Hi. I don’t exactly know a lot about this website but I came here for help. I was watching Glee the other night and The Trevor Project commercial came on. Ever since I’ve seen it, I’ve been thinking about coming here. Ok so about a month ago I thought I was gay and I thought I came I terms with it so I came out to my best friend and she took it well but she was really surprised. But lately, I’ve noticed I still have some type of attraction to guys but I still think about girl. Everything is so confusing because of it. I cut about 2 weeks ago but I haven’t since. Its healed now and all that’s left is scars… they just remind me of why I did it and that’s because this is way too confusing for me. I mean… thinking about girls turns me on but thinking about guys doesn’t have that same effect on me anymore. I can’t really talk to my family about this because I am scared they won’t understand. I thought about talking to my mom about it but me and her aren’t very close, neither are me and my dad. I almost talked about it with my brother but he started laughing so I just decided not to talk about it. Now, I’m going to homecoming with a guy named David. It just doesn’t feel right. Can you help me try to understand any of this? And can you just try to help me with all this… like what to do and stuff? Can I get some advice? Please.
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I’m so glad you saw the commercial and decided to look into the Trevor Project. I’m sorry for taking so long to answer your letter–we recently transitioned to a new website and had some technical difficulties. It’s wonderful that you had the courage to come out to your best friend and that you are thinking about talking about it with your family. You mentioned that only a month before writing the letter you thought you were gay and thought you came to terms with it. Figuring out your sexuality and coming out is a whole process, and it can take people a long time. It sounds like you still have some confusion over who exactly you’re attracted to, and that’s totally ok!! In trying to understand your sexuality, it might help to remember that sexual orientation involves emotional, romantic as well as physical feelings and attraction for people of both genders (bisexual), people of the same gender (lesbian and gay), and people of the opposite gender (heterosexual or straight). It can also help to think about whom you have crushes on and who you fantasize about being with girls, boys or both.
As for coming out to your family and others, it’s your decision if and when you do so. What’s most important is that you’re safe and comfortable. It can let people in your life know about an important part of your life, it can help you to feel less alone, meet new friends as well as possibly meet people to date. In trying to figure out whether or not to come out, it can help to ask yourself some questions including: What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Does it cause you a lot of stress worrying about them finding out? Are you worried that if you told your family or your friends, you’d be unsafe physically or emotionally? If you told your parents, are you concerned that they might kick you out of the house? If you decided to tell them and they did kick you out, it would be important to have a safety plan, meaning a safe place where you could live and continue to go to school and a way to support yourself financially. Some people decide to wait until they are living away from home and are financially independent before telling members of their family about their sexual orientation/gender identity. If you feel now is the right time, that’s absolutely fine. What is most important is that you are comfortable and safe. There’s a good guide to coming out to parents here: http://amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/youthresource-comingout
You also mentioned that you cut. People cut as a way of dealing with or managing difficult, painful, overwhelming emotions or stress. For some, cutting relieves stress or tension or they find that the physical pain of cutting is a distraction from the emotional pain. It’s important for you to know that cutting may help you to feel better briefly but the longer it goes on, the more dangerous it can become as it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, and sometimes life threatening medical problems especially if you cut a major blood vessel. It can also cause you to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control.
If you feel like cutting, there are lots of ways to help yourself feel better without putting yourself at risk. Think about how you feel before and after you cut yourself. If cutting helps to release anger, you might try getting the anger out in another way like hitting a pillow, stomping around in heavy shoes, ripping up an old newspaper or flattening aluminum cans. If cutting helps you when you’re sad, do whatever makes you feel taken care of and comforted. That may be listening to certain songs, calling a friend or eating a favorite food. Sometimes, writing in a journal or drawing/painting helps a person to feel better. For some people, doing something physical like running outdoors or yoga can help relieve stress. If the cutting helps you to feel less numb, do something that creates a sharp physical feeling like putting your hand briefly in ice water or stamp your feet on the ground). There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about cutting as well as additional things you can do when you have the urge to cut.
If you are still cutting, it’s important to tell a trusted adult in order for them to find a therapist for you to work with to find safer and healthier ways to deal with the hard things you’re going through. When you have the urge to cut, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.
You might be interested in joining Trevorspace.org, the Trevor Project’s online social network for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great 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/gender identity. We’re here for you!