Hi, I am really struggling with feelings of shame for being gay and I'm afraid I might never accept myself. Please, if you can help at all I am willing to try anything. I hate how much I hate myself and I want to be happy, but I can't see how I can be happy and gay. It has been getting worse as the days pass and now I shudder when I here the word gay in reference to me or close friends. I'm scared of what is happening please write back if you can help. I think I'm losing my ability to carry the load that comes with being gay. I shudder every time I write that word and it scares me.
For many gay people, acknowledging that they are gay can be a very difficult step. They often feel alone or that they are the only one. It shows tremendous emotional health that you have been able to acknowledge being gay. The negative and hurtful messages we often hear about being gay can make accepting and feeling good about who we are difficult. These messages can contribute to the shame and self-hatred that you are feeling. It's hard to ignore these messages. For many gay people, it takes a good deal of work to fight against the impact of these messages. It may be helpful in dealing with them and in accepting who are you to understand and remember that these messages come out of ignorance, fear and bigotry. In addition, when actors such as Harvey Fierstein and Rosie O'Donnell and Congressman Barney Frank speak openly, comfortably and proudly about being gay, they help to diminish the impact of these negative messages and help us move toward a more accepting and loving self.
It can also be extremely beneficial to have other gay people to talk with about these issues. But if you do not feel comfortable seeking out support within the gay community at this time, I would strongly encourage you to speak with a counselor about what you are going through. Please call our toll-free Helpline (1-866-4-U-Trevor), where you can speak with someone knowledgeable about and sensitive to the struggle with accepting one's sexual orientation. They can also provide referrals to local mental health—or gay--resources where you can discuss these issues further. Please don't feel that you have to go through this alone.