I really don’t know how people find happiness being homosexual. It just seems like an empty lifestyle that I want no part of. I’ve met numerous “gay” (whatever the hell that means) people, and they are not friendly; they all seem mean, self-loathing, and vain. I don’t want to be a part of that culture, and I feel like American culture does not offer people like me any alternative. I either join the fairies in their little parades, or I look for unemotional sex online–all contact, but no spark.
I have been to two counselors, and neither one was sensitive to me. Both tried to push me on other people, which was offensive. The second counselor insisted on calling me “gay” (I don’t like that term).
I’m 22, and I teach English at a university as a grad student. I feel like my students have more life experience than I, which makes me feel like I’m worthless. I’ve never dated. I’ve never kissed. I’ve never had sex. I don’t know how to do these things unless I become something I strongly dislike.
I also met a boy about a year ago, and I think I really fell in love with him. I was his kind of his boss, so we didn’t hang out until I left that role. We get drunk some nights. On Halloween, we fell asleep together on my bed. When we woke up, we teased each other and had pillow talk. He let me touch him and bury my nose in his shoulder. He smiled at me as we just looked at each other. He wouldn’t let me hold him, though, when I asked. It was one of the few times in my life where I felt happy.
I once, in a drunken frenzy, told him that I wanted something with him, that I loved him, and said he couldn’t have anything with me. He’s a lot like me; he hates his homosexuality, too.
I don’t know what to do, and the more I think about how unhappy this kind of life is, the more I don’t want to live it. Every day for the last several months, I’ve thought about killing myself. How can I find happiness with this kind of life? I don’t have a family that cares about me. Aside from the boy I mentioned, I don’t have friends who care about me.
You aren’t alone with these thoughts, even if you feel alone today. Homosexual people throughout the world feel a range of reactions to whatever the dominant “gay culture” is in their society (if there is one at all). That is true here in the U.S. as well. The fact is there are many different kinds of people with many different lifestyles who identify as either “gay” or “homosexual”. Keep in mind that although you see others leading an “empty lifestyle” there are as many ways to live as a homosexual American as there are homosexuals in America. You have the power to create your OWN lifestyle that you will be proud of, and that is the most important thing to remember. In doing so, you CAN find happiness in this kind of life, because your life will be what you want to make of it – not necessarily the life you see of gay people depicted on TV or people you have met so far who identify as gay, but rather the life you choose to make it
Of course, our deepest concern here at The Trevor Project is always any contemplation of suicide. Ending your life robs you of the opportunity to create a rich and fulfilling life for yourself that will be the kind of lifestyle you would be proud of, based on your own values, ethics, and morals. If you ever find yourself taking steps to end your life, please immediately call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately.
Thinking about suicide on a daily basis is a sign of very serious depression – depression that cannot often be alleviated without a network of support of family and friends as well as members of the medical community. It seems you recognize the need to save yourself from these suicidal thoughts. We would strongly encourage you to call us at 1-866-4-U-Trevor to talk with one of our trained counselors who can help you form a strategy for finding the right pathway for you toward a fulfilling life. Please talk with us or another trained professional before another day goes by that you think about ending your life! Our counselors are really happy and willing to talk with you as long as it takes to begin finding a way to resolve these issues that are getting you down.
One of the things our lifeline counselors might suggest is that you find a way to meet regularly with a therapist, which you noted you have already done in the past. Although your previous two counselors didn’t work out for you, it is worth it to keep trying to find one who you DO connect with and whose guidance you respect. We believe that is the positive experience you would have talking with one of our lifeline counselors as well. Please understand that some counselors have not specifically been trained to deal with issues regarding sexual orientation nor have specific experience in working with homosexual people, and it can sometimes take time to find the right fit with a counselor. But when you do find the right person to work with, it can be a HUGE benefit to you. The right therapist or other healthcare professional can often help you work out strategies to figure out the kind of person you want to be, can help you choose a label for yourself, if you are interested in that, for your sexual orientation and feelings, and can help you figure out ways to meet other people like yourself and who can make you feel happy about life. On http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases/ you can search for mental health services in your area. You could also contact the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists by calling 215-222-2800 or by visiting their website at www.aglp.org for help in finding someone in your area for you to talk and work with.
One of the things we hope working with a counselor can help you realize is that not all homosexual people are vain, self-loathing, or mean, even if those are the kind of homosexual people you unfortunately have met so far in life. Rather, there are a huge range of different kinds of gay-identifying and homosexual people who lead a huge range of different lifestyles. We here at Trevor include a number of heterosexual and homosexual people all of whom lead different lives. Some people live in cities, some in suburbs and some in rural areas. Some choose to make their “gay” identity a huge part of their existence – visiting gay clubs, watching TV shows about gay people, volunteering for LGBT organizations – others choose to make that just one trait of their lives out of many that isn’t particularly important on a day-to-day basis. Homosexual people work in all professions, whether education like yourself, scientific research, government, our nation’s Armed Forces, business, medicine and law, and in doing so they are productive members of society, often putting service to others ahead of themselves. Some date frequently, others choose to not date; some are married and monogamous and have children through either adoption or surrogacy, and others instead choose to enjoy the company of extended family. The reality is, these chooses are all yours to make, and there are other young men who make similar choices and who share your values. The choice is not as stark or as diametric as between “fairies at the parade” and “emotionless sex online”. Please, TRUST US.
You mention that at times you feel that your undergraduate students have more life experiences that you. This is a major clue for you and an important insight you have identified. It suggests that you have a lot more living to do and experiences to have on the road to finding the life you will find most satisfying. Embrace this journey. Try ways of reaching out to other young men, such as by creating a profile on a site such as okcupid.com or joining our social network, Trevor Space (www.trevorspace.org) and be specific about what you are looking for, what aspects of homosexuality you reject and which you embrace so that you can connect with people you feel comfortable with. You may also find that some people will challenge your views; try to respect the range of different lifestyles, labels, likes and dislikes that others have – you by no means have to adopt them as your own nor should you feel pressured to.
Although you may not have heard supportive things from family or friends about homosexuality, we here at the Trevor Project believe that all sexual orientations are valid, healthy, and natural. Although you may not have the supportive network of family and friends you would want, it is possible to start putting together such a network. There is an organization called (www.pflag.org) created by the parents of those who identify as gay or homosexual, lesbian, etc. You may want to look on PFLAG’s website and find the chapter nearest you and contact them. There you can find some parental role models who have raised homosexual young men successfully and who will be happy to offer you support if you are dealing with these weighty issues without the support of your own family.
Finally, we just want to touch on something hopeful that makes us smile from your letter. It is the part where you mentioned that you found yourself in love with another guy and it made you feel happy. Know that you can find that kind of happiness with someone again, and it need not be a “fairies at the parade” experience nor an experience of emotionless sex. Rather, it can be an experience where you find yourself a best friend – someone who understands you, and can talk with you until all hours of the night, and who will respect you and love you back as well. You may find it challenging to find this kind of love and happiness with someone who hates homosexuality. Rather, it might be most beneficial to you to try to find someone who is accepting and happy about his own homosexuality, but who, like you, rejects the meanness and vanity that you have experienced in a broader “gay” culture. In doing so, you may once again find that happy feeling that you experienced with a guy once before, but can also turn it into something that is sustained.
Do not at all hesitate to write back to us or call us at any time, because we know the struggle to overcome loneliness and unhappiness, as well as answer the question “who am I?” is one that can take a long time, and we want to continue to partner with you as you do so.
The Trevor Project