Hi! My name is Jake. I am gay, and have known that since I was 8. I am now 13 and getting really bothered. I want to tell my parents I am gay, but I know they will disown me. They have even said that if their son was gay he wouldn't be allowed to live there (not directly to me, but I overheard them). Should I tell them?
Also I REALLY want a relationship, but I live in a homophobic community. I think I may be the only gay boy in my town. There is one guy who I am friends with that I think is gay. Should I just ask him if he is gay, or what?
I can understand how frustrating (and scary) your situation must be. However, you are the only one who can - or should - decide when it is the right time to come out to your parents. If you really think your parents would disown you if you came out to them, it is important for you to consider your safety and well-being before you take this step. Is there a more sympathetic adult (school counselor? teacher? an aunt?) who you might confide in first? Many of us fear being rejected by our family and friends, but are often surprised by their reactions when we do come out—even those who have said homophobic things previously. Sometimes your biggest supporters are the ones who you suspect it from the least. But sometimes people don’t behave as we would like them to, so you need to take the time to weigh the risks of coming out against the positive experience of finally letting people know this part of you.
I am confident that you are not the only gay boy in your town or even your school. I can also assure you that you are not alone in feeling like you are all alone. As far as your friend is concerned, you are again the only one who can decide if it would be ok to ask. Perhaps you could “feel him out” first by asking about his feelings about gay people in general. How about bringing up a TV show with gay characters? While it would be great if he responded the way you hope, be prepared for a response that is not positive. You also should consider whether he would be likely to tell others and how that might be for you.
I encourage you to go to www.trevorspace.org. Trevorspace is a social nertworking site for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth for their friends and allies.
As always, you are encouraged to talk over these issues with someone on our Helpline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386). S/he may also be able to provide you with some resources in your area. You’d be surprised: even small towns these days frequently have gay-friendly groups and organizations.