Archive for the ‘Coming Out’ Category
Gay. Lesbian. Bi. Transgender. Curious. Grrrrl. Twink. Queer. Bear. Chub. Questioning. DL. Bear. Pansy. Boi. Metrosexual.
What is your label? Is that the REAL question? Or is the real question: “Do I need a label?” We get lots of callers who ask the question: “Am I gay? Am I straight? Am I bi?”
Many of our callers feel a sense of urgency to slap a label on what “they are” and proceed with life. However, the use of labels can be confusing. Self-identification can be tough to face.
Coming out and identifying with a label can be even more challenging. With so much “grey area” running between each label, it can be hard to identify just what we are feeling.
At the GLBT National Help Center, we are here to help you to chat with you and help you find the answers to your questions. We help people all over the U.S. talk about the important issues they are facing in their lives.
Call us. Let’s talk.
For one caller to the GLBT National Help Center, coming out to his parents started with a phone call that went like this:
Son: “I have something I want to talk to you both about. But I’m really not sure how to put it.”
Mom: (short silence) “Then why don’t you just PUT IT.”
Son: (another short silence) “I’m gay.”
Mom: (gasp) “I knew you were going to say that.”
Dad: “Are you just feeling like you are gay? Or are you living the gay lifestyle. Because if you are that is what is wrong.”
Son: “Yes Dad. I’m living the gay lifestyle. If that is what you want to call it.”
The caller said that he was living on his own and had a stable career when he made this call. The call ended by the parents telling him that they still loved him and they would work through this together.
That evening he called the GLBT National Help Center to talk to a peer councilor about the call and was equally upset and relieved.
By the end of the his call with us, he had not only talked through some of his frustrations, but he also had a list of local services in his town that may be of help to a gay man living alone.
While coming out and “being gay” is becoming more acceptable for some, it is still a very painful and traumatic process for many.
The GLBT National Help Center is here for that reason. We offer not only peer counseling and facts about safe sex, but we also offer referrals through our massive database of GLBT related services.
Toll-free 1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564)
Monday thru Friday from 1pm to 9pm, pacific time
(Monday thru Friday from 4pm to midnight, eastern time)
Saturday from 9am to 2pm, pacific time
(Saturday from noon to 5pm, eastern time)
A common question that gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgendered people are asked is “When did you know?” It’s a tricky question in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity. People who have not struggled with these issues sometimes operate under the assumption that a switch was flipped and all became clear, but that is often not the case.
Discovering one’s own sexual orientation or gender identity can be a short or long process, depending on many things like environment, self-awareness, and exposure to different ideas. But one thing is for sure: Once people discover they are queer, it is significantly easier to come out if they are in a loving and supportive environment.
Please read this touching essay written by a mom of a six-year-old about how she is creating an environment where it is okay for her son to be whoever he is.
Want to talk about this or other issues? Give us a call, start a chat or send us an email.
It is not unusual for people to reach out to us with anxiety of having contracted an STD because they had unprotected sex with a stranger of the same sex. Unprotected sex is a dangerous activity. Callers are frequently aware of the risks and are often mortified at their own behavior, as well as being sick with fear of the potential consequences.
A common link for the people who make these calls is that they are attempting to hide their sexual orientation from others (and often themselves). This denial then leads to risky behavior, regret, and further denial.
One of our primary goals at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center is to help people identify their own sexual orientations. We believe that when a person is honest with herself, she is more likely to make informed and healthy decisions. That is one aspect of diminishing risky behavior. The second is support from one’s friends and family,* which of course an individual who is coming out does not have control over. However, this further suggests to all of us that acceptance of differing sexual orientations leads to happier and healthier individuals.
Did you recently have a risky same-sex encounter that you want to talk about? Give us a call, send us an email or start an online chat with a volunteer peer-counselor.
*From a study by Vincke, Bolton, Mak, and Blank at the University Hospital in Belgium, 1993:
Individuals who recognize and freely admit that they are either homosexual or bisexual may be rejected by their peers, families, and others. Adequate social support, however, has been shown to lead to a heightened sense of well-being and health. It has also been shown to encourage individuals to adopt and maintain healthier lifestyles. There are important correlations between social support and self-esteem, control/mastery, and stress management. The withdrawal of social support following the coming out of gay people can have serious detrimental effects on their social and emotional well-being.
This Australian commercial perfectly captures the acceptance that we at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center strive to achieve for everyone in the queer community.
While the majority of our calls, chats and emails deal with coming-out and the related feelings that arise from this process, we also receive a large number of contacts from people who want to talk about problems they are having in romantic relationships. These callers often are not out to their friends and families or have been rejected by their families for being gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgendered, and so they can feel extremely isolated.
These callers want to talk about issues that can arise in any romantic relationship: In-laws, household chores, miscommunications, etc. But because of the pronouns (he/she/his/her), they are unable to share these otherwise run-of-the-mill discussions with anyone in their lives. It is a true reflection of how alone individual members of the queer community can feel when they cannot share with others such a fundamental aspect of themselves like sexual orientation or gender identity. It results in not being able to discuss one’s partner, spouse, date or boyfriend/girlfriend.
Do you need to talk about a problem you’re having with a significant other or romantic interest? Please get in touch with us. Our volunteer peer-counselors can help.
Android recently released an app called, “Is my son gay?” It features twenty questions for a mother to answer about her son, focusing on the son’s reading habits, musical tastes, clothing choices, etc.
This app is absurd. Its intention might be humor, but even that falls flat. The only thing that determines whether anyone is gay is whether or not that person is primarily physically and/or romantically attracted to people of the same gender. Masculinity or femininty have nothing to do with it, nor does one’s interest in Lady Gaga’s music (which is appreciated by ALL sexual orientations).
We do understand that some parents feel that they need answers about their children’s sexual orientation, but these are answers only your children can provide, and they need to do that on their own timelines. The discovery of one’s sexual orientation is not based on one encounter, but has to be considered over time with the evaluation of feelings for people of the opposite gender versus people of the same gender.
So sadly, when it comes to tacky technology, there’s an app for that!