I think I might be Gay!

First of all, don’t panic.

For many young men who feel they might be gay, it can seem like the end of the world. Well, good news…it’s not. You can live a happy fulfilled life.

What does it mean to be gay?

Males who are physically and sexually attracted to other males. Additionally, we develop romantic emotions and love for other men, the same way heterosexual males do for women. Theses feelings are completely natural for a gay man. It “just feels right.”

You might have had girlfriends and even have had sex with girls and feelings for them. That’s not unusual. However, gay men who have had previous relationships with women often say they felt as if something was missing; they say their feelings for men became stronger and more important.

Another big concern for nearly every young gay man is that he feels he is the only one. Well, more good news…you’re not. A famous study called the Kinsey Report was done in 1948. It found that approximately 10% of the adult male population was homosexual. A more recent study estimates that GLBT people comprise about 3.8% of the U.S. population.

The important this is, you are definitely not alone. Gay men are in every walk of life. There have been many famous gay men throughout history. Today, we are professional athletes, scientists, artists, lawyers, teachers, doctors, movie stars, mechanics, fast food workers, store clerks, judges and engineers. We are Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, rich, poor and well…you get the picture! We are everywhere you look.


How do I know if I’m gay?

This is one of the tougher questions. One reason it is difficult to answer is that different people understand their romantic or sexual feelings at different ages. Because of this, some young men may confuse particularly strong friendships with gay emotions. However, most of us begin to understand the difference once feelings for other men become sexual in nature.

Also, depending on the environment in which we are raised, some of us may feel pressured to suppress or deny that we have gay feelings. You may find yourself ‘checking out’ other boys or men. Dating girls may not interest you. You may feel confused whether or not you are gay.

Confusion may not be helped by other people’s opinions. Many adults will tell us that we’re too young to call ourselves gay, or that we’re going through a phase, or that we don’t know what we’re talking about.

If you think you might be gay, ask yourself:

  • When I dream or fantasize sexually, is it about boys or girls?
  • Have I ever had a crush on or been in love with a boy or a man?
  • Do I feel different for the other guys?

If you’re still not sure you are gay, don’t worry about it! Never feel pressured to stick a label on yourself. When the time is right for you, you’ll know.


Am I normal?

Yes, you are normal. Despite what you may have heard, it is perfectly natural for some people to be attracted to members of their same sex. Because of prejudice, many people push away these feelings.

It’s normal and healthy to be yourself, whether you’re gay or straight. What’s really important is that we learn to like ourselves.


What is it like to be young and gay?

Still more good news… there is no ‘right’ way or ‘wrong’ way to be gay! Because of stereotypes, you might think you have to be a certain way if you’re gay. Forget that.

Gay men come in every possible description. Your sexual orientation is only one part of who you are. You probably have hobbies and interests that are the same as your heterosexual friends.

However, because of homophobia and prejudice, some people don’t accept others who are gay. Gays and lesbians may suffer from discrimination and violence. It’s not easy to discover you are gay. People tend to hate or fear what they don’t understand, and many people don’t understand being gay. Some people are just uncomfortable being around gay men or lesbian women.

Knowing this, you might choose to hide your gay feelings from others, or even hide them from yourself. Maybe you avoid other kids who might be gay because of what people will think. When we work this hard to conceal our thoughts and feelings, it’s called being in the closet. It can be a painful and lonely place to be, even if we stay there to survive.

You may have become so unhappy that you’ve tried alcohol or other drugs to numb these feelings. As the unhappiness gets worse, it can make you depressed. If the depression has gotten bad enough, you may even have considered suicide. That’s one of the reasons why there are many gay and lesbian support organizations.

If you are having problems like these, please look in the phone book for the Teen Hotline or another hotline. There are some terrific alternatives! Many of the support organizations for gay offer a wide variety of services, from social groups, where you can meet other gay friends, to counseling. Check out the resources listed on this site.


Who should I tell?

The process of becoming comfortable with your sexuality and accepting yourself as a gay male is known as ‘coming out.’ When we become comfortable enough to tell others, that’s called ‘coming out to them.’

While it can be important for other people to know about us, it is more important that we use good judgment about telling. Some friends may tell other people without your permission. Family members can be the most difficult people to tell. Even though some families are very supportive, some gay youth have been kicked out of their homes when their parents found out. Only you can decide whether or not to tell your family and choose the right time.

It’s important to have someone with whom to talk. Think about using some of the resources listed on this site. If you are unable to do so, consider whether there is a guidance counselor, social worker, or teacher in you school you can trust.


Will I ever have sex?

Of course you will, but don’t rush into it! IT is never easy to hear that we should ‘take things slowly.’ Or ‘wait until we are older.’ However, when it comes to sex, these ideas can apply.

It is completely normal for you to think about finding an outlet for your sexual feelings. During our teen years we are frequently preoccupied with sexual thoughts and fantasies. The notion of actually having sex with another man may scare you. That’s okay. It’s the same for a lot of us, especially the first time.

Most importantly, you should only decide to have sex when you feel ready. You’ll know when it’s time for you. Never let yourself be pressured into it. If he cares enough about you to share himself sexually, he should care enough to wait until you are ready.

What actually happens when gay men have sex varies greatly. Practices include kissing, hugging, massage, wrestling, holding hands, cuddling, more intimate sexual acts or anything else that appeals to both partners. Remember, you are in complete control over what you do sexually and with whom.


What about AIDS?

You may be tired of hearing about AIDS, but believe it or not, some people still don’t have the facts.

  • Being gay does not cause Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); it is caused by the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV).
  • Unprotected sexual activities involving exchange of body fluids (semen or blood) between partners greatly increase the risk of becoming HIV positive. Also, sharing needles for injecting drugs greatly increases the chance of becoming HIV+.
  • The virus can remain dormant in someone’s body for many years. Some estimates are as long as ten years before symptoms of the AIDS disease begins. Other victims become ill and die within just a couple of years.
  • There currently is no vaccination against HIV.
  • There currently is no cure for AIDS.

To help decrease the risk of contacting AIDS:

  • Do not share needles.
  • Choose sexual activities that do not involve intercourse. Maybe try hugging, kissing, talking, massaging or masturbation on unbroken skin.
  • Avoid anal intercourse (placing the penis inside someone’s rectum). If you do engage in anal intercourse, use a new LATEX condom every time. Condoms made of natural materials (lamb skin, etc.) break down and allow the virus through.
  • Use a new LATEX condom every time you engage in oral sex.
  • Use LATEX condoms with ‘reservoir tips.’ Be sure to squeeze the air out from the tip as you put it on. Keep it on throughout the entire sex act. Hold onto the condom as you remove the penis; it can slip off after sex.
  • If you use lubricants, make sure they are water based. Petroleum-based lubricants, like Vaseline, weaken all condoms (even latex).

Especially in this age of AIDS, sex is a serious topic. It’s one to consider with maturity and armed with knowledge.


How can I meet other GLBT youth?

Most big cities, even some smaller ones, have programs like HATCH. Google "LGBT youth" or "GLBT youth" and the name of your city and see what pops up.

Maybe your high school or college campus has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) or support group. You might have to ask a teacher or student you really trust to get more information on this. If there isn't one, consider starting one! GLSEN has lots of GSA resources on their website.

Look for a GLBT newspaper or magazine in your area to see what youth organizations and events you can attend. You'll most likely find these in coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants and other businesses in or near the "gay part of town," though every city has a pre-dominantly GLBT neighborhood.

Be careful when trying to connect online. Not everyone is who they say they are. If you decide to meet up with someone you met online, meet in a public place where there are plenty of other poeple. NEVER agree to meet someone at their home or in an unfamiliar place. If you are minor (under 18), NEVER trust an adult stranger who chats with you privately or wants to meet you. What they are doing may be illegal, and it is dangerous to you!




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