Hey, I’m a 15-year-old girl and I’m currently a bit questioning of my sexuality. I was and am still brought up where not many people are gay, or openly gay/bisexual. I know three people in my town who are. I’ve therefore never realized, until I was about 12, that girls could have feelings, or love a girl like that, in that way. I’m attracted to guys, but for the last few months, I’ve started getting feelings for my best friend, a girl. She’s very open and is very accepting of gays/lesbians etc. She’s told me she might be bisexual, but I don’t want to tell her anything, because I’m afraid of the outcomes. I figured I was attracted to girls, about 3 months ago, but mainly celebs, never anyone here, apart from my friend. I feel like I might be bisexual, and that if I fall in live with a guy, then I’ll be with a guy, but if I fall in live with a girl, then I’ll want to be with her. I don’t know quite how I feel about who I am, and would like any advice to help me. Thank you for doing this, it means so much.
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The questions you pose are healthy, common, normal questions that we receive dozens of times every month from teenagers around the country. You have exhibited a great deal of confidence and, importantly, self reflection in asking these questions to us and being open to learning more about yourself as you explore these feelings. Dealing with these issues are an important part of everyone’s growing up and being an adult.
Many young people at some point in their youth question whether or not they have attractions to people of the same sex – even if they also feel that they have primary feelings for people of the opposite sex. This is a perfectly natural part of growing up. What you should keep in mind is that you don’t have to make any definitive or permanent decisions about these feelings right away, nor do you have to share these feelings with anyone you don’t want to. This is for you to explore and consider on your time frame, and to inform people about whom you trust only when you feel the time is right. You should also keep in mind that many different outcomes are possible, and even that the feelings you have today may change over time – all of that is fine! You can decide at one point that you have feelings for both girls and guys, but you may realize later that your feelings for one or the other are stronger – or that you only have feelings for one or the other. And even those later feelings might go back as well.
Right now, you seem to be expressing feelings potentially for both girls and guys, and you’ve used one potential label, “bisexual”. You may want to read more about bisexuality as you try to categorize your own feelings and learn about other young women who have attractions to both sexes. One resource we recommend – because it lists many different things you can read – is the American Institute of Bisexuality’s Resource website, listed here: http://www.bisexual.org/resources.html
Another thing you might want to try is to talking with other teens outside of your community who also share feelings and attractions to both sexes. You can consider joining Trevor Space – the Trevor Project’s safe online social network for LGBTQ youth. You can set up a profile on that site, akin to Facebook, and talk with other teens whom share your feelings.
One thing for you to carefully consider is whether or not you want to talk to your friend about the feelings you have. There is no easy answer to the question, but here are some things to consider. First, it is a good sign that your friend says she might be bisexual, and is open to gay and bisexual people – that suggests that she would not react negatively if you talked to her about feelings for girls in general. However, she might not share your particular feelings and attraction to her and so you need to be aware that there is always the potential for some level of rejection when we share our attraction to someone with them. Do you think your friendship can handle that challenge?
Also, you need to consider the ramifications of other people finding out. Consider how much you trust your friend. Would you be embarrassed or put in any danger if she told other people in your school, town, your friends or family about your feelings for girls? You mentioned that not many people in your community identify as gay or bisexual – so consider how those in your community would react. You need to consider whether or not that is a good risk for you to take before you are older and more independent than you are today. If you want to talk through some of the pros and cons with out of our lifeline counselors, please feel free to call us at 1-866-4U-TREVOR any time of day and we can guide you through that (yes, that’s something you can use our lifeline for!). It might also help you if you can identify a trusted adult, including a school counselor, to talk about the idea of “coming out” before you do it.
Just remember Kate, its totally okay if right now you don’t feel totally sure about “who I am” as you mentioned. That is so perfectly normal at your age, and the rarely spoken secret is that in some way, everyone who is a teenager feels that way about something! It will be ok if you don’t sort out your feelings for a few years, and we hope you enjoy the process of learning about yourself. If you ever want to check in with us again, drop us another letter at Ask Trevor!