I have just came out to everyone. I thank God that I grew up in a small community that accepts LGBTQ people. I have been teased once and a while but it is mild. I don’t mind it. Now there is a group of kids in my school that are against my orientation. The teasing and questioning comes mostly from them. They ask me everything. From how I became gay, to if I chose my sexuality. I answer as honestly as I can. The boy I have a crush on, is part of this group. We are still friends, he stays off to the side while the teasing is going on, but he still hates my orientation. Then they started asking me who I had a crush on. I did not want to tell them that is was a boy in their group and that we had been friends. So I keep walking away, as if they never existed. I can not stand to lie to them. A lot of them are my friends. They haven’t been too mean like punching me or anything. They just stuck to gentle teasing. I do not want to lie as I said, but I do not want my crush to exclude me from everything, and to never talk to me again. That I would be beat up for, crushing on this kid. What should I do? Should I tell them I have this crush, or should I just keep it to my self?
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Thank you so much for writing to us at Ask Trevor. I’m so sorry about the experience you’re having at your school. No one deserves to be questioned, teased, bullied, or treated negatively for any aspect of who they are. It must be really hard facing them so honestly and it takes so much strength to do so. It must especially be more difficult when the person you have a crush on is in this group of people. No one deserves those negative thoughts to be thrown their way. It seems to me there are two parts to your question – first, do you tell the person you like, that you like him, and second, how do you get the people you consider your friends to stop teasing you.
In response to the first question – do you tell him that you like him or keep it to yourself – no one can answer that but you. What can help you make that decision is thinking about the possible reactions he may have, and practicing exactly what you want to say to him, and how you’d respond to the many different reactions he may have. If you have a friend you trust to walk through this with, that can be really helpful. If not, sometimes writing out what the different possible reactions are will prepare you for what may happen if you talk to this person. Although we’d love for everyone we have crushes on to feel the same way we do, that’s not always the case. If you feel that you can trust this boy with your feelings, and that he won’t then tell other people to make fun of you in the future, then telling him might be the right choice. If you’re not quite sure how he’ll react, or if you think he may get angry and start ignoring you, then you may want to consider figuring out how you feel about not telling him. Have you heard of TrevorSpace – the Trevor Project’s Social Networking Site? It’s for LGBTQ youth and allies to connect, talk about issues that concern them, and feel comfortable expressing things they may not have anywhere else.. You can practice these conversations with people logged in who may be currently, or may have experienced a similar situation.
In terms of your friends teasing you – maybe it’s important to tell them that although they’re “gently” teasing you it still hurts and that your sexual orientation is nothing that you should be teased about. It’s just part of who you are – would you tease someone for being left or right handed? It seems crazy to do that, and it can be easier for them to understand this when you put it that way. They may not realize that their comments are hurting you since they consider you a friend as well. There are also organizations that work specifically in schools to address homophobia and transphobia against LGBT students – by working with one of these organizations you may be able to address bullying overall within your school and help them understand how their actions may affect you. One such organization is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) which works to ensure safe schools for ALL students. On their website at www.glsen.org click on “what we do” where you can find programs which may help people in your school become more understanding and supportive of you. One program is called “A Day of Silence” which brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year, the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.
Making the decision that’s best for you takes time, and sometimes that involves talking about how you’re feeling or holding that back until you’re certain you will be okay with the outcome, regardless of what it is. What you’re going through is very tough, and confusing, and I am so proud of you for standing up for who you are. Again, if you need some extra support from other youths, don’t hesitate to join TrevorSpace. If you’re feeling down and need someone to talk to the Trevor Lifeline is here for you 24/7 at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR, or on www.thetrevorproject.org using the TrevorChat program. Keep being who you are – no one can do that better than you!