Hello Trevor, my name's Tarcisio and I am in doubt about my sexual orientation.
I'm in love with a girl but also think some guys are handsome and attractive.
Does it mean I'm gay? I live in a family where there's no tolerance for homossexuality and just thinking about it makes me feel that I'm the beast of the family. Also, I'm a Christian I think the world could end for me if i were gay.
Thank you for contacting the Trevor Project. Its brave of you to reach out to us in your time of confusion and doubt. Looking for help and advice was a very smart thing to do. Its scary when you're in doubt about your sexuality, and sometimes it makes you feel like you can't talk to anyone about it. Thank you for asking for some guidance. We want to be there for you!
It is completely normal to be in doubt about your sexual orientation. Thousands of people around the world have doubts about their sexuality. Some people talk about it, and others live their lives not telling anyone about it. But it doesn't matter, because questioning your sexuality is totally normal. Its society, and sometimes the people in our lives that make us feel like its not normal to think you're anything else but straight. Whether you are straight, or gay, you are ok!
However, thinking that guys are attractive or handsome does not necessarily mean you are gay. For example, I'm gay, but I admire women sometimes for how beautiful they are! Its completely normal. It doesn't mean I'm straight, I just appreciate beauty in girls. Gay men can look at some girls and think: "wow, she's pretty!" but it doesn't mean they want to have sex with them. My friend came up with a funny saying that I remember: "its like admiring a horse…you can admire how beautiful the horse is, but it doesn't mean you want to have sex with it!"
What really stinks is that you will grow up around other guys who will tell you that you are automatically gay for thinking other guys are attractive. Its too bad, because that makes a lot of straight boys insecure, and they think its taboo to express any affection or physical admiration for other men. Straight men don't want to do that because they think "I'd better not say that guy looks handsome, or people will think I'm gay." That also makes a lot of straight men feel threatened when another guy thinks they are attractive. They don't want other people to think they are gay. There is tremendous stigma nowadays about expressing affection towards other men. You're sometimes automatically labeled as gay! But straight women are allowed to think other women are pretty, without receiving as much criticism. Its a really stupid contradiction. Its just a flaw that our culture has.
But don't let that get you down! If you choose to identify as straight, nobody can shake that. Its ok to think other men are attractive. It is my belief that most heterosexual men admire other men, they just won't admit it out loud, out of fear of being thought of as gay.
However I must stress that it is also completely fine if you realize you are gay. Ask yourself questions when you think another guy is attractive. Do you feel attracted to him physically? Do you desire to have sex with him? Asking these questions will help you understand yourself better. Maybe you are straight and just happen to admire men more often than other straight men, or maybe you are gay! Or maybe you are bisexual! Questioning yourself should be a curious, fun thing instead of something that makes you feel sad. I know it can be scary, but as you grow older, you may choose to identify as something different than straight, and that is completely natural!
I'm sorry your family is not accepting about homosexuality. That must be very hard for you since they are your family. It can be hard being constantly surrounded by people who you know might not be accepting of who you are. It hurts a lot, and most of us at The Trevor Project, and thousands of people around the world, know exactly what that feels like. Your family may not be accepting of homosexuality, but there are so many people who do! As you get older and meet new people, you will find that your family's opinion is only one opinion, and isn't necessarily right. Don't let your family bring you down. You are who you are, Tarcisio! Love yourself, because The Trevor Project cares about you and we want you to feel confident about who you are, if you choose to identify as gay, straight, or bisexual.
Its very scary to think of yourself as gay in your family. Its scary because you feel different, like an outcast. You're afraid of being judged or rejected. You're terrified of how they would react. The pain can be overwhelming, and its terrifying. I know everything you are going through. But over time (if you decide you might be gay), that fear of being different, will transform into a love of yourself for being special. Being different is amazing and beautiful. When you realize that, I promise you that other people's opinions won't matter! People who don't accept homosexuality, are just scared and ignorant. If you have to face ignorance or fear in your family, it will only make you stronger! Let yourself be you. You can love your family, but it doesn't mean you have to believe everything that they believe! Like I said before, your family's opinion is only one opinion. There are thousands of people in the world, and large communities of people everywhere, both Christian and non-Christian, who would love and accept you for who you are, if you are gay. Your family is a very small group of people!
Your world would not end if you realized you were gay (even though you are not necessarily gay). It may seem that way, but if you understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay, that it is normal, natural, beautiful, and special, then you don't have to suffer. Many Christians (possibly some in your family) believe homosexuality isn't natural. Did you know that over 1500 species of animals exhibit homosexual behavior? So how can homosexuality be unnatural if so many animals have a natural inclination to engage in homosexuality? Did you also know that same-sex relationships have been recorded in the history of almost every culture? Also, the following organizations say that homosexuality should't be "treated," that it is not a choice , and cannot be changed: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Medical Asscociation, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Secondary School Principals, etc…
Also did you know that The number of gays and lesbians in the U.S. is estimated to be about 8.8 million?
Please check out the following resources that will help you understand yourself better, and help you feel better about questioning yourself. These websites tell you more about the positive and affirming side of Christianity and homosexuality: http://www.gaychristian.net/video/answers.php, http://www.gaychristianonline.org/, http://christiangays.com/. Also please watch this video from a very good documentary about homosexuality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKqKsXdokCM. Please check out this website about questioning your sexuality: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=726&Itemid=177.
Also, I read the book "Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality," written by a strong Christian pastor. I highly recommend the book if you think you might be gay and need support. The book addresses the parts of the Bible that some people use to condemn homosexuality.
You can also check out TrevorSpace on the Trevor Project website. It is a great place to find other questioning youth who are going through similar situations. Also feel free to write to us again, or call our hotline: 866-488-7386 if you need to talk to someone when you are sad or lost, or if you are in crisis.
Remember Tarcisio that it is ok to think other guys are attractive and that it doesn't necessarily mean you are gay. But it is also wonderful and natural if you discover you are gay or bisexual. Please love and take care of yourself, and don't let other people's opinions affect you too much. There are so many people out there who understand you and who you are, including us at the Trevor Project. Please reach out to us again if you need more help or advice!
The Trevor Project