which has some interesting information about gender and sexuality and some tools and workbooks that can help you sort out your feelings and think through various aspects of the coming out process. Sexual orientation is not always black and white. It is a spectrum which can take some time to figure out. The important thing is to focus on figuring out your own identity and being comfortable with the real you, regardless of who other people may want you to be.

It may also help to talk through your feelings with someone you trust. It sounds like you’re not comfortable talking to your mother, but maybe there is a friend or other relative who you would feel comfortable sharing with. You mention that you have some gay and bisexual friends. You might find that they have had similar experiences and might be able to offer some emotional support.

In deciding whether to talk to your mother, it is important to be sure that sharing your feelings will not put you in any danger. You mentioned that your mother has threatened to kick you out if were gay. Before you talk to her, it might be a good idea to have a plan to ensure you can still be safe and comfortable if your mom did kick you out, such as finding a friend or family member who you could stay with. It sounds like you want to be honest with your mother, but are afraid of how she will react. Remember, it’s ok to take as much time as you need for yourself to figure out your feelings before you decide to share them with your mother.

If you do decide to talk to your mom, there are resources out there that can help you prepare for that conversation. You might consider checking out the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf, or on http://amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/youthresource-comingout you’ll find an article called “Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About” which may be of help to you. There are also resources available which you can share with your mother to help her get an understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ. Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization which works to help parents become more supportive and accepting of their children’s sexual orientation. On their website at www.pflag.org click on “Get Support” then click on “For Family & Friends” where you’ll find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your family to help them become more understanding and accepting. There are also some books which might be helpful called “”Now That You Know – A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children” which addresses many issues and questions that arise for parents of gay and lesbian children and “Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together.”

There is no right or wrong answer about what, when, or who to share your feelings with as you try understand your sexual identity. You have to decide what feels right for you. Hopefully some of these resources I mentioned will help you on your journey.

And the Trevor Project has other resources for you too! You can visit TrevorSpace, our social networking site for LGBT youth where you can connect with peers who are facing some of the same issues and difficulties that you are. If you feel you are in crisis, the Trevor Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, and TrevorChat is a free, confidential, secure instant messaging service that provides live help to LGBTQ young people if you need more support. You can access all of these resources here: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now .

At the TrevorProject, we are always here for you!