Lets start with the beginning of my 6th grade year. My first year of middle school I developed a crush for one of my best guy friends, lets call him JD. From the beginning of 6th grade up until seventh grade, when he graduated I had the biggest crush on him and only him. During the summer between 7th and 8th grade I found myself starting to notice girls a little bit more than I had in the past. When my 8th grade year began I still had a crush on JD, but it was slowly starting to fade away and I found myself still noticing girls a little more than I used to. Graduation came and the feelings I had for girls had grown bigger than the crush I had on JD. This past summer (my summer between 8th and 9th grade) I found myself completely oblivious to guys and only noticing girls. These feelings really scared me because I’ve been brought up not to hate gay people but just to know that homosexuality is a sin, and if I like someone of the same gender it is wrong and I will go to hell. Over the course of the summer I came to a conclusion that I like girls and guys, but I wasn’t going to tell anyone. So 9th grade started in September and on the first day of school the first sexual attraction I had was to a girl and ever since then I’ve found myself not even trying to look for a possible cute guy anymore, only girls. I’ve only noticed one guy and had one real attraction to a guy before and that was JD, but once he was out of my life I haven’t had any attractions to a guy. The only crush I have is on a girl, and the only gender I can seem to notice are girls. I guess the reason why I call myself bisexual is because I’ve never really been in a relationship with either gender so I’m not 100% sure what its like with either. As it stands now I feel as though I’m leaning more towards liking girls, but there’s still that one part of me telling me there is no way I can be gay. Do you think its too soon for me to tell whether or not I like guys girls or both being that I haven’t experienced either? If I am gay should I come out to my parents if that means disappointment or their disapproval?? One more question, what is a good way I could go about figuring out which gender I like?
Letter submitted by:
I’m glad you wrote. It takes a lot of courage to bring things like this up, and the fact that you’re thinking about this in the way you are indicates that you are a very mature and self-aware person. The questions you have are common ones, especially for people your age. You are getting to know yourself and figuring out who you are, which is pretty awesome.
I can understand why you are wondering if it is too soon to identify yourself in terms of your sexuality since you’ve had strong feelings for JD and also for girls. While your stronger feelings towards girls and the fact that you haven’t had a crush on a guy in awhile may mean that you are attracted to only girls, that is not something anyone but you can truly say. What you feel and what makes you happy is ultimately the most important thing when it comes to sexual identity.
It’s also not something you have to figure out right now; sexual identity can be fluid and doesn’t need to fit into a label. Some people call themselves lesbian, bisexual, queer, gay … the list goes on. Just like with other aspects of you, it’s completely personal, can evolve with time, and is something to be proud of. I know it can be frustrating and you might just want to know the answer… but there is no deadline for this, and the process of figuring this out can be exciting.
Regarding coming out to your parents, this is a decision that only you can make, and one that does not need to be rushed. If you do decide to come out to them at some point and you’re worried about what they might say, you could provide them with some resources. There’s a great organization called PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) that you could look into with them: http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2. They have a Philadelphia chapter which offers some events in the area as well: http://www.pflagphila.org/.
It can also be helpful to read about others’ experiences about coming out – keeping in mind that everyone’s story is different and each experience is unique. This article tells the story of a girl named Erin who came out to her parents when she was 17: http://teens.webmd.com/features/coming-out-as-lgbt-teen.
You mentioned growing up believing that homosexuality is a sin. While this is a commonly-held belief in many churches, there are plenty of religious organizations and churches that are LGBTQ-affirming. I know it can be difficult to reconcile who you are with a belief you grew up with, but please know that who you are is not something that has to exist independently of your faith. There are lots of online resources that address this. Here is one: http://www.gaychristian.net/aboutgcn.php. That site offers information as well as message boards that you can explore.
It also looks like there is a gay-friendly church in your town (http://www.templelecm.org/) and others in PA as well (http://www.gaychurch.org/Find_a_Church/united_states/us_pennsylvania.htm). I don’t know your denomination or if you’re interested, but perhaps you can check one of these places out – on your own, with a friend, and maybe even someday with your parents.
Your final question – if there is a good way to go about figuring out which gender you like – is a great one. Unfortunately there is no concrete way to figure this out; but the way you wrote about your feelings in your letter and the fact that you are thinking about these things in such a mature way means that you actually are going about this in a good way. Only you can know how you truly feel, and that awareness will grow as you do. Keep doing what you’re doing and keep an open mind. Something that could help, if you feel comfortable, might be writing in a journal. You did a great job of outlining your thoughts and feelings in your letter and sometimes writing can be really helpful when you’re trying to figure personal things like this out. Also, if you have a friend you trust, maybe you can discuss these things with that person too.
Something I want you to keep in mind is that whether you realize you are bisexual, lesbian, gay, in-between, or anything else, you should be proud of who you are and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Being LGBTQ is completely normal and you are never alone in your journey. You can go to Trevorspace (www.trevorspace.org), which is the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people and their friends/allies ages 13 to 24. Trevorspace offers a supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality. Trevorchat (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat) is another Trevor resource, if you’d like to chat with someone in real time. You can also write back to us through Ask Trevor.
We at The Trevor Project are always here for any other questions you may have, and we wish you luck and happiness as you continue your journey.
The Trevor Project