How to Accept That You Are Gay
Edited by Ben Rubenstein
If you feel very attracted to members of the same sex, or both sexes, but need to feel like you have accepted it within yourself, here is a guide to help you. You have found out your sexual orientation, and you are perfectly normal. Accepting who you are - and being proud of who you are - is the next step on the road to coming out of the closet, and eventually to having a successful gay or lesbian relationship. Some people have difficulty in accepting their sexual orientation, either because of personal or societal discomfort or pressure. Most people in the LGBT community know from experience that accepting your sexuality will lead to your becoming a happier, more open person.
In this guide, the term gay has been used to include all forms of homosexuality and bisexuality, whether that be people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or pansexual.
1. Know if you are Gay. Sometimes people question their sexuality. There are many degrees of sexual orientation, and if you find you don’t fit easily into one category, perhaps you are bisexual. Don’t allow yourself to be labeled until, or unless, you are ready and willing to be. If you feel that you don’t fit, or you can’t understand why you aren’t like other people in your life because you are different, remember that you are you, and not anyone else; and that being yourself and accepting yourself for the person that you are is something to be immensely proud of.
2. Remember that you didn’t choose to be attracted to members of the same sex, and that attempts to change your orientation are usually painful and pointless in the end. When talking with heterosexual friends or family members, it’s sometimes tough to help them understand this, because they have no frame of reference for your experience. Try to encourage others to see your sexual orientation in the same way as they see your eye colour - it is something you were born with and did not choose. It is something that is simply a part of your being, and not something you can change. There isn’t any need to - being gay is just another way of being, and there is nothing wrong with it at all, neither is there anything wrong with you for being gay.
Some people in the world believe that your sexual orientation is a choice. If this is true for you, especially if you feel attracted to both genders, you might want to evaluate your choices. Leading a gay lifestyle can be a challenging choice in many societies throughout the globe. If you feel that you made a choice, you should feel comfortable with that choice. Everyone has their own battles and choices to make, and the norms of societies may not necessarily be normal for you. If you do feel that you want to make the choice to accept your sexuality, it would be best to find friends and loved ones to support you, but do not feel - or let yourself be - pressured into believing that you should “change your ways”. If anyone tries to force an opinion on you that you do not agree with, such that your desires themselves are unnatural, sinful or symptoms of a mental disorder, look elsewhere for support. There is no evidence that “helping homosexuals to become heterosexual” is possible, and treatments to “change” sexual orientation that were common in the 1960s and 1970s were very damaging to those patients who underwent them and affected no change in their sexual orientation.
3. Develop and express your individuality - if your preferred way of doing something strays from the mainstream, whatever it may be, then be proud of it - you are the one and only you. Understand that a person who is gay is no different from any other person. Like everyone else, gay people have dreams and goals, and want companionship and love just like anyone else you know. Strive every day to be the best person you can be, and remind yourself of the positive qualities and attributes that make you uniquely who you are.
4. Tell yourself that for people to accept you, first you must accept yourself. If you can’t accept your sexual orientation and feel comfortable and confident in your own skin, then other people find it harder to accept you fully. It’s your right to love; no one has the right to tell you otherwise. Tell yourself: “I am a person with feelings and intellect and a life, just like everyone else. I am unique and individual, and no one has the right to choose my life for me. The fact that I am gay is just another facet of who I am, just as being creative, or optimistic, or having brown eyes is. I may not be like many of my friends, but I choose to live my life authentically and happily. It’s my life, and I choose to be happy”.
5. Remember that you are not alone. There are many, many gay people in all sorts of communities, and there are many people there for you when you need support. There may be agencies, groups, advisers, family members and friends that you can turn to, even if it is just someone to inform of your feelings. Find a group or a hangout where you feel comfortable, and where there will be other gay people to talk with. Make some new friends, and by doing so, you will establish a new network of supportive and encouraging people around yourself.
6. Show people who you are. Coming out of the closet is the boldest step in accepting your sexual orientation, but now that you are able to live “out”, it does not mean that you have to change who you are or what you like. Don’t go trying to change yourself or wishing that you were like the other people in your life to cater to the comfort levels of others - there are over 6.7 billion people in the world, and you can’t please everyone - and those who care about you will still love you for who you are. If someone can’t accept the one small fact of who you are that is your sexuality, and can’t still respect you for the person that you are, then they aren’t worth your time or letting it bother you, because it’s not your fault that the person can’t accept it.
Be selective. The entire world does not need to know about your sexual orientation. It is not necessary to broadcast who you are, and no one should make you, if you find that telling everyone makes you uncomfortable. Know that, while you want and deserve to live an authentic life, it may not be a good idea to expose yourself to narrow-minded people who may offend you.
Don’t come out to a particular person if it doesn’t feel right to you. This is a good rule to follow in general - there could be many reasons why, but if it doesn’t “feel right” then it is probably not the right time to come out to that person. The time to tell them may be later, or never. What is most important is that you come out to yourself. Once you are at ease with your own sexual orientation and have a healthy self-image, the when and how of coming out often fall into place naturally.
Don’t worry about what others think; what is important is that you are true to yourself and considerate of others - that doesn’t mean you need to cater to the sensibilities of others. If a friend or a member of your family is having trouble coming to terms with your orientation, you may have to give them time and be patient, or in the long term face the end of that friendship.
If you are in a relationship, refrain from using the word “room-mate” or words to that effect to describe your partner. And don’t let your loved ones get away with that, either - if you allow them to pretend by introducing your partner as your “friend” or “room-mate,” then you’re allowing them to put a mask on you and your partner, both. Don’t get nasty about it, just correct them gently, for example:
“Well, yes we do live together. Auntie Joan, David is my partner” or “Auntie Joan, I noticed that Jo was introducing you to my girlfriend, Andrea. We dated for a couple of months before moving in together, and we’ve been together about a year now. I’m so glad you finally get to meet her… Andi, come here, sweetie, and meet my Aunt Joan”.
Once your family get the idea that you aren’t about to sit back and let them believe that you and David are “just room-mates”, or that you and Andi are “just really good friends”, they will stop attempting to put a mask on your relationship and be more open, too.
Remember that being gay does not require you to conform to typical gay stereotypes. Most people who are gay are indistinguishable from those that aren’t, share the same interests, goals and dreams for their lives. Being a homosexual person does not necessarily make you any less masculine or feminine, and there is no need or pressure to conform to stereotypes that don’t feel right to you - because you are who you are.
Transsexuals can also be gay. There are plenty of FTMs who are gay, who are into other guys and same goes for MTFs, MTFs who are into other girls. Gender and sexuality are not the same thing. It shows that being gay does not make one “less of a wo/man”
Use good judgement. Sadly, not everyone in the world is a modern, accepting person. Don’t broadcast this information to your entire community if you live in a small town or an area where LGBT persons are less likely to be accepted and where you are likely to be harmed physically or emotionally.
If it is very likely that your coming out will have a bad outcome, then don’t. As long as you know who you are, that’s plenty for the short term. In the end, your sexual orientation is your business. Eventually, people may figure it out, and you will need to decide whether to stay in that situation or move on to a place that is more accepting.
If you are still being supported by parents whom you are quite sure would disown you for being gay, it may be prudent to wait to tell them until you are independent. It may be vital for your survival to hold off on coming out until, for example, you have graduated high school or college, or you have moved into a place of your own.
You may regret the acceptance of your orientation in the future, especially if you’re in a part of the world where the homosexual, bisexual and transgender communities are prosecuted by a specific culture. You may have a choice in changing your lifestyle; that is, perhaps you feel you need to live under the guise of being heterosexual for your own safety, and perhaps even your own personal happiness. It is not always easy to remain accepting of your orientation depending on where you live, and the views of the people who are most important to you. There are non-profit organizations that exists to both support you in your acceptance, and also in case you would want to try and lead a heterosexual lifestyle, although you can never change your orientation. Although, it is important to note that the American Psychological Association has declared that groups claiming to cure homosexuality are dangerous and unhealthy. It is very mentally and physically unhealthy to suppress your feelings and your true self. It is up to you to decide what’s best for your life.
Pictures source: http://www.facebook.com/WHOF1
Text source: http://www.wikihow.com/Accept-That-You-Are-Gay
A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.