Same Sex Attraction
Sexuality can be confusing at the best of times; however if you are attracted
to the same sex then sexuality can place you under an enormous amount of stress.
Feeling unsure about your sexual orientation, or unable to reveal your sexual
identity for fear of rejection or discrimination can be an immensely difficult
experience, sometimes leading to depression and even suicidal thoughts. If you
are in this situation, remember that it gets better with time. You will find
your sexual place in the world, and have people around you who support and
accept you for who you are.
Am I gay? Am I bi?
Some people know they are same sex attracted from a very young age. However,
for many others, there is a period of uncertainty or questioning. Not everyone
who questions their sexuality ends up identifying as gay or bi. Many young
people have sexual experiences with their own sex or 'feelings' towards someone
of the same gender at some point; this is a normal part of exploring your
sexuality. You may or may not end up deciding that this is your preferred form
of sexual expression.
Labels such as 'gay', 'bi', 'queer' or 'straight' are just that: labels. They
help to place ourselves and others into easily understood categories. But you
are a person, not a label or a pigeon-hole. Getting hung up on defining your
sexuality before you are ready can cause a lot of unnecessary angst. If you are
unsure what to call yourself at this point, a better approach might be just to
think of yourself as a sexual being. In time it is likely that you will find a
label that feels right.
Is it normal?
All sexual preferences are perfectly normal. Same sex attraction is no way
unusual, immoral, abnormal or sick. It does not need to be cured or fixed. There
are thousands of young people going through the same situation at this moment.
In fact, one in four families will have a family member who is gay or lesbian.
There are an estimated 2 million same sex attracted people in Australia.
Coming out is the process of telling friends, family members, or others about
your same sex attraction. Many people fear negative reactions when they disclose
their sexuality. Sometimes this fear is justified. Although attitudes are much
more accepting than they once were, it is still possible that some people will
react badly. This can be very disappointing and hurtful, especially if it comes
from someone close, like your own family. On the other hand, many young people
are surprised by very supportive, accepting responses.
Coming out can be a huge relief. It may ease the feelings of isolation. You
may feel like you can finally be yourself, and not have to lie any more. However
it is extremely important that you do this only when you feel
comfortable with the situation.
What is 'homophobia'?
Homophobia is an attitude of irrational fear or hostility towards gays and
lesbians. It can take a subtle form, such as put-downs or 'jokes', or be
expressed in overt discrimination, harassment or violence. Most gays and
lesbians will experience homophobic attitudes at some point, and it is often
very distressing. It is important to remember that just because you are
attracted to the same sex doesn't mean you lose any of your rights as a human
being. Harassment and violence are unacceptable regardless of whom they are
MensLine Australia offers non-judgemental, confidential and anonymous
assistance to men with relationship concerns, including issues around same sex
attraction. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.