In 7th grade I caught myself having feelings for girls and not guys like everyone said I was supposed to. I have feelings for guys but it's rare to find a guy that I like.. but I like girls more. My friend said it's a phase and I'll probably be over it, but I'm scared if it won't. It's been years and I still question it. Am I really bi? Or a lesbian? How will I know who I really am..?
Also, my mom said that she would accept me if I'm bi or a lesbian; but she always tells me that I don't know who I really am at this age.. is there really an age to know your sexuality? I'm scared to come out to her that I have feelings for girls because she looks at me in a strange way when I mention anything sexuality-wise..even though she says that she'll accept me.. Help?
Hi there, thank you for reaching out to us. Figuring out your sexuality and what your preferences are can be an extremely confusing process, no matter who you’re attracted to, and questioning your sexual orientation and dealing with all of the changes of adolescence can definitely be scary. That being said, it’s also completely normal. From your letter, it sounds like you’ve already begun to experience some of those feelings. The reality is that one of the frustrating but wonderful parts of growing up is that you are constantly learning about yourself. That means that you may not know for sure whether you are bisexual or not until much later on—and that’s okay. As much as we like to label things, sexuality is not rigid or defined. You may find yourself more attracted to girls in general, or having the occasional crush on a boy, or vice versa. The important thing is that you are honest with yourself and that you recognize that whatever you are feeling is okay. As you grow older, and have more relationships, your sexual orientation will become clearer to you, but it’s not something that you should feel pressured to define now. It will come naturally with experience, and when you do reach that point, it will feel right for you.
Something that might help you to think about is that sexual orientation involves emotional, romantic, and physical feelings. You mentioned that you find yourself liking girls more often than boys, so it might help to think about in what context you like them, and what about them you find attractive. If you would like more information on bisexuality, then http://www.bisexual.org is a good resource. If you click on resources, then bisexuality-general information, then "Bisexuality 101 from PFLAG" you can find more information that might be useful. You can also check out http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=726&Itemid=336, where you'll find the brochure "I Think I Might Be Gay...Now What Do I Do?" Talking to a trusted teacher or school counselor might also help you clarify your feelings. Just remember that there is no rush or pressure—your sexuality is personal and it’s something that you will come to terms with on your own time.
As for your mother, coming out is a huge step and it’s completely understandable for you to feel scared. Just the fact that you have taken steps to discuss sexuality with her is very brave. Many people will come out in stages, first to trusted friends and then to family. It sounds like you have talked about your feelings somewhat with a friend. Ultimately, you decide when to come out—it all depends on when you feel comfortable and safe doing so. At http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions you'll find an article called "Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About" which might be of use. A great organization that might be particularly good for you is Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). PFLAG is made up mostly of parents, and supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one's sexual orientation/gender identity. On their website at www.pflag.org click on "Get Support" then click on "For Family & Friends" where you'll find the pamphlets "Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People" and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People.” If you’re comfortable, you can share these with your mother/friends to help them become more understanding and accepting of you. PFLAG also has support groups where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they have about a loved one's sexual orientation and where LGBT people can discuss issues they're having with people in their life. You can search for a chapter near you on the website, but even if there is no chapter near you, you can still contact the nearest chapter and they can give you some support and ideas about how to approach talking to your mother to help her better understand you.
If you ever want to talk more, you can use TrevorSpace at for support and help with your questions. It's a safe online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13-24, their friends and allies. You can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions you're having. You can also always call the Trevor lifeline at 866-488-7386 if you need to talk to someone. You’re going through a lot and it’s okay to be scared and uncertain, but you are absolutely not alone in this, and no matter what you ultimately identify as, lesbian or bisexual or straight or something in between, it will be beautiful and natural.