One day, I received an e-mail suggesting that I put up links for parents with les/bi/gay teens. I immediately thought it was a great idea. Since I am the gay teen and not the parent, I never really thought about putting up links for parents.
Then I began thinking, what about links for teens trying to accept themselves? So, I decided to create this page. Since I have already accepted myself, I was more interested in les/bi/gay rights, putting a stop to homophobia, etc.
Figuring out who you are and who you are attracted to is really difficult. I went back and forth thinking I was bi and lesbian. I guess I tried to convince myself that I was bi. I felt that if I said I was bi and somewhat liked guys, that I would be more "normal." However, I cannot deny myself. I cannot sit there and say that I'm bi when I'm not.
Coming out is also hard. You never know how the other person will take it. I feel like it was easier to come out to my friends than it was my family. With friends, it doesn't impact your life as much if they hate you when compared to your parents. Most teens are financially dependant on their parents. If you fear that you will be kicked out of the house or something of the sort when you come out to your parents, I recommend telling them later when you are financially independent and do not have to worry about where you'll be sleeping the next night or how you'll get your next meal.
Parents don't know what to say when their son or daughter comes up to them and says, "I'm gay…" You have to remember that they grew up in a completely different time than us. Sometimes they freak out. Sometimes they deny it. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they even kick their children out of the house.
As I look back, I know that I have always been gay. In elementary school, I never really had crushes on guys. If I said I liked a guy, it was either because he seemed interested in me or because I liked his older sister. You know how boys chase girls on the playground and scare them with earthworms and stuff? Well, I used to do that. I loved to gross out the girls. I had few female friends, and I always wanted to feel closer with the few that I did have. I didn't know exactly what I was feeling at that time though.
As I got older and actually learned what lesbians and gay people were and what they did, it somewhat freaked me out. My mom would be watching a talk show, and there would be this sleazy lesbian with seven other lovers. I suppose that I just assumed that all les/bi/gay people were like that. I thought homosexuality was gross and wrong. I though that same-sex couples showing affecting was disgusting, and I even said, "I could never be gay."
I began to develop feelings for a close female friend at the beginning of my eighth grade year. I was thirteen years old. That's the first time that I actually considered that I might be gay.
During the beginning of my freshman year in high school, another girl (I will refrain from using her name out of respect) came out to me. She was in love with her best friend too. I was relieved to have someone that could understand what I was going through. She and I began talking to each other. She even convinced me to come out… not only to my friends, but also the girl I had feelings for.
The girl's friends knew first. That was easy. I had no attachment to them, and I knew that they were fine with her sexuality. I then came out to a close friend. It was extremely difficult. She was accepting though.
I then came out to the girl I had feelings for. She freaked out; she TOTALLY freaked out. She couldn't handle it, and I couldn't handle the way she began to treat me. Our friendship fell apart. My friendship then fell apart with my other close friend (who happened to be my only other close friend). The girl that came out to me then befriended the girl that freaked out on me. I was left with no one.
I was really hesitant to come out to my parents. I wanted to wait until I was older when I had a serious girlfriend and could just go up to my family and say, "This is my girlfriend. I'm gay." I felt like they would be forced to understand and accept it then. However, I could not keep it hidden inside me. I felt like I was living my life a total lie. I couldn't take it anymore.
I knew it was time to come out to my parents. I was utterly terrified. I thought that my mom would take it better. My mom handles most things better than my dad. I have heard them make some very homophobic comments, especially my dad.
I tried to tell my mom first. She freaked. She said that I was too young to know and that I was just confused. She told me that everyone thinks they are gay at one point or another in their lives. She also told me that I had to "experiment" with both sexes before I knew. If that's the case, then how come she and my dad can know that they are hetero without having "experimented" with the same sex?
My mom told me to "act straight," and the subject was dropped for another year.
Within a year, the girl who came out to me and I were friends again. I no longer thought that I was bi and accepted that I love women.
One day, my mom was searching through my stuff (which utterly enrages me), and she found a note between the girl who came out to me and myself. In the note, I stated my feelings for a girl in our class. I wasn't home at the time, and my mom began to cry. My brother came up and asked her what was wrong. She told him that I was gay. He told her that he would never tease me, hate me, or judge me because of that.
My mom and I talked. I told her that I felt like a failure… that I have failed her and my dad. She asked if me being gay made me feel like I was a failure. I began to cry (which I do not do often) and nodded my head. She said that just because I'm gay doesn't mean I'm a failure. She said that I could be a lot worse. I feel like that's when she finally accepted it, somewhat anyway.
I didn't want to tell my dad. I didn't want him to know at all. However, my mom told him. He just told me to "try men" before making any final decisions. Although I don't agree with what he said, I am still glad that he didn't freak out. I thought that he would disown me and kick me out of the house or something.
Things turned out much better than I had originally thought. Sometimes, parents are cooler than they seem. Melissa Etheridge was terrified to come out to her father. She grew up in a small town in Kansas and knew that homosexuality wasn't accepted. One day, she went up to him, and she was like, "Dad, I'm a homosexual."
His response was, "That's all?" She was basically terrified for nothing.
Just remember this: one in ten people are gay. I come from a high school with less than 300 students, and I knew two bi females and two lesbians not including myself (two out of those four graduated in 99). In my class of only forty-seven, there are two lesbians (myself and the girl who came out to me). You're not alone. Most teens are just as afraid of coming out as you are.
Les/bi/gay youth are also two to six times more likely to commit suicide. I used to be very suicidal, I still am to a point. Killing yourself is not the answer though. There's always someone. If you don't feel like you have anyone to talk to, e-mail me email@example.com. I am willing to both listen and give advice.
The road that lies ahead of you as a les/bi/gay teen is long and hard. Homophobia is everywhere. You may want to read more about Homophobia and Homophobia and Hate Crimes. Those two papers will give you an idea of what you may encounter (maybe not to those extremes, however). No matter how tough things get, hang on and never give up.
I have been a victim of hate crimes myself. I'm an openly Atheist lesbian in a small, closed-minded, hick, Christian town. I have had people yell obscenities at me many times: "Dyke," "lesbo," "faggot bitch," etc. I have even had someone tell me that I deserve to be beaten, tortured, and left to die. Fortunately, however, I have never been assaulted.
My brother gets it too, and he is hetero. People are constantly going up to him and asking if he knows I'm a lesbian or if I truly am a lesbian. He is really cool about it though. I am very grateful to have such a great brother. (Check out his kick @$$ site: Playstation and Dreamcast Cheat Central)
Below are some links to pages that may be of some help. Note: The links are for support and understanding yourself. They are not "how to" links. You may also want to check out my Support for Parents with Les/Bi/Gay Teens Page.
I Think I Might Be a Lesbian! Now What Do I Do? A site designed for young lesbians on their questions about their sexuality
I Think I Might Be Gay! Now What Do I Do? A site designed for young gay males on their questions about their sexuality
I THOUGHT GAY PEOPLE ACT CERTAIN WAYS A good Q & A on stereotypes and being a les/bi/gay teen
Be Yourself Questions and Answers for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth
Youth Pages A site that gives information on coming out and more
Youth Resource Library Links to more pertinent resources
The Cool Page for Queer Teens A page that gives advice on coming out and more
hkgayyouth A Q and A
Lesbian and Gay Youth Coming Out Links to more good sites
Gabi Clayton's Page Gabi Clayton's story of her son's suicide, info on PFLAG, and more
One out of Every Ten A good site on les/bi/gay stuff
Suicide and Les/Bi/Gay Youth A site that provides startling statistics on les/bi/gay teens and suicide
GLORY: Gay and Lesbian Organization of spiRitual Youth Although a Toronto based Christian Support Group, it gives links and information for Christian les/bi/gay teens
We Are Family Home Page A site for les/bi/gay people and their families
Damiano's Coming Out Story One young man's coming out story