Am I gay?
'You're soooo gay!'
In childhood, the term 'gay' is thrown around as a general insult - if something isn't cool, for example. Most of the time it doesn't mean you're homosexual, but it does show how as young innocents people try to be as 'normal' as possible. It doesn't mean you're gay if a few people are calling you that at school.
Fantasies and experiments
A lot of people fantasise about the same sex, perhaps while masturbating, although they would never admit it. Many people experience feelings of attraction to the same sex during adolescence - due to hormones, curiosity and because sexuality is fluid; it is not 'black and white' or set in stone. People may experiment with people of their own sex, but this doesn't mean they are gay or that their sexuality is destined to be homosexual.
So - Am I gay?
Maybe. There are no hard and fast ways of telling - and it is important not to label yourself and think that's it forever - but you might think seriously about being gay if some or all of the following apply:
- If you pretend to fancy girls just for social reasons.
- If you feel strongly and exclusively drawn to the same sex - in terms of who you fancy and love, not just who your friends are.
- If you feel that same-sex desire is normal and natural and, when you hear of it, think: that's me. In other words, if you know in your heart of hearts that same sex desire is right for you.
- If you feel that other boys' or girls' way of thinking just isn't you. You see things and feel things differently on some level.
- If you close your eyes and think of your perfect sexual future and that's in a loving relationship with someone of your own sex.
- If you no longer feel confused.
- If you know that the camp TV stereotypes bear little relation to how it really is.
- If you find you deeply resist homophobic comments and even just jokes about gay sexuality. Something tightens deep inside you when people say such things.
- If it's only religious or social repressions that are getting in the way of your self-knowledge and self-acceptance
And what if I am?
In many ways - whether you decide you're gay just for the moment or are going to be gay forever - you just get on with life. You'll want to find other gay people and have a relationship at some point - and there'll be coming out to get through.
But bear in mind you are not a homosexual . You are homosexual. See the difference? It's a part of who you are. It's not everything.
Some people, for many reasons, grab on to the label of being gay and flaunt it. They are very camp, for example. Some people are naturally camp or effeminate, which is not a problem: everyone is different. There are, believe it or not, a lot of homosexuals and heterosexuals out there who you would not be able to tell if they were gay or straight.
Rest assured, though, no matter what anyone says, being gay can be a very good thing - if you let it.
But not tacky. Say hi and ask what they're doing this weekend - and have a plan to suggest you think they'll like.
Relax and think: getting to know you. Rather than: getting it