Stuck in the closet
Well, let’s just get right to it. I’ve been sexually active with men since I was 14, but for the past two years I’ve been finding myself sexually attracted to women. I’ve been emotionally involved with a girl long distance, and the things we talk about excite me more than a man ever did. I still find men attractive, though, and being in a relationship with a man is not a “bad” thing.
I know that if I talk to my parents about my feelings, they will kick me out. They are very religious and against homosexuality and against sex before marriage. I don’t know what to do. Should I just keep trying to figure out what I want? Tell my family and risk being humiliated and kicked out? So lost and confused…
Letter submitted by:
Thank you for writing to us about these feelings. As you may already know, there is nothing wrong with feeling physically attracted to both boys and girls. It is also normal to feel confused about your sexual orientation – to be “questioning.” It takes time and courage to figure out your sexual orientation, and honestly acknowledging the feelings you are having is the first step toward discovering what it is. We know this journey can be a difficult one, especially when there is a fear of being rejected by the people we love and depend on. We are sorry to hear you are certain your family would not be supportive of you during this confusing time, and we want you to know that you are not alone. The Trevor Project will be here to help you through this whenever you need us.
Sexual orientation is a complicated concept. It’s not only about physical and sexual attraction. It’s also about to whom you are attracted emotionally and romantically. An online brochure from PFLAG titled “Be Yourself: Questions for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth” (www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Be_Yourself_TT.pdf) gives a great explanation of sexual orientation and answers many other questions you may be having. You may also want to read the online brochure, “I Think I Might Be Bisexual, Now What Do I,” from the Advocates for Youth at http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/publications-a-z/724?task=view, and check out the Bisexual Resource Center (http://www.biresource.net/) under the “Youth” section for more information.
When young people write to us asking if they should come out, we tell them to put their safety and future first. We tell them that if they feel coming out would put either their safety or future in jeopardy, then they should NOT come out until they are in a safe and independent situation. We ask them to predict the reactions they will get based on how members of their family and community have reacted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) persons and issues in their community, on television, on social media, etc. We also ask them if they have a plan of what to do if the response is bad, or if their sexual orientation is discovered. PLEASE look at our “Coming Out As You” guide at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/YOU. It’s a great resource that covers the benefits and risks of coming out, helps you decide if coming out is the right decision for you, and provides lots of other helpful information and resources. Also, take a look at the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf.
We want you to be careful, but we don’t want you to feel isolated. If there is someone in your life you feel you can reach out to and trust – a family member, a friend – please do so. If there isn’t, don’t feel discouraged. Many LGBTQ youth find it difficult to find people they can talk to – people who can relate to what they’re going through. That’s why The Trevor Project started TrevorSpace, a safe, supportive, online community for young people (ages 13-24). Consider joining!
We would also like you to know about The Trevor Project’s other help services, all of which are now listed and linked to on our Get Help Now webpage: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now. Please take a look and see which of our help services would benefit you most. For example, if you would like to speak with someone at The Trevor Project online, try using our free, confidential and secure instant messaging service, TrevorChat, open every day between the hours of 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM CST. To speak with someone over text messages, try TrevorText, open on Fridays between the hours of 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM CST. Please feel free to write to us again, and, of course, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Trevor Project