Questioning my sexuality
It is not unusual to be attracted to boys and girls when growing up. This is the time when we are finding out who we are and what we like - and no two people are the same. 'Coming out' is when we tell other people about this. So if a boy realises he fancies other boys and decides to tell someone else about it, then he will be 'coming out' as gay.
The thought of telling other people about the way we feel can be scary because we might worry they will feel differently about us afterwards. We might fear friends and family's reactions - will they be upset? Will they still like me? These are some of the questions that can go through our
The good news is that usually, coming out, when planned and prepared for, is a really positive step. It can be very difficult carrying the burden of such a big secret about who we are. Whatever our sexuality - gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual - the way we feel is natural and normal, and being honest about who we are can really help with building confidence and living our lives to the full.
Who should I tell?
A good first step is to think about who we really trust. For younger people, telling a trusted adult or youth worker is also a good first step.
A good friend who we have confided in before and who is supportive and kind is likely to be a good bet. It can be a good idea to bring up a conversation about sexuality with them first and see what their thoughts are about the subject to 'test the water' before telling them about our feelings.
After this initial 'coming out', we might find ourselves repeating the process with other people later on, whenever we feel ready. Telling one person is a good start and should give us the confidence and support to make decisions about our next steps.
We could also talk to a cousellor if we feel like we need support in working out our feelings. The counsellor will not tell anyone else about the conversation we have and it will also be friendly and free -
What will happen after I come out?
Coming out basically means being honest about who we are and how we feel - and sharing this with others. We do this, hopefully to live a better, fuller life because we are able to express ourselves and be more open - and this makes us feel good. Most people say that after coming out they felt relieved - like they had let go of a huge burden.
But it is important to also be aware that there are challenges in coming out. There will be some people whose reactins are hostile about the news of us coming out. Some people - including some of our friends, family and other people we meet - might be homophobic. This means they discriminate against gay, lesbian and bisexual people. These people might make us feel upset or scared by the way they treat us.
Experienceing homophobia? Click here for advice.
So it can be good advice to only tell a small group of trustred friends, family and/or adults at first, so that we have people to talk to about the reactions we come across form other people.
For mor advice about coming out, click here.