I have been gay since I was nine. I'm fifteen now and still don’t understand what to do—I feel like I don’t have anyone to tell. My family wouldn’t accept me as a gay child and my brothers act like I’m from a different planet. I keep telling myself that it’s a phase, but I get this excited feeling when I am around boys. I want to tell my best friend but I don’t think he would accept me. He is the one I like a lot, but he doesn’t know and I hate having secrets that I can't get out. I feel like I can't go on. What I hear from people around me and from my school is that I will go to hell. I cry because I don't know what to do. So my question to you is how I deal with accepting who I am and feeling comfortable with it? I'm lost and confused.
You show great maturity in having been able to acknowledge your sexual orientation at the age of 9. For many people, this recognition may not come until they are older. The difficulties you describe in accepting and feeling comfortable with yourself may relate to the unfortunate destructive messages that are expressed by some people and institutions in our society. These messages (for example: that you’ll “go to hell”) come from ignorance, bigotry and homophobia (fear of homosexuality) and at times, it can be difficult to break free from them. But contrary to what intolerant and/or ignorant people say, many believe that being gay is not a sin and it certainly does not have to mean a life of unhappiness. You can continue to go to school, get a good job, and have supportive friendships and even long-term romantic relationships.
Though you said that you don't have anyone to talk with about this, maybe there a counselor or understanding teacher at school with whom you would feel safe discussing it? If this is not the case, please call The Trevor Helpline at 866.4.U.TREVOR (866.488.7386). You will be connected with someone who is sensitive to the issues you’ve addressed in your letter.
We can't predict how people will react when we disclose our sexual orientation, so when unsure, it may be best to proceed in stages: first, you may want to feel out what your friend thinks about gay people in general—gage his reaction when you talk about a gay issue or movie. If that goes well, you might tell him that you believe you are gay. Remember, that just as you are taking time to process your sexual orientation, your friend may also need some time.
In terms of your family, you might consider contacting PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, www.PFLAG.org), an organization with chapters all over the country that provide support, understanding and education for families with gay children/brothers/sisters.
Please don't feel that you need to go through this alone, there are many organizations and people that will support you during this time.