Hi I’m 16 and I have come out to my friend but not family. But the thing is I have had a lot of crushes on girls and me being a girl, I came out and said I’m a lez. But now I have come close to a guy that I’ve known since pre-k and I am crazy about him, but I’m not telling him that. He thinks I like girls and it would confuse him. I’m confused also.
I want to tell you first of all, that all the feelings you’re having are perfectly normal and healthy. Having attractions and feelings to someone, whether they are of the same gender or the opposite gender can really cause our heads to spin with all kinds of emotions and make us feel confused and wonder how we’re supposed to process those feelings and figure out what they mean. Having romantic feelings towards both boys and girls or just to girls or just to boys is a natural part of our mind and body, but where we sometimes find ourselves in all this is trying to apply the correct label to ourselves and define where we fit into the scheme of things. You may come out as lesbian, since you feel that you are indeed attracted to other girls. But at the same time, if you have feelings for boys as well, does not necessarily make you straight or not a lesbian, but perhaps bisexual. Since you know this boy for most of your life, you may have an idea of how he may react to your attraction to him. Regardless of whether you decide to tell him or not, the most important thing is for you to accept yourself and the feeling that you have as a normal part of your make-up. At 16, you are right in the big zone of maturing and developing feelings, which may lean to be more intense for one gender over another, or perhaps have a more even balance of attraction to both genders. Probably the most average idea of relationships are those between people of opposite sexes, that is male-female or “straight”, but believe me, there are many combinations and levels of feelings that people experience when it comes to who they’re attracted to physically and romantically. If you feel like you’re more attracted to girls, but still feel attraction to boys, then you might consider yourself bisexual; however, many women who are mostly attracted to other women will consider themselves lesbians, although they may still have some romantic, although small, attraction to men. These labels tend to peg us into ideas that we understand the meaning of who we are and what we feel our boundaries are. I think it’s a very good idea to understand where we fit in identifying our sexual orientation, to satisfy our own sense of who we are. Just know as well, that regardless of what sexual identity you find yourself, that there are many of us like you out there who found out along the way that we do not feel ourselves straight and still manage to be very happy people. Still, it still does not mean that our feelings won’t make us confused and flustered. I would like to also point out that your feelings of attraction are valid and real and are just a part of who you are: A normal, feeling person. In your case, you have experienced strong feelings to someone of your same gender and to someone of the opposite gender and are wondering where you true attraction lies. I do want to point out again that being attracted only to someone of your same gender is a very natural, normal thing as well as it is to be attracted to someone of the opposite sex. Not everyone feels the same and that is why there are so many varieties of people out there. At age 16, you are still maturing both physically and mentally, and it is true that you may find yourself developing attractions just as strongly for someone of the opposite gender, should you truly be bisexual. If it turns out that you only have romantic or sexual feelings to someone of your same gender, which is identified as being a lesbian for women, then those are the feelings that you have and should not be looked at in any negative way by yourself. I admit that it appears to be harder for our friends and family, when we use the labels we give ourselves, such as gay, lesbian or bisexual. However, labels that people have come up with is an attempt to provide some generic grouping to who we identify as. In many cases, there are people who cross the lines of these labels and cannot pin themselves down to one particular concept of what their identity is. As you get more life experience, you may find that your sexual identity goes one way or the other. At some point, however, you will find a place in yourself, where you feel more exact in your orientation and will still be able to accept yourself. I encourage you to already accept yourself as being a wonderful individual, who is identified by many things, where sexual attraction is just one of the things that makes up our fabric of individuality and personality.
I am going to share a few links here for you to look over that deals with people who are questioning where they fit into the scheme of things. I would also like for you to consider social networks, like the Trevor Space or Trevor Chat we have here at The Trevor Project, where you can simply be yourself and chat and share with many other people like yourself. You don’t have to be just gay or just lesbian or just bisexual to find a place here. All are welcome.
Here is an article about people with questions about those who feel like they may be lesbian: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=730&Itemid=177.
Here is a resource for those who question whether they might be gay: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?0ption=com_content&task=view&id=726&Itemid=336.
Here is a resource for questions about bisexuality http://www.bisexual.org.
North Carolina has the following resource for youth that you may find interesting. Our goal at the Trevor Project is to help you identify ways of feeling safe and organizations like ours who can provide those outlets: http://youthoutright.org.
Also, for your friends and family, there are also resources for them, such as PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, which offers supportive options for people who love and care about their friend or family member who is gay, bisexual, lesbian and also for our transgender friends (http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Be_Yourself_TT.pdf).
Know, that you are not alone and that we will always be here to help out. If you ever need to speak to anyone, you are always welcome to call our help line at 1-866-488-7386.
The Trevor Project