Right now, I’m so confused. I feel like I have nobody to talk to about this. I’ve been single for about 3 years now and dated guys before. But I’ve noticed dating the opposite sex as me I’ve always had problems with them, and I’ve noticed I might be attracted to the same sex as me. In my whole life, I’ve only dated two girls before. My first girlfriend really wasn’t what I expected and recently, I just broke up with the girl I just started going out with a week ago because I was so confused and needed my space to think. I always think there something’s missing but I don’t know what that something is. I still love her and she understands what I’m going through and she’s willing to wait for me. Sometimes I think it’s all I’ve been through that doesn’t allow me to love someone without thinking they're going to cheat on me or lie. But I’ve noticed when I go out with boys as dates or even just friends, there’s no connection. I feel much better when I’m with girls and that makes me think I might be a lesbian. I mean I have told some friends about it and they're cool with it but I never tried talking to my parents. Not even my dad because he wouldn’t stand knowing his little girl is a lesbian. I really don’t know what to do. I’m just confused.
As you’re experiencing, trying to understand your different feelings and attractions for people can be very confusing. When you’ve had negative experiences in relationships like it sounds like you’ve had, with people cheating on you and lying, that can affect the process of understanding your feelings and your sexuality. It took a lot of courage and strength to acknowledge and share your true feelings through your Dear Trevor letter and hopefully, you can be proud of yourself for your wisdom in reaching out for help to better understand yourself.
It sounds like the difficult time you’re having in trying to figure out your sexual orientation and determining if you are attracted to boys or girls or both is causing you some stress. Please know that although your different feelings are confusing, it is completely normal and understandable to have many feelings surrounding issues of sexuality and that people of all ages question their sexual orientation so you’re not alone. It’s also normal to worry about a family member’s possible reaction to your sexual orientation because it’s hard to know how they’ll respond-will they be accepting, will they change the way they treat you or will they even reject you? It’s wonderful that you felt comfortable enough to share your same-sex feelings and attraction with some of your friends and that they, along with your ex-girlfriend, were understanding. In thinking about sexual orientation, it might help to know that it involves not just physical attraction but also emotional and romantic feelings and attractions for people of both genders (bisexual), people of the same gender (lesbian and gay) 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. You may find it helpful to read the Advocates for Youth’s “I think I might be Lesbian. . . Now What Do I Do?” at http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/storage/advfy/documents/lesbian.pdf. 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. Remember that there's no rush to make a decision. Try to give yourself time to go through all your feelings and experiences with people. What's most important is that you're comfortable and happy with you.
As you try and figure out your sexuality, it can help to talk about your questions with someone you trust such as a friend, relative, doctor, teacher or school counselor. It seems that your past experiences of being lied to or cheated on may also be affecting your relationships. People who have been hurt in past relationships may feel vulnerable and afraid to make “too close” connections. It could be helpful, therefore, to seek out a trusted adult upon whom you could rely for mentorship and encouragement. As you’re working through these feelings, it can also help to connect with other LGBTQ young people. You may consider finding a local LGBT community center where you can attend social and support groups with other young people with whom you may more easily identify. I am not sure where in New York you are living, but you can visit The Trevor Project’s local resources page at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources.aspx and click on the state of NY on the interactive map to find a group near you. You could join Trevor Space at www.trevorspace.org, the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking community for LGBTQ youth ages13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can make new caring, nurturing friends and learn what’s helped them understand their sexual orientation. You might also speak with one of your peers by calling the GLBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743.
You took a very big step in talking with your friends about your sexuality and it’s very natural to also consider talking with your parents about this too. Before talking with them, it’s important to think about their potential reactions to your questions regarding your sexuality. It appears from your letter that you do not believe your father will be accepting if you choose to define yourself as lesbian. As nothing is more important than your safety, you do not have to discuss your sexuality with anyone unless you feel comfortable and ready. In trying to figure this out, it can help to ask yourself some questions: What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Does it cause you a lot of stress worrying about them finding out? Are you concerned that if you told your parents, you'd be unsafe physically or emotionally? Do you think that if you told them you were lesbian they will kick you out of the house? If you do decide to tell them and they did kick you out, it would be important to have a safety plan, meaning a safe place where you could live and continue to go to school and support yourself financially. Some people decide to wait to tell their parents about their sexuality until they are living away from home. If you feel that now is not the right time, that’s fine. What is most important is that you are comfortable and safe. In time, if you do decide to share this part of yourself with your parents or others, you might find the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at (http://www.hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdf helpful. If you decide to tell your parents about your sexuality, it can help to have some information available for them. PFLAG (Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is an organization that supports LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) people and helps parents and others become more supportive and understanding of the loved one's sexual orientation. On their website at www.pflag.org click on "get support" then click on "For Family & Friends" where you'll find the pamphlets called "Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of GLB People" and "Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People" which, if you felt comfortable, you might share with your parents. PFLAG also runs support groups where LGBT people can talk about issues they're having and where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they're having about a loved one's sexual orientation. On their website, you can find a chapter near you.
If you’d like to talk more about your questions about your sexuality and your feelings and thoughts about coming out to your parents, you can always call the Trevor helpline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor. Our counselors are warm and knowledgeable and are available for you 24 hours, 7 days a week. Lizbeth, you do not have to face these issues alone as we at the Trevor Project are always here to help you.