Frequently asked questions (2/2)

Should I tell people that I am gay?

Coming out is the process of revealing your sexuality to other people, and it's the most popular topic that bgiok readers get in touch with me about. Coming out is a personal step that you may choose to take, to one degree or another, when you feel ready. See the dedicated coming out section for guidance.

I don't want to be gay. I feel bad about it.

Sometimes the person with the biggest issue with you being gay... is you! There are some things in life that we don't have any control over. Your sexuality is one of them. You need to work at feeling better about who you are and making the best of what life has given you: a healthy body, a powerful mind and, hopefully, many years ahead in which to have many positive and enjoyable experiences. In other words, you've got the same foundations to build from as most straight people you know.

Why do you feel so bad about being gay? What is it about the idea of life as a gay person that's upsetting you? How is being gay worse than being straight? Unless you remember a past life as a straight person, you have no basis for direct comparison. What can't you do as a gay person that you think you could do as straight? Sure, you can't have children naturally with a same-sex partner but that doesn't mean you can't be a parent and have your own family. Besides, same-sex marriage is becoming more common as gay equality improves. Gay marriage is now legal in England and Wales and in many states in the US.

Thing you can do as a gay person:

Try to stop regarding homosexuality as a curse and look at it rationally: it's just one part of who you are and doesn't need to hover over your head like a dark cloud affecting everything you do and every interaction with others. Sexuality simply isn't relevant in many areas of life. You are not defined by your sexual orientation; you are many things.

If you woke up straight tomorrow you'd still have a challenging life ahead, with many of the same ups and downs that most people face. Heterosexuality is not immunity from life's ills, and doesn't automatically bestow happiness and success. Stop using homosexuality as an excuse to be miserable.

Read the material on this website. It'll answer some of the questions you may have and help to dispel some of the negativity you're harbouring around homosexuality. Talking to a friend or family member can help you to feel better, as can meeting gay people who are comfortable with their sexuality. Identifying the differences between your attitudes could be the key to positive change.

There's no deadline for feeling better about things. Be kind to yourself and take it day by day. Start by working toward being able to admit that you are gay. Even typing it in a forum post to people you haven't met in person can be a defining moment of acceptance.

You can be happy as a gay person but you have to alter your outlook on life and your perception of what it means to be gay.

Am I alone? How do I meet other gay people?

There are many gay, lesbian and bisexual people on the planet, but they don't wear a uniform and can be hard to spot! It's especially hard to identify fellow gay, bisexual and unsure people while in school because they, like you, may be afraid to come out. It gets easier to meet gay people as you get older and gain greater confidence, but that doesn't mean you have no options for meeting new people right now. Maybe you live in a small village and feel as though there are no other gay people in the world, but perhaps a nearby town has an LGBT youth group, gay venues and other social opportunities. I've written a dedicated section on meeting new people that should give you some ideas.

  • You may have seen the acronym LGBT when reading about gay issues. It stands for 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender'. Basically, everything non-straight. I'm not always sure I like the concept of this: bundling everything different into the same box. It feels reductive and a little too convenient. My needs and concerns as a gay man may be very different to those of a lesbian, bisexual or trans person.
  • See the NHS page, Am I gay, lesbian or bisexual?
  • More useful links.



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