Problem page archive entries:
September 2013

Name [MJ] Age [20] Gender [M]

Hi Jason.

I'm 20 years old and have known that I am gay for 4 years. I have told a couple of people that I went to school with, and I'm pretty sure (though not certain) that some of them have then told others. At university I tell anyone that asks that I am indeed gay. University is the place where I can finally act like myself all of the time.

At home I have to hide things that I might say, pretend I don't know certain things as not to appear camp or gay, among other things. No one in my family - to my knowledge - knows. And it eats me up that I still haven't been able to tell them after all this time. I have no idea if they suspect it or not. I just want to tell them and can't bring myself to do it. I have had several occasions where the perfect opportunity has presented itself, but have chickened out at the last second.

In all honesty, I hate being gay. It is difficult. I hate how hard it is pretending to be someone I am not. And it doesn't stop there. I have straight friends that I find myself attracted to and that I know can never feel the same way about me. I detest being the "gay best friend" that my female friends can spill to about how a guy doesn't like them. I want to just say to them "your guy COULD love you. Anyone I like can never do that". I want to like girls but I don't because I'm gay and I just hate every part of it.

I don't really know what advice you can give me, if any. I just needed a medium to vent to.


Hi MJ,

You say that you hate being gay because of how hard it is to pretend to be someone who you are not. But you make the decision to pretend to be someone else - nobody else demands it. Each day you make decisions about how you’re going to behave and how honest you are going to be about yourself. You have all the control and can tackle tomorrow in a different way if you choose to.

Being gay can be lonely and it is harder to meet someone, at least during teen years. But you’re an adult who can cast the net a bit further: university groups, online dating, local LGB social meet-ups etc. If you’d like to raise the chances of meeting someone and making gay friends, do some research and get active. Loneliness isn’t permanent, nor is it exclusive to gay people.

Coming out to family is definitely the hardest part of that journey. I think a negative or homophobic attitude from parents hits hardest because we bestow a special level of authority and weight in what they think. After all, what they thought was right or wrong was the most important thing in our lives at one point and our main guiding light. But being gay isn't something horrible you’ve done to them. You haven’t changed. I think what’s stopping you from speaking up is a lack of courage, but you’ll find it. Keeping your sexuality a secret from those closest to you is a lonely thing, and it won’t help you to feel positive about who you are. The prospect of coming out to your family will always be scary, no matter how long you leave it. Why not take the next opportunity to tell them now?

Name [Abbie] Age [18] Gender [F]

Dear Jason

For the past year or so I have been agonizing over whether or not I'm gay, I'm writing to you because I feel like I need someone else's view on the matter. I've not told anyone; not because my family isn't accepting (infact they're probably more accepting than most) but because I don't want to tell anyone if I'm not sure myself.

I've had several boyfriends, however these relationships have never felt 'right' and have all ended in an unpleasant shambles, its not that I'm not attracted to guys, infact aesthetically I am, but in terms of a sexual and romantic attraction they just don't do it for me and the idea of having sex with a guy disgusts me a little. What confuses me the most is that I'm not necessarily attracted to women either. By this I mean I'll be walking down the street and I'll see a guy and think he's cute, and this doesn't happen with women, but then occasionally I'll meet someone and the feeling I get is completely different from any feeling I've ever had about a guy, it sort of sounds cheesy but it almost feels more pure and it makes me feel really happy.

I feel that in order for me to cement whether I'm gay I need to try having a relationship with a woman, but I don't want to play with anyone's emotions and even if I told the person that I wasn't sure I'd still feel like I was playing them along.

I thought that maybe I had HOCD but everything I've read about it says that you have negative feelings about being gay, and although I'm frustrated that I'm unsure I've never felt that being gay would be negative at all.

What worries me is that sometimes I feel like I want to be gay because it's never worked out with guys and that I'm just imagining the feelings.

So all this is making me a tad confused.

Sorry this was so long winded and thank you for reading it,



Hi Abbie,

I think your decision not to announce your sexuality until you are more sure of it yourself is wise. Coming out could create pressure for you, as you juggle other peoples’ expectations with your uncertain feelings.

I’ve said many times on bgiok - and told a fair few readers off - that it’s unfair to get romantically involved with someone you don’t find attractive or to use someone as a sexuality experiment. But getting involved with someone you like whilst being honest about your doubts is okay if that person is fine with it. No relationship’s success is certain anyway; there is always risk. As long as you are honest then you are not pretending to be something you aren’t or offering something you’re not sure you can give.

Think about the boyfriends you have had so far. Why did you get together in the first place? Were you attracted to them physically? Did you desire them? You broke up because these relationships didn’t feel right. In what way didn’t they feel right? Did you enjoy the physical side of these relationships? I know I’m asking more questions than I’m answering but I think you may get valuable insights by answering them to yourself.

It’s a very good thing that you don’t have negative feelings about homosexuality. This makes life easier. It’s a lot harder to get a clear look at your own sexuality if there is bias toward one outcome.

I can’t tell you whether you are straight, gay or bisexual. I think you need more time. Be open to opportunities and experiences that come along. As previously said, as long as you are honest there is no harm in exploring different options. Try not to over-think it because sexuality won’t rush into clarity for constant scrutiny. More feeling, less thinking.

Name [L] Age [18] Gender [F]

I've been in a relationship with my girlfriend for almost a year now (she's 17 and I'm 18, soon to be 19), my mum is very accepting of my sexuality and respects it as anyone should.

However, my girlfriends family is the opposite. Her mother knows that she has been involved with girls in the past and from what i've heard - prefers not to discuss any of it with my gf or talk about her sexuality at all.
I'm an atheist, my girlfriend and her family are Muslim, the majority of her family are homophobic, from what i know. She's never let her religion affect her sexuality or have an impact on it and I think that's great - i wish more people would think like that.

What my main issue is that, NO ONE in her family knows that we are in a relationship together, no one even knows that she's gay or that i am too... i've met her mother and family numerous times and they must think i'm simply her best friend or something. The longer her mother/family doesn't know about it, the more i feel like i'm disrespecting them, hiding our relationship for so long.

My own mother knows about our relationship and is completely fine with it... many of our friends know all about it

I can only imagine how difficult it may be to be muslim and gay but at the same time I'd like to not be scared of the future of our relationship.


Hi L,

You have not lied to your girlfriend’s family. They have assumed that you are friends. You can be respectful of their home and hospitality without having their endorsement of your private life.

I don’t know a great deal about Islam but I have had several emails over the years from gay Muslims - living in the UK and the Middle East - who always report a very homophobic environment at home and in the larger community, along with the inability to come out. Homosexuality is illegal in some Muslim countries, with severe punishment for those who are exposed.

While those bgiok readers who do not come from religious backgrounds have room to speculate on the possible reaction to their coming out, readers from devout families are often confident of a negative response. When homophobic behaviour is defined by religion and culture, coming out can’t ever be a simple case of telling the truth and hoping everyone will accept the news in time. Sometimes it’s even dangerous to do so.

If your girlfriend is certain of a negative backlash to her coming out and revealing your relationship, then I would urge her to keep it under wraps until she no longer lives at home, and is financially independent. You certainly don’t have to hide your relationship indefinitely but practicalities dictate that you wait a little while longer. Her folks are no more likely to accept the news once she’s living away but at least it means you will all have space and as much time as necessary to let it sink in.

In the long term you both have to live your lives and be happy in the way that feels right to you, regardless of any anti-gay stance that the people around you might take. It’s up to those people if they want to be a part of your happiness or choose intolerance and ignorance instead.

Name [Gregor] Age [16] Gender [M]

Hey, I'm gay but I can't really accept myself. There's this guy I really like, I've told everyone including the guy I like. I've had experiences with guys, this has made me really depressed, I've cried and tried to self harm over this. It's not the fact that I don't want to be gay, I respect gay people and think they're amazing and want to be part of that. Can you help me, please?


Hi Gregor,

What is the difference between a gay person you admire and respect, and yourself? I suspect the only difference is confidence, life experience, and a few solid gay friends to talk to. You don’t have an issue with homosexuality in terms of it existing and being happy for other people to be open about it. You want to feel better about being gay, which is why you’ve written. Positive stuff.

Think about the experiences you’ve had with males. Why did you feel so bad afterwards? Did the guys treat you poorly? Perhaps you weren’t ready. Many people rush into sex before they’re ready and feel bad afterwards. Perhaps the guys you chose weren’t right for you. You know that being gay is fine, that it’s just a part of who someone is, and that sexuality isn’t something anyone have a choice about. So living your life as a gay person - meeting and being romantically involved with a guy - is fine too.

You can feel better about who you are. I talk from experience. I was very unsure of myself when I was 16 but I met some great people and eventually fell in love with someone who was good for me. My confidence grew as I got older and found peace with who I was. The only way to be happy in life is to accept who you are and to embrace it. Sexuality is one of those things we can’t change, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to learn to be at peace with it. It doesn’t define who you are. All the good things in life are available to you as a gay person.

I go back to my original question: What is the difference between a gay person you admire and respect, and yourself? Figure that out and you’ll be halfway there.

Name [Willow] Age [16] Gender [F]

I'm 16, and I've liked one of my closest friends at school for about half a year now. She's great! Smart, funny, and really gorgeous -The works. She's the first person that I've seriously liked ever since I've classed myself as Bi-Curious. ANYWAY. I've told her that I like guys and girls, and she's really understanding about that, and she knows that I currently like this girl at school.. But she doesn't know that its her.

As far as I know, she's as straight as an arrow, but don't get me wrong, she's really supportive of LGBT etc.. But I've also noticed that she may be giving me these 'Signs' like, leaning on me casually, and we catch ourselves staring at each other and then we just pull faces afterwards.. But I'm not sure if she's just being normal and friendly and I'm overreacting, OR if she's purposely giving these 'Signs'..

So getting down to the point, I'm not sure if I should tell her that I like her or not. There are reasons for why I think I should tell her (Getting it out in the open,POSSIBLY finding out if she feels the same, plus, I tell her almost EVERYTHING) and there are reasons why it wouldn't be such a great idea (Possibly ruining or making the friendship awkward). Also, she asks me who 'It' is, because she knows that some of my other close friends know aswell, and because of this whole dilemma I haven't told her, and she seems quite upset that I've told other friends but not her..

We've known each other for years, and she's just so amazing to be friends with, but I really want to be with her... I'm just in a massive pickle.


Hi Willow,

It’s likely that your friend will discover the truth eventually because other people know. Your friend is already wondering why you haven’t revealed the identity of your crush and perhaps she suspects that it’s her - I think the idea would occur to all but the most clueless chum. Telling her may just be beating someone else to it, or jumping in before she asks you. She sounds like the sort of person who will be okay about it.

Let’s just say that there’s no chance of her ever finding out unless you decide to tell her. Is is a good idea to come clean? The benefits of revealing your feelings are negligible if you know for sure that there’s no chance of a romantic relationship. As you point out, it could make thing a little awkward for a while. She may become more conscious of her behaviour - how tactile she is and the things she says - out of a desire not to lead you on or exacerbate the situation. That can settle down in time though, and with assurances from yourself. Being honest about your feelings might make you feel better and like a weight has lifted, but beyond that it’s unlikely to produce much of a result. There’s not a lot a straight friend can do with that information. If your friend was homophobic your news could end the friendship, but that’s not a concern here.

You say that she is supportive when it comes to LGBT matters and she knows that you aren’t straight, so it seems likely to me that she’d have told you by now if she had romantic feelings for you. There don’t seem to be any real barriers between you and a romance blossoming if, indeed, she was interested in you in that way. Your friend has an ongoing opportunity to tell you if she’s not straight and less reasons than many to hide it. I think there’s a strong possibility that she’s one of those heterosexuals you hear about!

Still, sexuality is a very personal journey that’s different for everyone. Perhaps, open as she is, she’s not quite sure who she is or what she wants yet. I wouldn’t suggest that anyone in your situation wait around forever, but I’d be wrong to say definitively that there isn’t a chance that same-sex attraction isn’t a part of who she is or will become. You are a better judge than me because you know her. Look at the evidence. I have friends who are very tactile but I absolutely guarantee they aren’t interested in me romantically. Give it time and think about the benefits - if any - of telling your friend how you feel about her.

Name [Reece] Age [13] Gender [M]


I am really hoping you can help me, I don't know what to do anymore!

About 5 months ago I told this guy that I really liked him, and I really did love him! He didn't love me back, and he was straight, so I don't know what I was doing!

Things just went from bad to worse! He won't talk to me face to face, or text, and even when I told the teacher about this, he wouldn't talk!

I have run out of options, my friends are sick of me moaning about it! Guess what, my best friend has met up with this guy before she met up with me! I am the one that has been trying to organize a day out with my friends! She didn't even talk to this guy before this problem!

I don't even know if he wants to be friends, because when we had a huge argument, he said that 'you don't even know if I want to be friends'. He was the first person I text on the last day of school when I got home, and he went that low that he didn't reply!

I just can't carry on, and I don't know what to do anymore!

Please help, I really need it!



Hi Reece,

It’s painful when you have strong feelings for someone that aren’t felt in return. It also makes it harder to think as rationally as you might do when not in love. We don’t always make the best choices when we’re feeling such powerful emotions. Try not to be too hard on yourself for the decisions you've made lately.

You chose to tell your friend that you had romantic feelings for him, even though he is straight. As I explained to Willow (above), I’m not always sure how beneficial such revelations are, since nothing can come of it romantically and it can create friction in the friendship. That goes for straight and gay people who know there's little or no chance of romance happening with someone they like. However, getting something big off your chest, like a secret crush that's preoccupying you, can be helpful even if the outcome doesn't turn out the way we might like.

Imagine the situation from the friend’s point of view. He’s a 13 year old child who’s got another guy saying he’s in love with him. At 13 he won’t be the most worldly wise chap you could meet, nor should he be. Love is a big deal! He may not have even met a gay person before. Perhaps it’s the first time anyone has expressed anything like this to him - male or female. It’s a lot to take in.

While it’s easy to understand why he might have been surprised or shocked, that doesn’t excuse the way he’s behaved toward you since. It’s unkind and hurtful to ignore you. Still, while it’s reasonable to expect everyone we cross paths with in life to be polite and show basic respect and consideration, nobody is obliged to be a friend or even to interact. This chap isn’t technically doing much wrong. He has decided he doesn’t want to communicate with you, which is his right. While he should be polite and observe basic greetings in school etc., he doesn’t have to do more if he doesn’t want to. A teacher can’t force anyone to speak to - or be friends with - anyone else, but they can, and should, ask that someone is polite and not unkind.

Maybe have another try at explaining how you feel to your friend. Perhaps it’s better to write it in an email so that he's not put on the spot. Explain how you feel and that you miss the friendship. Say you understand that nothing romantic is going to happen but that you felt it was important to tell him. If he doesn’t respond, or respond in a way that indicates renewed friendship is a possibility, it’s time to move on. You’ll drive yourself bonkers chasing after this guy. Focus on other friends and try to react less emotionally to him. It'll become easier with time and will hurt less. Take some of the control back: by pouring your emotions in his direction when it's likely you won't get anything in return means you're choosing to put yourself in a painful situation.

Name [George] Age [19] Gender [M]

Hello there, my name is George and I've just turned 19 years old.

I really don't know how to say this. This topic has been aggravating me for so many years that I'm tired, frustrated and I just don't know what to think or do anymore. I shall try my best to describe what I want to say because this is so confusing and immensely depressing that I might not get everything out clearly in words.

Firstly, I want to mention that my relationships with friends and family are strong. I'm lucky to have a loving and kind-hearted family whom I know will support me whenever and wherever I go in life, no matter what. I have met people from all over the world that have become dear friends of mine. Most of them I don't get to see anymore because my family and I tend to move homes a lot. However, I keep in contact with nearly all of them and I would never change any of them for the world. Unfortunately, when it comes to grips with sex I have never been able to fully open up about my sexuality and my feelings to them. If I take my family as an example; it just seems extremely awkward when discussing topics like this and our relationships with each other have never formed around the knowledge that we can talk about anything sexual with each other, whether it's about someone I'm dating, who I have a crush on or just simply sex. When it comes to my friends we can easily joke about sex but nothing serious or intimate. As a person, I have never found expressing feelings, love or any intimate emotion easy. Expressing these has never brought me any happiness or relief, but confusion, sadness and humiliation. I have tried to ignore these feelings of love and intimacy as much as I can and have trained myself to believe that these are irrelevant parts of my being, even though deep down I know that is unhealthy and will not help me. The thought of finally opening up to both family and friends about who I think I am sexually is daunting and frightening and even though I feel they'd accept me if I told them, I'm scared if that thought backfires and they don't ever treat me the same way again. I want things to stay the way they are.

When it comes to my sexuality...I don't know. I ask myself 'Am I gay or bisexual?' Throughout the majority of my life, I have been attracted to males. When there is a decent, good-looking man around I'm usually always checking them out discreetly in public. Most of my fantasies involve a male in it and when I look up porn I find it easier to get off to gay porn than other categories. It's been like this since I was 13. When I was 14, a male friend and I shared a hotel room on a school trip and started making out because we were just curious. I was excited about it since I had never done anything like it before and I wanted to know what it was like. It was only a make-out session, there was kissing and sucking but no penetration at all so the entire experience did not count as sexual intercourse. Even though afterwards I felt guilty about doing it, there were very brief encounters in the future however these eventually ceased. Something tells me that one day I will probably end up having a relationship with another man. I know there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and I don't mind the pleasure of being attracted to men but I don't picture myself in the future as a gay man. I see myself with girlfriends (maybe boyfriends too) and one day getting married and having children of my own. What I'm saying is there is a dilemma here, that I feel attracted to men on a lustful level but deeply attracted and caring for women on a romantic level. I have had over 5 girlfriends since I was 9 years old (No sex--I'm still a virgin) and I really enjoy being with other females whether it's hanging out with them in a loving relationship or making out. I have had more sexual experiences with women than I've had with men, although I will say that when it comes to porn I tend to choose gay porn over bisexual, lesbian or heterosexual. I find it easier to watch gay porn but I can get off to any of them. I do sometimes discreetly check out women in public if they're very attractive but most of the time I'm checking a male out first. Sometimes it's the other way round. This may look like a simple, teenage puberty problem and it would seem as if I am bisexual, but I truly cannot decide for myself what my sexuality is. It's difficult and demoralizing to not be able to identify myself. There are times when I become more attracted to men than women, then suddenly, women become more attractive than men. There are times where I feel I've gone completely gay and think that I must be gay after all, until I start thinking about the opposite sex and my thoughts become all jumbled up. I feel simply pathetic and cannot get my head around it. I have tried to block out my sexual thoughts and identify myself as asexual but it's not working. To be honest, I would much rather be asexual than suffer this dilemma.

I hope this makes sense, my sexuality is most definitely befuddling and I just want to know who I am and what is going on in my head?

Thank you very much for your time, George :)


Hi George,

It’s not unusual for someone of your age to be unsure of their sexuality or to feel frustrated that it isn’t firmly set. Let’s just imagine - and it’s absolutely possible - that you always have a capacity to feel strongly for men sometimes and women sometimes. Would that be so bad? It doesn’t mean that if you met someone you loved, of either gender, you’d be unfulfilled and at the whim of a sexuality that might prefer the other gender tomorrow. I want to reassure you that I’ve never heard from a bisexual person whose sexuality is so in flux throughout life that they they were at it’s mercy and unable to become attached to anyone. As frustrating and unnerving as it seems now, you will be able to have a ‘normal’ relationship in the future (if you want one, that is). I fully believe that there are many people out there who would stimulate you both physically and emotionally, but you haven’t found anyone like that yet. Nature is never black and white and doesn’t work in absolutes: fancying men but never having romantic feelings for them, and having romantic feelings for women but never fancying them is absolute and impossible to reconcile. I suggest that you are ultimately more flexible than that and, in time and with the right person/people, you’ll begin to discover that. Sexuality can feel turbulent to some, especially at your time of life. Be patient and try not to obsess and scrutinise it - it won’t help. It’s not something that can be molded or hastened.

What I’m more concerned about is talk of trying not to feel certain things - to shut feelings and natural urges off - and a general sense that you aren’t comfortable with sex and sexual matters. That’s more of a hurdle to being happy than your sexuality. You certainly can’t make yourself asexual, tempting as it might be to try when you’re feeling fed up with a sexuality that seems uncertain. Attempting to halt, and experiencing such negative feelings around, natural and potentially very enjoyable aspects of life is something you need to address. It’s beyond simple advice I could give here and I strongly urge you to seek counselling to talk over your feelings with a professional, so you can get to the route of the negativity you have around sex. It could be an extension of your frustration around your sexuality and something you’ll feel better about with time, but it certainly won’t be a waste of time to talk to someone anyway. I've written about counselling here and talk about finding a counsellor here.

I’m sure you’ll feel better with time, but it’s vital learn not to fear your feelings - sexual or otherwise - and allow them to manifest naturally. Some of them may be inconvenient or distressing in your current frame of mind, but they won’t become easier to manage if you try to bury them. Trust me, the things you’re afraid of have the potential to bring you great joy and bring you closer to others.