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So I’ve definitely determined that I’m not heterosexual. I’m ready to come out to my family and friends, but I don’t know what I’d say because I don’t really understand my sexuality. I often have crushes on girls and think that I could fall in love with someone, like one of my friends, but there’s little to no sexual drive in me toward girls. With other guys, I find them more physically attractive, but I don’t know whether or not I could have a romantic relationship with a guy. I feel drawn more toward guys rather than girls, and most of the time I feel like I’m gay. But I also feel like this “romantic orientation” affects me, so I don’t know whether I’m bisexual or gay. I don’t know what to tell my family and friends, and I don’t know who I should engage in relationships with. Is this a common problem? How do I explain this to my family and friends? What do I do after I come out?
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I’m so happy you took the time to write. Questioning your sexual orientation is normal, and it’s normal for people to not always know. Keep in mind that sexual orientation involves physical, emotional, and romantic attraction.
It sounds like you’ve already taken some time to think about your feelings towards girls and guys, but I would encourage you to think about it some more. Do your feelings involve all three attractions, two of the three, or maybe just one of them? If you’re attracted to people of both genders, you’re bisexual. If you’re only attracted to people of the same gender as you, you’re gay. It may also help to think about who you have a crush on or who you might have had crushes on in the past. Are they girls or guys or both? You find these brochures helpful. First, there’s “I Think I Might Be Gay, Now What Do I Do?” which you can find at http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=726&Itemid=336. There’s also http://bisexual.org/ which is where you can find a lot of information about bisexuality. It may be helpful to talk out your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend or adult like a neighbor, a friend’s parents, or a teacher, but only if you feel comfortable doing so.
There are many good reasons to come out. It can let people in your life know about an important part of your life. It can help you feel less alone. You could meet new friends or possibly meet people to date. Before you come out, you need to ask yourself some questions. What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Does it cause you stress? Do you worry about anyone finding out? Are you worried that if you told your family or friends, you’d be unsafe either physically or emotionally? If you told your parents, would they kick you out of the house? If you decided to tell them and they do kick you out, do you have a safety plan, meaning a safe place where you could live and continue to go to school and a way to support yourself financially? These are all important things to consider. If you do want to come out, you may find these pamphlets helpful. “Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About” is more of a brief article which you can find at http://amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/youthresource-comingout. The Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” has a lot more information and tips about the process of coming out which you can find at http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf. Sometimes, people feel comfortable just telling their family. Other times, it helps to ease into the conversation. You could start by bringing up a LGBT celebrity or character and see how your family reacts to them. Some people find it helpful to rehearse what they are going to say. After coming out, your family and friends might have questions. One organization called Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation. On their website at www.pflag.org, there are many pamphlets your parents might be interested in looking at. For example, on the website, click “Get Support” then click “For Family, Friends, & Allies.” This is 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.” If you feel comfortable, you can share these links with your family and friends. PFLAG also runs support groups. You can search for a chapter near you on their website. If there isn’t a chapter near you, you can still contact the nearest chapter to get support and more information.
Also, you can always contact us at The Trevor Project. The Trevor Lifeline is available all day, everyday at 866-488-7386. Trevor Chat, an online instant messaging service, is available everyday from 3pm to 9pm Eastern. Also, if you are between the ages 13 and 24, I would recommend checking out Trevor Space. It’s a social media site for LGBTQ youth and allies. You could meet people who have gone through similar situations or have the same questions.