I Know I Am Not Straight So What Am I?

June 15, 2011
Female (Age 18)

Q: I’m terrified. I guess in a way, I’ve probably known for years that I was attracted to woman, but I’m really confused. I thought for awhile that I was bisexual and still feel like it could be a possibility because there was a guy I “liked” or at least convinced myself that I liked. The thing is, everyone thinks he’s gay, so I don’t see how that would count in the same way. I only see myself wanting to be with a woman in the future; to marry another woman and to have children and build a life with her. My father and his wife are prejudice toward everyone, so I know they would not accept me. My mom is not prejudice but would still be completely uncomfortable with me being a lesbian. My “step-father-to-be” thinks it’s weird. I don’t know how to come out to anyone but I have not slept in nights now and it has been on my mind constantly for over a month now. I am terrified of what my friends, family, teachers etc will think and how they will react. I don’t know who to turn to and who to talk about it with first. There is a teacher in my school who is a lesbian…Should I talk to her or should I talk to my school’s social worker? How can I know for sure if I am lesbian or bisexual? I know I am definitely not straight…I just don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t focus at school because it is on my mind constantly and my grades are dropping. I start college in September and don’t want to begin in a new place and still be hiding who I really am. Chely Wright’s songs, videos, and tweets have helped me to be stronger about it and have made me finally want to talk to someone, but I still don’t know how to do so. Please help me in any way that you can. Thank you.

A: Dear Confused,

First I want you to know that you are very brave for writing.  You should feel very proud of yourself for having the courage to ask yourself these hard questions.  It’s great that you are looking around for people that you consider as a potential support system.  Yes, use every possible resource available, teachers, guidance counsellors, nurses, and doctors, anyone you can think of to help.  Call the LGBT center in NYC.   Feelings change, so what you feel today may not be what you feel tomorrow.  That’s why you need lots of people to talk to.

When you get to college, go to the counselling center and get a therapist right away.  This is not the time to worry about telling your family anything.  Take time to figure yourself out.  Have some privacy with your thoughts and feelings before your start sharing them or having to defend them to people that might want to challenge you on them.  Start talking to people that will support you.  Find people you can trust and build your own personal network.  Take baby steps.  And have a great time in college, those will be some of the best years of your life.