Problem page archive entries:
June - July 2014

Name [Rene] Age [?] Gender [?]

I work with a young man (24) who says he bisexual, but he is acting more like he prefers men. He is currently in self destruct mode (his words) and took drugs at the weekend from complete strangers and then ended up in bed with two men. I am worried about him, he is putting himself in dangerous situations which I think is because he won't admit he is gay. He said his parents would turn their backs on him if he was and I think this is the problem. I have visions of him being really hurt if he doesn't learn to control himself, by this I mean he loses all inhibitions when drunk and behaves dreadfully looking for a bloke to sleep with and doesn't care what he does. What can I do to help him?


Hi Rene,

This young man is right when he says that he’s behaving self destructively. He’s taking drugs and making poor choices with his physical and sexual safety. He’s daring the universe to take him down. It likely will, sooner or later. The good news is that he’s aware that he’s behaving destructively and has admitted it to you. This suggests to me that he wants better for himself. It’s hard to break negative habits that we can fall into when depressed, distressed or simply don’t know how to process strong feelings in a healthier way - much like self-harm. If he was permanently harmed by drugs or contracted HIV or was badly beaten by a man he went home with, he could throw his arms up in the air, say what a horrible world this is, that there is no hope for someone like him, and perhaps find a perverse comfort in this self-fulfilling prophesy. I speak from some experience, though I’ve not talked much about it before: In my 20s I struggled with low self-esteem and made poor choices in boyfriends and slept with men unprotected. I dared the universe but I was lucky, it ignored me. I’ve since learned to value and respect myself and I can’t express how grateful I am to whatever throw of the dice that I didn’t catch some horrible virus or become otherwise harmed when I was vulnerable and not mature enough to handle some of the things I was going through.

If he’s still living at home with homophobic parents, then it’s time to leave the nest. He’s 24 - an adult. Perhaps first he could give some thought to why he suspects his parents would turn their backs on him. Is his fear getting the better of him or is there a history of support and love being withheld at home when he does something someone else doesn't like? I don’t know his parents, but it’s important to consider that perhaps his destructive behaviour is based on what he thinks will happen and not what definitely, absolutely will. Are his fears founded? Asking him to explain why he’s so sure might be useful, maybe even revelatory.

If it seems that, yes, his parents really are that awful that they’d withdraw all contact with the son they raised because of a genetic fluke, then he needs to consider his two options: lie to them in order to maintain contact or be honest about his sexuality and lose them. Assuming he does live away from home - and is not too nearby - the first option might work for a while. Any partner of his would have to accept that their existence isn’t revealed to the family. It’s not a compromise that every partner will make, and not one that anyone ever should, but it happens. Sooner or later the questions about lack of girlfriend or quizzing over why he lives with the ‘friend’ they haven’t met will become a minefield and impossible to navigate. Even to maintain contact with parents, I do not think it’s worth all that. I don’t think it’s possible to be happy - truly happy - when you play a role instead of being yourself and being honest.

No magical solutions here, but I hope some of my points might help to unearth more of the basis for his behaviour. Thinking rationally and less emotionally about his parents is key. Perhaps the basis for his destructive behaviour isn’t as firm as he currently thinks. Consider showing him this message. I know from past experiences that triggers for positive change can often come from outside.

Name [Connor] Age [18] Gender [M]

Hi there. I have recently come to terms with my sexuality of being gay. I've enclosed it with close friends but not yet my family. However, my grandmother (whom I live with) decided to plug in my phone just as a message popped up between me and another gay friend. She saw it, and confronted me about it. I told her I had been questioning myself (I'm not ready to be out yet) and was talking to this friend about it. She said she thinks I've just had a bad history with girls (which is true) and doesn't know how I can know without having a boyfriend. She went on to say that she has never met a happy gay and that their lives can be depressing. Now, to me, life for a straight person can be just as depressing. My problem is, when I do come out, how to make her see through the stereotypes. Any advice would be a great help


Hi Connor,

I’m so pleased that you recognise that the ideas your grandmother has presented are stereotypes. I’ve written about some common stereotypes here. She’s come up with some classics: gay people are unhappy ie. you can only be happy if you aren’t gay, you need to ‘try’ a guy/girl before you know for sure, and that your bad luck with girls has somehow thrown your sexuality off.

I get the feeling you already know this, but for the benefit of many other readers let’s tackle these gems!

  1. It’s true that incidents of depression and anxiety in gay people are relatively high. That’s not because gay people are predisposed to mental health problems from birth, but because the world often shows its worst side to those of us who fancy folk of the same gender. Being condemned by the church, worries about coming out, feeling excluded and bullied at school or work etc., these daily battles would make anyone depressed. Gay people, like straight, want to be happy, but it’s often harder to get - and stay - there. That’s not their fault. I should also point out that I’ve met many happy gay people and ones in happy long-term relationships.
  2. Straight people don’t get told to try being gay just to be sure it’s not for them. We accept their heterosexuality, and what they’re telling us about it, at face value and celebrate it. This sort of crap will continue to come up as long as being gay is considered somehow lesser or worse than being straight.
  3. Everyone has a degree of bad luck in love. I’ve not met any who’s gone gay - or straight - because it wasn’t working out with their given sexuality. I’d also suggest that things haven’t been going too well with the ladies because you fancy blokes! It’s a hurdle no potential girlfriend will ever be able to get over.

When the time comes for you to come out to your grandmother, an important part of that will be actively addressing the points she has raised - the harmful stereotypes - and slicing right through them. This will help her to feel better about your future happiness and have a more balanced and realistic outlook on what being gay really means (clue: not nearly as much as people think). Stereotypes aren’t helpful, they reduce people and hold them back.

You may find my general coming out advice is useful too.

Name [Olivia] Age [14] Gender [F]

I’m pretty sure i’m a lesbian but is it to soon to come out how do I know its not just a phase? Ive been thinking im a lesbian for a while now and i’m physically, emotionally, and sexually attracted to girls. i’m always thinking about being gay and girls and ive talked to my friend about this but how do I know this is for sure and i can come out?


Hi Olivia,

You sound as sure that you are a lesbian as I am sure that I am gay. You are attracted to girls physically, emotionally and sexually and think about them all the time. I can easily say the same about guys. The difference is that you are very young - still classes as a child - and we too often dismiss the feelings and insights of children because of their age.

It’s true that some young people experiment with same-sex behaviour but become heterosexual or bisexual adults. It certainly isn’t the case that because a young person is attracted to, or enjoys being close to, a member of the same sex that they are absolutely, definitely going to become a gay adult. However, it’s also not the case that young gay people magically become straight on their 16th birthday. The whole idea of a gay ‘phase’ is still one of the first things young gay people get told when they are brave enought to talk to an adult about their sexuality, and it’s a shame this idea is as popular now as it was when I was in school. Nobody challenges a child who expresses heterosexual leanings, or suggests they wait to see if the phase passes, even when that child is much younger than you are now. I seem to remember haviung a 'girlfriend' when I was 9. I wasn't romantically interested in anyone at 9!

Your feelings are real and valid. They don’t seem ambiguous, uncertain or changeable to me. You can tell people about how you feel when it feels right, in your own good time. Your sexuality will become more clearly defined as you get older and you’ll learn new things about yourself all the time. But please don’t worry about waking up straight one morning and having to start over - it doesn’t work like that.

Name [Heledd] Age [15] Gender [F]

i really can't accept the fact that i'm gay (and i know that i am) and i find it hard to talk about my sexuality because most of my friends are homophobic, i guess i'm just scared, but how can i relieve my anxiety?


Hi Heledd,

I think you are right: you are scared. And that’s okay and normal. Most young gay people are scared, but it’s important to realise that the fear you feel isn’t because you are gay but because of how you think other people - at home and the wider world - will behave because of it.

Every day there’s something in the news about how so-and-so feels about gay marriage, or how in other countries gay people are beaten up for attending a protest. Closer to home you may have heard a friend use homophobic language as a ‘joke’, or seen how a family member behaves when a gay character pops up on TV. All this stuff can make gay people feel afraid, isolated and anxious. When you’re slightly older and have accumulated a circle of supportive friends and maybe even found a partner, you develop a shield to this stuff and more power to do something about the things in the world you don’t think are right. But being 15, in school, and depending on family for money and a home, you worry about rocking the boat too much. Remember that there’s a much bigger world waiting for you in a few years time and that being a frightened young person is a small stage in a much bigger life of greater power, choice and influence.

You’ll know how I feel about sexuality from reading through the website, so I won’t repeat all that here. Suffice to say that I think, as many do, that sexuality is not inherently good or bad and life is what you make it. Bigots are just making things up as they go along in life, just like people with better things to do are. Nobody has all the answers, nobody knows if there’s a god or what he thinks about our daft planet anyway. So find your own path, make up your own mind. Don’t live a lie because you are afraid of what someone else thinks, and don’t use the word ‘friend’ of someone who would want you to change. Start by accepting yourself, because you’re just as good as anyone else and know just as much about what you should be doing with your life. Then begin to think about coming out when ready. You may even be pleasantly surprised at how some people react.

Name [Peter] Age [15] Gender [M]

Hi, so I've been in a relationship for 3 years, which is a long time for a high school couple. At the beginning, I really did fall in love with her and then when I entered high school, things changed a little. I wasn't sure about my sexuality because I still had feelings for her, but I also felt feelings for boys too.

I would say I have a lot of friends, I'm really good in school, and a lot of people know that my girlfriend and I are dating. We hang out in the same group of close friends and if we ever broke up, people wouldn't look at me the same way if they found out I was gay, yet still in a relationship with a girl for 3 years. I would also lose my close friends because they're initially her friends.

I feel so terrible and so guilty on what I have done to her. We always talk about the future, going to prom, getting married, and having a family, and I really want that. I know I have to end this relationship so I don't hurt her anymore, but do I tell her I have to end this relationship because I'm sexually confused? Or should I just break up with her and stay closeted? I don't think I will be ready to come out until I graduate high school.

Thanks! I hope you can help me!


Hi Peter,

You’re not a bad or manipulative person. You entered a relationship when you were 12, likely before puberty, along with its awakening of physical and sexual interests, kicked in. In other words, you got a girlfriend before you knew you liked guys and before your body was adult enough to communicate it. I didn’t know I was gay until all those changes happened and sex started beeping on my radar for the first time. Some gay people know they are different before puberty, it’s true, but it takes that change for things to take form, to crystallise and make sense. I didn’t find anyone attractive in that way until then and, suddenly, I was crazy about my best friend, Anthony. It was unexpected and scary to me at the time. When I thought about romance and relationships before then I’d assumed I was straight like ‘everyone else’.

You don’t want to hurt your girlfriend or upset anyone else, because you’re a nice guy. But you really cannot continue in this relationship unless you find your girlfriend physically attractive and you are in love with her, or have reason to think you might be falling in love - real, romantic love. A best friend who you have a kiss and cuddle with occasionally is not what I mean, and it is absolutely not sustainable in the long term. If you find her desireable and feel romantic love toward her then it's likely you are somewhat bisexual. The fact that you like guys too doesn't have to mean the end of this relationship. After all, anyone happy in a relationship doesn't run off with someone else on a whim, no matter how many possibilities are out there. But if you like guys and not girls then things have to change. She will find out eventhally because you cannot provide the things she wants - and will want - unless you are terribly deceptive to her and yourself. As long as you are pretending to feel something you’re not you are preventing her from finding someone who will desire her in all the ways she deserves and you'd be missing out on meeting a guy who could make you feel all those amazing thing too.

But, breaking up does not have to mean coming out at this time if you do not want to. The truth is obviously the best and fairest way, but I understand that coming out may make life complicated and difficult. If telling your girlfriend the truth will make life unbearable then it’s okay to soften it somewhat. You don’t have to come up with an elaborate fiction either, but you might choose to tell your girlfriend that you’ve changed and the things you want have too. You could say that you need to be single at this time in your life, as you work out what you want and where you’re headed. You could say that you got together at a very young age and that you have simply grown in different directions. These are all perfectly reasonable things to say and not outright deceptions. In other words, you do not have to become a liar to do the right thing while protecting yourself. Who knows, maybe she has doubts and different wants too. After all, unless you're a very good actor she might have begun to notice that certain aspects of the relationship aren't taking off the way they do for other couples. Remember, she’ll have changed a lot since you got together too. Perhaps you could become friends, the sort of friends who can one day be completely honest with one another.

Once you are single you’ll have space to consider coming out, at whatever pace suits you, and time to think about how you might get the things in life that you want. I imagine you'll be going off to college or other further education. You’re on the edge of a time of big change and where lots of new people and experiences will come into your life. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get to know yourself better and find the things that will bring you joy. But nothing can change for the better - for either of you - while you’re in a relationship built on a foundation of dishonesty and secrets.

Name [Christopher] Age [13] Gender [M]

I've came out as gay to, i think a majority of my friends - they're all fine with it, but I'm having trouble coming out to who i think may be my crush. i just feel insecure, in a way, around and talking to him. i really want to both come out to him and say that i think i have a crush on him.

i also want to be openly gay, but i think that’s harder.

can anyone suggest anything to me? I'm not that afraid to say my name.

- Christopher


hi, Jason.

i contacted you last week about me wanting to come out to (who i think is) my crush, but i feel insecure, in a way, around him and he can be a bit of a dick sometimes. i think he's also gay by how he reacts to certain things (I'm not saying he is or he's came out), but he seems straight by how he speaks. he speaks in a way that that he means business and wants to get rid of the bullies. and I'm scared to come out to him. and that i want to be openly gay, but i feel thats hard. I've came out to my mum and a majority of my friends, and they're all fine with it.

I'm thinking of coming out to my school student support office progress manager and to say to her that I'm having trouble coming out to my crush. and, should i come out to the bullies?

though I'm well into (mainly American) laws and enforcement and I've also been in multiple policing clans (groups), (as i said) I'm gay... is this usual?

can u please give any suggestions on what i should do. I've read the info. and help pages, but i want ur opinion(s)

P.S. if u have a Facebook account, can u add me so its quicker and easier to contact you?


Hi Christopher,

Firstly, I am sorry but I can’t Facebook bgiok visitors or otherwise enter into ongoing contact. bgiok is a busy website run by one person (me!) and I don’t have the resources for that. Also, it wouldn’t be appropriate for an adult you don’t know (me again!) to do so. But I can offer advice here so that anyone visiting the site can benefit. I try to reply to as many messages as I can every week or two.

Right, you sent me two emails recently about several issues:

  1. Your crush

    It’s fantastic that you've already come out to your mum and most of your friend and that they have all been fine with it. That’s a hell of a good start. I know that coming out to someone you have romantic feelings for is harder though because you worry about being rejected in two ways instead of one: rejected because of your sexuality and rejected because he does not feel the same way about you romantically. But you’ll never know how things might have gone if you don’t speak to him. The worst case scenario is that he isn’t fine with your sexuality or that you like him. It’ll hurt but eventually you’ll realise that you don't need someone like that in your life. I have a feeling it’s more likely that he’ll be fine about you being gay, as your other friends have been, but that he is a heterosexual chap who doesn’t feel the same about you. This doesn’t mean you can’t be friends and that you can’t one day get over the disappointment and find someone who likes you back. Far better to have a good friend than to not have him in your life at all (I speak from experience on that, having lost a good friend many years ago because I didn't deal well with his lack of romantic interest in me). It sounds like you have a good group of people around you and that’s something to be thankful for.
  2. Bullying

    You mention bullies, but you don’t go into detail. I’ve written lots on this topic, so please read the special section. Nobody deserves to be bullied so please be brave and take steps to get it stopped. Lean on those supportive friends you have around you. As for coming out to bullies, I’d say they have no right to your personal life or such a personal part of who you are. On the other hand, maybe it’ll shock them into silence and completely neutralise any homophobic bullying if you face them courageously and say “Yes, you know what: I am gay, and I’m fine with it.” That takes all their power away and reclaims it for yourself. After all, what’s the ‘fun’ in bullying someone about something they are comfortable with and share openly with others? Also, such a brave person is clearly not afraid to speak to teachers about what’s going on. It’ll give the bullies more than enough to think about.
  3. Being openly gay

    I get the feeling that being openly gay is particularly important to you. To explain what ‘openly gay’ means to anyone not sure: it’s not minding who knows about your sexuality. Whereas coming out might mean telling just a few close friends, being openly gay means not attempting to control or contain the news. I’m openly gay, so all my friends and colleagues at work know. Anyone who doesn’t know is likely someone who hasn’t spent more than 10 seconds with me! Being openly gay doesn’t mean wearing a big T-shirt with “I’m gay!” on it, but just talking openly about your life, like many straight people do. So you might talk about the weekend you’ve just had which included a date with a guy and a visit to a gay bar, just like a straight friend might talk about how they spent Sunday afternoon with their girlfriend. Being openly gay has benefits, not least to a person's mental wellbeing. No hiding, no secrets, and only attracting people into your life who accept you as you are. You are also very visible to potential boyfriends and an inspiration to those too afraid to come out. I’ve seen young people be openly gay in school. It can work out. As I’ve said, when bullies realise that you’re fine with it, their power falls away. You also have around you supportive friends who don’t care who you fancy and teachers whose interest is the wellbeing of their pupils.
  4. Coming out to your school student support office progress manager [crikey, that’s a mouthful!] and speaking to him or her about all this

  5. Being into “(mainly American) laws and enforcement and I've also been in multiple policing clans (groups)” I'm gay... is this usual?

    Who you find attractive is only a part of who you are and does not define you. I like video games and making websites, and couldn’t care less about Madonna and going clubbing. Not all straight guys like football and beer. Just be yourself!

Name [Emily] Age [21] Gender [F]

I'm really struggling at the moment. I've been with my boyfriend for a year and a half, and love and care about him so much. But I met a woman a couple of weeks ago and she makes me feel amazing inside, and they are feelings I've never felt before. We have kissed and it feels amazing and my heart beats fast when I see her and when I'm close to her. But I feel such guilt because I have a boyfriend who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and who absolutely adores me. I guess I just want some advice in trying to get some clarity in my mind as to what the right thing to do is.

Thank you.


Hi Emily,

No matter how committed you - or anyone - might be in a relationship, it’s human to notice other people who we find attractive, from time to time. But there’s a difference between noticing someone and being unfaithful. You say you love and care for your boyfriend, but you have strayed beyond the relationship and found something exciting there that is causing you to feel torn. Does your boyfriend still excite you? Are you fulfilled in all aspects of your relationship with him? Why did you allow yourself to become intimate with someone else if all is wonderful at home? Is it?

The gender of the person you’ve met is not relevant. What’s important here is who makes you happy and with whom you feel ‘right’ with. Sure, freshly discovered lesbianism or bisexuality brings with it a few additional considerations, like coming out to friends and family, but the real issue is deciding between your current boyfriend and the girl you’ve met; deciding between two people, not two genders.

If you love this guy, romantically and passionately, then why did you stray? Perhaps you don’t. And if you don’t, then you have to do the right thing and end the relationship. This girl seems to have awoken strong feelings that you haven’t experienced before, so perhaps the answer is as simple (and as tough) as that. Why be with someone who doesn’t make you feel that good?

Name [Ruth] Age [22] Gender [F]

I'm 22 and have been openly lesbian for about 6 or 7 years. Most people have been beyond supportive to the extent that it's not a big deal. My mum has never been happy about it, so we just don't talk about it and pretend it doesn't exist. My big problem now, though, is that I'm falling for a bloke. We're best mates and we both want it to go one stage further, but I'm just so conflicted. The thought if the 'I told you it was just a phase' comments is unbearable. In my mind, people will see me as having been an attention seeker or a liar or a trouble maker. The people around me would see it as me being straight again rather than bisexual. I feel as though it would rob me of my identity.

I have no idea what to do next. This feels almost like a backwards coming out issue. Any ideas?


Hi Ruth,

Your decision to take things further with your male friend seems to be completely defined by your worry over what other people will think about it; most of your email is about how the things you do may or may not be interpreted by others. The single most important thing, though, is your happiness and being with the person who facilitates and enhances that.

Like most of us, you have fallen into the label trap. It’s human nature to want to categorise ourselves, but it can also be restrictive and limiting. I mostly hear from readers who’ve assumed they were straight and later discovered otherwise, but it’s the same thing here. You’ve come out as one thing but later discovered there is more to your sexuality than what you thought when you were younger. You haven’t done anything bad or deliberately deceptive. You’re not a fraud or a fake. You told people things about yourself - deeply personal things that took courage to reveal - that were true at the time. You have since realised that you like guys too, to one extent or another, and think that ‘bisexual’ is a more fitting category for what you’re feeling. All logical and reasonable stuff. What other people choose to say about it is their business. All you can do is be honest about what’s going on and let them decide if they’re going to fine with it. Assuming there will be any, their negativity or stereotyping would not be your responsibility or fault. Do not let the fact that you once came out as lesbian limit you to relationships with women until the end of time. Clearly, there’s more to you than that.

You’re a young woman and still learning things about yourself. Surely the important people in your life will allow you that.

Name [Manuel] Age [20] Gender [M]

How do I deal with my male friend, who confessed being homosexual and then, few month later, admitted he is attracted to me? I am by no means attracted to him, yet I wanted to maintain our friendly relationship. I caused many arguments and misunderstandings between us. I am not sure what to do about it, as he still trusts me as a friend and seeks advice and comfort. I am more that a little biased towards hugging part (from advice for friends & parents part) since he, as I said, used to treat me as a crush. He claims to be over it now, but I can't believe him. He keeps asking me whether is his behavior normal (it isn't, but not because of his homosexuality, he's just antisocial) and consults everything with me. I want to help him feel better about this whole thing and find strength to publicly admit his orientation and stuff.

A lot of words, not very detailed this "question" is. Any thoughts?


Hi Manuel,

I think you are a great comfort to your friend. He’s told you some very personal things - the sort of things that make some less mature and experienced people uncomfortable. It took courage for your friend to speak to you about his sexuality and it seems he chose well. His romantic feelings for you are not your responsibility and it’s not your job to deal with those. Be sympathetic and understanding, but make it clear that a romantic relationship cannot happen and that he needs to work on ways to help himself move on, such as finding other gay people to socialise with.

Coming out is a big step that’s often frightening, but he’s already started! Coming out to you and revealing his romantic feelings was a huge step. He’s already demonstrated the desire to reveal his sexuality and shown that he has the courage to do it. If he now seems to be floundering, remind him of the good start he’s had. Why lose momentum now? If he is naturally antisocial, he will need to push himself a little to expand his social horizons. Encourage him to join a gay youth group or maybe, if you feel comfortable, go with him to a gay pub or bar. Just being inside a gay venue may increase his confidence and help him to see new possibilities.

Above all, just carry on being the good friend that you appear to already be. Encourage him to do things that will enrich and enhance his life. But the hard work ahead is his, not yours.

Name [Tomaso] Age [11] Gender [M]

I am a gay 11 year old. The only coming out I have done is with my mom (in private). I am worried about coming out because I think I will be constantly teased and tormented. Do you have any ways of coming out softly and not too extravagant. I don't want to tell a big group of people

any suggestions,
(gay and proud :) )


Hi Tomaso,

Coming out can be to whatever scale you feel comfortable with, from telling a few close friends to announcing it to the world on a social media website. But, however big or small the coming out, you cannot control the news once you have released it because you can’t control anything another person does.

This may not be a problem if only a few trusted friends and family members know but anything larger scale inevitably means a ripple effect that you won’t be able to contain. So if you want a larger number of people to know that you are gay you must be prepared for the news to spread beyond them, to people you don’t know so well or those you may dislike.

You may be lucky enough to know a large number of people who are not only completely trustworthy but who never make mistakes and never thoughtlessly let secrets slip out. If you are not so fortunate, think carefully about your coming out strategy. If it’s important to you that strangers and acquaintances do not know about your sexuality, then it is unwise to tell anyone except for your most trusted friends and family members. Reveal your sexuality beyond that small group only when you are prepared for the news to take on a life of its own and travel.

Read my dedicated coming out section for more advice.

Name [Lucy] Age [15] Gender [F]

I've known I like girls for ages now, but it never really bothered me until recently that I don't know any other lesbian girls. Now I'm older I feel really lonely and would love to have a relationship (I've never had one before) but the girl I like is straight as is every other girl (bar two, who are going out together) in my school. I don't want to be with every gay person, but how do I go about finding someone who I at least have a chance of a relationship with?


Hi Lucy,

It’s trickier to meet lesbian and gay people when under 18 because the gay scene is not an option and many dating-type websites are also off limits. This is to protect young people, rightly so, but I know how frustrating it is when there are few openly gay people in school and few options for those of your age to meet any new ones. But there are options for young people, such as youth groups and LGBT societies in colleges and universities. I’ve written much more on this topic on my ‘Meeting new people’ page. I hope it helps.

And if you’re still a bit stuck, remember that life tends to broaden at 16. As you officially become a young adult, and with further education or employment, many new opportunities present themselves, along with new people to meet.

Name [Tanner] Age [17] Gender [M]


I have always know that I was gay, even though I lived in a very religious community(Utah). Though the LDS people are very accepting, they are also very ignorant. Every time I leave the house, you hear all sorts of judgments about gay people. I consider myself Mormon(LDS) and I love the religion, but I can't help but strive after my homosexual part.

I know that my parents won't be accepting, and im sure that they are suspicious. I have tried to explain the "It's not a choice." thing before, and it seems to get through, but they do the human thing to resist change and justify their feelings in their mind.

I usually argue the gay decision like so:
"What is your favorite Fruit?"
"What is your least favorite?"
"Well, Why don't you just like the Orange?"
"Because I can't?" (they are usually confused here.)
"Well, why can't you just stopping liking the apple and like the orange?"
(no answer)
"Your likes and dislikes are genetic and a physical part of you, just like the Fight or Flight response, a chemical,physical, Neuropathic response to an external change of environment. Just like how you like Apples and not oranges, and just like how Gay Men like Men."
(Sometimes there is some crap about conditioned responses that I can argue pretty well.)

If I can't argue this one point for others, how will I be able to argue it for myself when I come out?

Then, there is school. I am in my final year of highschool, I'm moderately athletic, not a Nerd, but still study hard and I've been told that I am very smart. I don't have a lot of friends, a good number, but not many. If I "came out" in Mormon, Utah, I know the number of friends I have would see many familiar eyes avoiding eye contact.

Should I just wait until after graduation? Could I really bottle up these feelings for so long?

Lastly, there is religion. The LDS church provides and opportunity for youth of 18 to 21 to go on a mission, which means that I would leave home for two years to go and spread the Gospel. My heart, at least right now, isn't into it and my family, and friends, and random people I have never met, and entire school are all pressuring me into a mission. I have painted a likelihood for everyone, but I can't keep lying to them.

How do I prevent the breaking of all of the hearts of those that I love? How do I continue with this religion that I love?

Thank you for reading and thank you for giving time to all of us that and confused and distraught.



Hi Tanner,

Firstly, the choice issue: By using the term ‘favourite’ in your metaphor you are suggesting that there is a choice. I like both oranges and apples, but prefer apples. An orange would have been tasty and filled me up too, but I just like apples more so I’d take one of those. A clear choice, and one that is also affected by my mood and other whims on the day the choice is given to me. Sexuality, though, is completely different. I find men attractive and have never felt the same about women. It’s not because I ‘tried one’ and didn’t like or didn't prefer it. If presented with a dating opportunity with a man or a women, I will choose the man every time. If I am not attracted to the man, I will stay at home! My decision to go on a date with him instead of her is not susceptible to whims, my mood or details such as which of the two date possibilities lives closer to my home town. I would suggest that fruit preference is not genetic. In fact, human beings are programmed to respond to the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. This encourages us to eat lots of them so that we can get important nutrients. Still, you could easily use ice cream flavours in your example and it would be misleading in the same way: a favourite suggests choice between several things you can potentially enjoy. Responding to a women in a sexual way is simply not part of me, or at least it’s so small as to be undetectable. A women is not my least favourite option: she is not an option at all. Sexuality means not desiring - and likely not enjoying, beyond a basic response to stimulation - sex with a gender you are not genetically programmed to respond sexually to. Perhaps family-friendly metaphors actually complicate matters, and perhaps it’s best to simply say how you feel and that being gay was not a conscious choice. After all, who would choose to have a harder life where worry about being shunned is part of the daily reality? You feel it in your heart and want to make the most of who you are, rather than bury it, become disingenuous and miserable.

Try to separate the sexuality issue from your decisions about what to do with your life. If you do not want to be part of the mission then you should not take part. Two years is a significant investment - too long to be somewhere you don’t want to be and far too long to be doing anything for the sole reason of keeping others happy. You need a better basis for the trip than that. The expectations of others can be a terrible burden, but you will have to find some courage if you don’t want to be beholden to them indefinitely. Doing what makes you happy and one day being with a man who you love: this stuff is going to piss a few people off, but I doubt you could present me with a solution that enables you the freedom to be happy while living up to all the expectations of family and religious institutions. In this, there is choice.

I have made some suggestions on reconciling sexuality with religion on the dedicated page. I use Christianity as a base for my piece there, but I think you can apply the concepts to any religion. In short, I absolutely believe you can have God in your life and be true to yourself and honest with others about being gay. After all, does the god you believe in like his followers to be dishonest and miserable? To never experience the love and intimacy they crave by nature. All this to win his favour. That doesn’t sound like a loving, forgiving being to me. He created you too, and you are gay.

I hope some of the ideas here have helped to give a different perspective. You may find my dedicated coming out section useful too.