It’s tough to grow up when you’re gay, especially when you have to deal with people who pester you about it, especially if you speak and move “differently.” You also have to deal with your inner conflicts and questions. The worst part of it is you have to deal with people who don’t understand your situation and feed you with all sorts of crap about sexual morality that only give you guilty feelings.
I’ve been through that. I grew out of it. I survived. So can you! If you’re young and gay, there are 7 things I want you to know.
1. You’re fine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.
I say this to anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re gay or straight or questioning. However you identify yourself and whether or not you identify with any type of sexual orientation doesn’t matter. As long as you’re not causing any physical or emotional harm to other people, you’re good, you’re okay. Keep that in mind. Just because you’re going through a period of identity crisis, or a period where you’re starting to have questions about your sexuality, doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. Everyone goes through issues in their lives while growing up. Even the tough jock at school has issues.
2. Don’t be afraid to accept yourself.
You are the first person who will eventually figure out yourself. By the time it happens, do yourself the favor of embracing yourself. Keep in mind that you’re a beautiful, wonderful person regardless of your sexuality. So you’re gay. Child, that’s fine. You’re okay. Walk on.
You’re lucky to be gay in 2015 because society is more accepting now. There are still a few people who think it’s bad to be gay or lesbian, or transgender, but these are misinformed people blinded by their unwarranted hatred. Don’t let them get to you. Don’t let them dictate how you should live your life. You are your own vessel.
3. You don’t have to come out.
Although I love gay people who come out and tell their wonderful stories of survival through the difficult times of fending off rumors and trying to live straight, “normal” lives, I don’t think it’s ever necessary to come out. I didn’t come out. I thought it was unnecessary. When I was in high school some of my friends would come to me and ask me nonchalantly if I was gay. And you know, when you’re still in that stage where you’re trying to figure yourself out, it’s tough to answer questions about your sexuality. Well, I wasn’t able to give them a Yes. But they eventually figured it out. My parents figured it out. There was no talk in the living room drama with them. There was no coming out party whatsoever.
Remember this: No one should force you to come out. Come out when you’re ready and when you feel it’s necessary. But don’t come out for the sake of coming out. Your sexuality is your business, not your friends’ nor your parents.’
4. Ignore the bullies.
It’s tempting to punch them in the face, but you could get into trouble. I was bullied many times at school or on the streets, and I couldn’t remember how many times I had to resist the urge to yell back or hurl a stone in their direction. I’m glad I didn’t hurt them back even though I really wanted to. Why? First, I could have gotten into trouble. Second, I could have hurt myself. Third, it’s not worth it. I don’t want to end up at the police station or in the hospital.
What should you do? Deal with them smartly. Smile! That’ll confuse them. They’ll wonder why their taunts don’t seem to affect you. They’ll stop eventually when they realize they couldn’t affect you in any way. But if they become physical, call the guards. Seek help with the school admin. Ask for help. Well, guess what? Rarely, do bullies get physical, because they’re cowards who have their own issues.
5. Don’t be afraid to fall in love.
My dear, it’s human nature. It’s how you deal with falling in love that matters. Do you want to tell him you like him? Go ahead. Life is all about taking risks sometimes. Don’t be scared to acknowledge your feelings. Don’t be scared that you’re attracted to men. That’s fine. That’s what gays go through, and it’s an incredibly sweet feeling, albeit bittersweet at times. You’ll learn a few lessons from your first infatuation, first rejection, and first heartbreak. Straight people go through the same stuff too. We’re all the same.
6. Be yourself.
Don’t fall for wrong stereotypes. Gays are diverse individuals. Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you have to conform to the stereotype of loud flamboyance. That’s a wrong picture of gays. Gayness has nothing to do with how you move, talk, or dress up. You can look like a straight guy but still be gay. Homosexuality is what’s in your heart, not what you wear. I know some gays intimidate, even bully, other gays who don’t act or look like them. Don’t fall for the trap. Don’t worry. We continue to educate everyone, including the LGBT community, about sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. Just because you’re attracted to men doesn’t mean you have to act like a girl or be a flamboyant swan. Flamboyant men are fabulous, and we love them, but don’t be one simply because you’re gay.
7. You’re never alone. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and support.
Many gays have been in your situation but have learned to grow out of it. If you’re having trouble with bullies or conservative parents, you could always ask for advice and find people with whom you can talk. The burden is easier when you can unload it and share it with someone. You have friends here.
Growing up gay is never easy in a society where many people still think homosexuality is awful. I know it’s hard. I’ve been there. But it gets better. Hold on. You’ll be fine, just like the rest of us.
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