So I’ve been struggling with my sexuality for as long as I could remember.  I grew up very… I don’t want to say conservatively because that can have different connotations, but traditionally (we went to Church every Sunday, traditional gender roles etc.) which has made accepting my sexuality incredibly difficult.  I’ve really always hoped that someday I would just wake up and be “normal”, so that I could grow up, get married and have kids.  I’m finally starting to accept that that may not be an option for me and I just feel like I’ve disappointing myself and my parents because of it.  Because I’m the oldest child of three and the only son, I’ve always felt a lot of pressure from my parents and to grow up to be everything they expect of me, which really does not help my situation.
However at this point in my life I’m just tired of feeling like I’m hiding who I am and lying to my friends and family.  I already live a stressful life with school and what not, and having the constant fear, because fear is really the best word for it, of having to deal with my sexuality has really started to put me over the edge.  None of my friends know that I’m gay/ bi (I haven’t truly figured out where I fit on the spectrum yet) and I just feel like I need to tell someone because dealing with this alone has become almost unbearable.   I’m just scared that this could possibly make things worse or that my friends could reject me because of it.
While not really a question per say, I’d just like some help on what I should do to make this situation a little easier.  I do want to come out, but I just know that because I’m still not comfortable with my sexuality myself yet, it may not be the best time to be telling other people.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated, so thanks for your help ahead of time!

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3 Responses to Questioning

  1. lgbtqa says:

    Thank you so much for writing in to us. You make a reflection that I think is a very good point. For someone that is questioning their sexuality or is not comfortable with their sexuality yet, coming out may not be feel right yet. Students may feel like they have to come out; like that’s what you have to do. I would say to work on coming out to yourself and getting to know yourself better. It’s okay to take the time you need.

    That said; the time of figuring yourself out can be very lonely, scary, or frustrating. Hearing others’ stories or feeling like someone else “gets it” is helpful. Connecting to other people who are in similar places can be helpful, but difficult to know how to do. At the LGBTQA Center there are a small group of students that meet for Hearts Not Parts on Thursday night from 8-9pm. Hearts Not Parts is for all students but often focuses on bisexuality and students questioning their sexuality. Hearing how others are figuring themselves out, dealing with friends and family, having concerns over religion or values…all can be really supportive.

    Also check out the “Questioning” link on the right side of the blog. There are many great links here for questioning, thinking you might be gay, dealing with family, issues about faith and religion, bisexuality, etc.

    I know there are many of you out there who have felt this way. Please know that you are not alone. There are many students out there, walking around campus, who feel like they are alone in figuring themselves out. Keep writing to us or reading what others have to say. Stop by Hearts Not Parts. Give us a call. Check out our links for more resources. Stop by to chat with me. You do not have to do this by yourself, as much as you may feel alone. We care about you and are there for you if you need any support.
    ~ Becky

  2. lgbtqa says:

    We received this comment about the questioning post:

    I can say that there have been many time where I felt myself struggling in the same way that you are. I think that Becky is right about all of the helpful things you can do for support. Stopping by the allen House or even emailing someone from within the strong UVM LGBTQA community was very helpful for me coming out. Definitely check out all of the sources she pointed out, some of them are really helpful.

  3. lgbtqa says:

    What a remarkable description of a challenging situation. Let me tell you a little about my background. I am the oldest of 3, two younger sisters, in a very Irish Catholic family. My dad left when I was 10 so I became the “man” of the house at that age. Lots of responsibilities and expectations. Church on Sundays and holy days, priests and nuns for relatives…the whole 9 yards. I remember when I was 15 and read in a book that “homosexuality and curiosity are a normal part of adolescence, but it usually subsides after age 16. If it does not, than the person might be gay.” This might sound so foolish, but I was so excited the night before I turned 16 because I was sure I would wake up in the morning and my feelings for other boys would be gone, like some kind of magic or something. Well, it didn’t work, and felt very depressed the year I turned 16.

    I decided to put my feelings away, and for the next 5 years, I described myself to people as asexual, I have no interest in sex with anyone. My roommate in college was even gay and I didn’t talk to him about my feelings until senior year!! I was so embarrassed to be gay, that my family would love me for sure but be very disappointed. It was during the beginning of the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s and not only was I thinking about coming out, but I also thought I’d probably die (I had friends and teachers on campus who died quickly once diagnosed so it was very scary). I was also a good student and so it was easy to pour all my stress into school and avoid dealing with my same sex feelings, although I was always secretly sad and angry of all the other students who dated, held hands, had sex, stayed over at friends…all of it!!

    I eventually came out to a girl I kind of dated and she was so supportive. Then my roommate, then some other friends, and eventually my sisters and my mom. I was 21-23 as I came out slowly but surely. I didn’t have negative reactions, even from my dad. I told him when I was 35 years old and he was a born again christian. He even accepted me. I’ve been in a relationship with my partner for 26 years and I can’t ever even imagine being straight or wanting to be straight. I’m a psychotherapist in private practice and all my colleagues know I’m gay, all my clients (and 90% then are straight, just like in the real world) and I’ve outed myself at meetings, on TV and radio, and still I’ve had no real negative responses. Hard to believe that I put soooo much effort into being afraid. I think about how I’ve been able to be so out and happy and I figured out that its because I like being gay. I’m not sorry being gay, embarrassed being gay, nervous about being gay, I’m just a happy gay guy, and people see me and treat me as a happy gay man.

    Oh yeah, and the sex. That was another nerve wracking part of it all. I felt so young, and naive, so inexperienced, so scared. It gets easier to get over yourself once you start dealing with who you are.

    Now don’t get me wrong, this happiness I feel did not come in a week or a month or a year. It takes a while to get to know yourself, develop into a full adult, grow wise to life and smart about the world and people. I had lots of really miserable, and disappointing relationships along the way, but now they make for funny stories with old friends. The beginning of the process of getting to this point in my life was telling myself that I was gay, and that I wanted to be a really happy well adjusted gay guy. And then I told one person, then another and then another and then another. Not everyone is as happy as I am, but that’s the same about being straight. Not everyone is happy for themselves or other people no matter than sexual orientation.
    Your job in life is your life, not what others do with theirs.

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