How do you know that you are gay or bisexual?
You're asking a very important question about yourself, namely how you figure out your sexual orientation. Many people of all ages question their sexuality so you are definitely not alone and it's absolutely okay to question yourself. Remember that being gay and bisexual are natural and normal. When you eventually feel comfortable with your sexual orientation (be it gay or bisexual), you will hopefully find the confidence to be happy and comfortable with you.
Remember that sexual orientation involves not just physical attraction but also emotional and romantic feelings and attractions for people of both genders (bisexual), people of the same gender (gay and lesbian) and people of the opposite gender (straight). In trying to understand your sexuality, it can help to think about who you have crushes on and who you fantasize about being with, guys, girls or both. On www.bisexual.org you'll find a lot of helpful information on bisexuality. If you click on resources, then bisexuality-general information, then "Bisexuality 101 from PFLAG" you can find information that may help. Some bisexual people have equal feelings for guys and girls, some have greater feelings for guys while others have stronger feelings for girls. PFLAG’s (Parents, Families & Friends Of Lesbians & Gays) “Be Yourself: Questions for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Be_Yourself_TT.pdf can be of further help as you try to understand your sexual orientation. The relationships you've had and will have with boys and girls will help you to figure out your sexual orientation. There may be times when you are in love with both boys and girls; at other times, you may only be in love with one or the other! Remember that there's no rush to figure all of this out. Try to give yourself the time to go through different feelings and experiences with different people. You'll know in time. In the meantime, try to enjoy the feelings of love and friendship you develop for others, regardless if they are for a boy or a girl.
One way to feel more comfortable with being gay or bi is to hang out with any gay or bi people you may already know or with some knew people. Try not to worry about what has to happen when you do because there are no rules that say you have to act a certain way when you spend time with them. You might talk with them about means to be gay and bisexual as well things that helped them understand their sexual orientation. In the process, you could make some new really good friends. If your school has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) you could attend some meetings. There are also places throughout Chicago for you to meet other LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) young people. The Center on Halsted (http://www.centeronhalsted.org/cohyouthprograms.html) provides a supportive and confidential environment for young LGBTQ young people to meet others. It is open Monday through Friday from 3-7pm at 3656 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60613 and can be reached by phone at 773.427.6469. In addition, online resources have also been helpful for questioning individuals. You could join Trevorspace at www.trevorspace.org the Trevor Project's safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It's a great supportive community where you can connect with young people all over the country. You may want to check out http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/main.cfm?actionid=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=cmpCampaignShow&campaign=youthresource&htmlUid=56f51ae1-7fa3-45d5-bc95-f95f3d3ee1bd&s=amplify where you can find links to stories written by young LGBTQ youth from around the country that describe the struggles and promises of gay and bi life. At http://www.mogenic.com, you will find an online community where you can meet other young gay and bi people from Chicago or beyond. With these websites, you may find people who have had similar questions about how to know if you are gay or bi who may share with you some of their experiences. As you try to understand whether or not you're bisexual, it can help to talk with someone you trust such as a friend, parent, relative, teacher or school counselor. If you feel comfortable, it can be really helpful to open up to someone who knows and cares about you.
If you would like to talk to someone about other ways to better understand whether you're gay or bisexual, you can always call the Trevor Helpline at 1.866.4.U.TREVOR (1.866.488-7386). Our understanding counselors are here for you 24 hours, 7 days a week. They answer many calls from young people who are trying to figure out their sexuality. Please know that you don't have to figure this out alone and that we're always here for you at The Trevor Project.