I am very confused as to what my sexuality is. Sometimes, I think I am straight because I am attracted to girls but sometimes, I will see a good looking man and be attracted to him and wonder if I could be bisexual, and sometimes even gay. I'm really depressed because I want to know who I am, but I can't seem to figure it out. Please help.
I understand that this is a confusing and stressful time for you and I am sorry that you are feeling depressed but I am really glad that you reached out to Dear Trevor for help. You demonstrate great strength and courage in your honest and open thinking about your sexual orientation. It is wonderful that you are seeking to better understand yourself and that in your search, you are able to be open with yourself about your feelings. Hopefully, you can be proud of that.
It may help you to feel better knowing that you are absolutely not alone in feeling confused about your sexuality and that all the attractions you're having are a very normal, healthy part of development. Some people are sure of their sexual orientation as children, others as teens while others continue to question this as adults. Teens often feel pressure to define themselves and it might help to give yourself time to understand your sexual orientation. Dealing with your sexuality can be exciting but also difficult, confusing and scary, it is understandable that you may be feeling down and overwhelmed right now in trying to figure this out. You said that you are attracted to girls but also find yourself being attracted to good looking men. This may mean you're bisexual or gay but maybe not. In thinking about your 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 (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 http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=726&Itemid=336 you'll find the publication "I Think I Might Be Gay...Now What Do I Do?” which can help you figure out if the feelings you're having for guys may mean you're gay. On www.wsmsh.org.uk/coming-out/comeout.html you’ll find more information on what it means to be gay. 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. On http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=724&Itemid=336 you'll find the publication "I Think I Might Be Bisexual...Now What Do I Do?" Some bisexual people have equal feelings for guys and girls, some have greater feelings for guys while others have stronger feelings for girls. It might also help to look at the online guide called: “Be Yourself: Questions and Answers for LGBT Youth” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Be_Yourself_TT.pdf. Tyler, please know that just because you have questions does not imply that you must now or ever label yourself. Sexuality is quite fluid and develops over time so it is perfectly acceptable to be unsure. It may make you feel less anxious if you can try to give yourself some space to breathe, learn and explore your different feelings and attractions with different people. You will eventually figure out who you are. What’s most important is that you’re comfortable with you.
It can help to talk about your questions with someone you trust such as a friend, parent, relative, doctor, teacher or school counselor. It can also help to talk with other LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) young people who are or have struggled with similar issues around their sexuality and learn what has helped them understand their sexual orientation. If your school has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) you might attend some meetings. You can connect with your peers by calling the GLBT National Youth Talkline at 800-246-7743. You can also 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 including in your own community.
It would also be important to talk with a trusted adult about your feelings of depression in order to get the help you need. During the discussion, you don't have to talk about your sexuality if you don’t feel comfortable. Depression can make you isolate from your friends and family, cause you to be tired all the time and take away your motivation to do things, make you not enjoy the things you usually like to do, make you sleep and eat much less or much more than usual and make you see everything in your life in a negative way. Getting the mental and emotional help you need from an experienced mental health professional such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist can help you feel more positive and capable to work through your sexuality. It's also important to deal with and treat the depression because it can get more severe if it's not dealt with. You can ask a trusted adult for help finding a mental health professional or you can find an LGBT-friendly therapist near you by contacting the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists at 215-222-2800 or visiting their website at www.aglp.org.
To discuss your questions and concerns about your sexuality and your feelings of depression, you can always call The Trevor Helpline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR. Our sensitive, knowledgeable counselors are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They answer many calls from young people who are trying to understand their sexuality. Tyler, please know that you are not alone and the Trevor Project is always here to listen and help you.