I think I might be gay
It can be difficult to know if you are attracted to someone of the same sex; it differs for all people. It could take a while and there is no need to rush. Sexuality, like many things in life, develops over time. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure. Being young is a time of figuring out what works for you.
Below are some questions you may ask yourself when you are discovering what sexuality you are.
What does it mean to be gay?
Men usually describe themselves as gay, when they find that they are physically, emotionally and sexually attracted to other men.
It’s not uncommon for men to have had gay experiences and feelings as part of their own exploration of their sexuality. However, for men who go on to identify themselves as gay, there is a strong physical and emotional attraction to men that they don’t usually feel for women.
This may cause feelings of isolation for young men because they feel a lot of pressure to be heterosexual. Fortunately, this is changing in Ireland and the old fears and stereotypes are fading into the past.
There are gay men in every culture and in every country. Expressing yourself through your sexuality is a positive experience for both you and those around you. Though this may not be easy to do when you are first realising your sexuality.
Why are some men gay?
There is no real explanation of why some men are gay and some are not. It may be a result of genetic influences or because of social experiences, or an interaction of the two. Some people recognise their attractions at an early age, while others don’t develop attractions until well into adulthood. For most young people however, they begin to develop gay feelings and attractions during teenage years.
How do I know if I’m gay?
There is also no easy answer to this question. You can’t fill in a questionnaire or do a test that will give you a definite answer. What is important is that you explore your sexuality in a way that makes you feel the most comfortable and safe. Allow yourself time to understand what being gay might mean to you. It’s also important to remember you don’t have to deal with your questions or problems alone. Try talking to one of the confidential services like BeLonGTo listed below if you are feeling concerned.
How do I know if someone else is gay?
Some people choose to identify their sexuality openly while others do not. This is a personal choice. Your sexuality does not define how you interact in the world and nor should it. With this in mind knowing that someone else is a gay does not just happen. How you dress and how you behave is about your personal identity, not a stereotype.
Relationships are built on trust, love, commitment and affection and this is true for relationships of any type regardless of who is involved. Within these relationships there are both good times and bad. There are no specific rules that gay relationships follow – everyone is free to make them up for themselves and how a relationship will end up depends on how the two people feel about each other not their sexual orientation.
Call, email or drop into BeLonG To, a support service for bisexual, lesbian, gay and transgender young people aged 14 to 23.