Recently I’ve really been questioning my sexuality for the first time in my life. I’m 17 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. because my whole life thus far I’ve really been focusing on school and my future career that I guess I’ve just never felt like I had room in my life for a relationship. It also might be because I think I might be a lesbian. I grew up in a very Christian household, I even went to a christian school for middle school where I was taught that it was wrong, and a sin to be gay. In high school I had a really close friendship with this guy named Kevin, whom I later found out was gay, and him among other things caused me to reevaluate my opinion of gay people. I think I might be gay because I’m attracted to some girls and and I don’t really think I’m attracted to guys other than just as friends. I want to experiment and figure out my sexuality but I’m also conflicted because I’m still a christian. I’m fine and accepting of the fact that other people are gay but I don’t wan’t to be gay because according to my religion it’s a sin. I also know that my parents aren’t very accepting of gay people and even though I know they’ll still love me I don’t think they’ll accept or love my sexuality. If I found out that I truly am a lesbian it would be really hard for me to come out to my parents. I want to experiment with my sexuality but I also want to wait until marraige to have sex, because I really think there’s something special about saving your virginity for that one special person. It feels wierd wanting to not have premarital sex but also being potentially gay because it sounds like I’m ok with sinning in one way but not in another. I don’t know, I just feel confused and lonely because I don’t know if anyone shares my beliefs. It’s just really hard to keep things a secret from everyone, I’ve been pretty down lately because I don’t know what I should believe or what I should do.
I am someone who understands how you feel. It sounds like you are exploring how you can reconcile your emerging self-identity with your family’s views and religious/cultural up-bringing. This kind of inner conflict can make us wonder whether or not we can ever find happiness and how we can fit into the world. I am here to tell you that you are indeed a beautiful person worthy of finding happiness in the way that you choose.
There are parents/family in this world who accept their children “no matter what” and sadly, there are those who do not. There are those who use religion as a way to condemn those of us who are gay. There are other religious traditions that do not necessarily condemn gay people, but view them as “sick” and their expression of love as inherently “disordered.” Well, people are free to have their own religious beliefs. I respect all religious beliefs as long as people do not use these to abuse, oppress or harm other people & groups.
All I can tell you is something from my own life experience. I have spent many years as a gay person working in homes taking care of terminally ill people (cancer & AIDS). I have spent many hours feeding, bathing, dressing and caring for the basic needs of hundreds of people of all religions/cultures as they spend their last days on earth. I have spent much of my life comforting these people in their agony of illness. I personally do not think I will be condemned to hell for being gay after caring for the terminally ill for so many years.
It is important to remember that being attracted to someone and loving someone, whether they be of the same or different sex, is the most normal thing in the world and a wonderful gift. I am convinced that being gay is entirely normal and natural, and the person who accepts himself/herself in this way is the one who finds happiness. It sounds like you are still in the process of questioning your attraction to others. I encourage you to give yourself some time in discerning this and see where your affections take you.
There are no real rules about why and when to talk about the issue of same-sex attraction with family/friends. The process is different for everyone depending upon their family, school, religion and the city/culture within which they live. So I encourage you not to feel pressured by anyone and to take things slowly. Remember that people who truly love you for who you are will not reject you. If people reject us due to their religious convictions, then there is not much we can do to change their minds. All we can do is be true to ourselves and radiate that goodness that will attract people who accept us for who we are.
Remember that there are good and bad people of every sexual orientation. I encourage you, therefore, to become friends with people who love and accept you for who you are. Beware of people who would try to use or abuse you in any way. Find a special person to love who respects you and will help you become a better person. People are attracted to you by the positive energy that you radiate. Radiate that goodness and I am quite sure a wonderful person will appear down the road somewhere. What I discovered over time is that we are ALL worthy of love, that we should be able to choose the one we love without fear and that life is VERY MUCH worth living.
As a help, you can always check out Trevorspace at www.trevorspace.org, the Trevor Project’s safe, on-line social networking site for LBGTQ young people ages 13-24, their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others.
Trust me when I say that you are a beautiful person who can find happiness and whose life is worth living! Remember always that it is never wrong to be yourself.