Lots of people wonder whom they’re attracted to. Girls or guys? Both? Sometimes it changes. Or it doesn’t. Some people have always known what they like. Some figure it out in their 20’s or 30’s or even later.
What’s most important for you to know is that, wherever you’re at, you are okay and that you are not alone.
Talking to someone is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Figuring yourself out is YOUR journey, but a sympathetic and safe adult can help you know that you’re not alone and that your future can be whatever you want it to be.
But not everybody is safe to talk to.
Tips for finding someone to talk to
Many communities, churches and schools are widely accepting. Some are not. It is important to find someone who will listen to you and will not try to influence you, convert you, come on to you, or save you.
- Look for rainbow flags. Churches that display rainbow flags are accepting of everyone. Teachers or counselors who have rainbow flags in the classroom, office or car bumper are making a statement that they are LGBTQ supportive. Chances are that they will welcome you, even if you aren’t a member of that congregation or if you aren’t in their class.
- Professional counselors are required by law to keep your conversations confidential unless you are in clear danger.
- “Conversion Therapy” is NOT considered legitimate therapy and is NOT supported by most reputable medical or psychological agencies. Reputable psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, doctors, social workers and counselors believe that homosexuality is natural and that attempts to convert people to being straight are harmful. Adults who support “conversion” want you to pretend to be someone other than who you are.
- Beware of talking with people online whom you don’t know and whom you haven’t been referred to by someone you know and who can be trusted.
- There’s a good chance that there might be someone in your family to talk to – maybe an older sister or brother who has gone away to college. Maybe a cousin, an aunt or an uncle. Someone you feel safe with.
- Schools in all 50 states have gay/straight alliances (GSA’s). If you don’t feel comfortable going to a meeting, perhaps you can find out who is the faculty advisor. [link] can help you find a GSA in your area.
- There are also national hotlines you can call the GLBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743 (1-800-PRIDE).
- If things are really bad, the Trevor Project runs a 24 hour suicide-prevention hotline for youth. As it says on their website, “I’m glad I failed at suicide because my life is so amazing now.” 1-800-850-8078 and 1-866-488-7386
- You should leave a discussion feeling better about yourself. If you feel worse, that’s a sign that whomever you’ve been talking to was not safe and supportive. Don’t go back. Keep looking, there are safe people to talk to.
Remember, your journey belongs only to you.
You are not alone.
You are loved.