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be yourself
Questions and Answers for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth
A publication of PFLAG: Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

Introduction

The world can be a tough place for a teenager. You're in one of the most confusing times of your life.

For one thing, your body is changing more than it will at any other time. And your hormones, hard at work changing your body, can be playing around with your moods. You may feel great one day and miserable the next, for no clear reason.

The rules are changing. You're expected to act more and more like an adult. You may have new adult responsibilities like volunteer work or a part-time job, but you might not be given adult rights, like coming home at whatever time you want.

Your relationship with your parents is changing. You're becoming more independent, and they're having to accept that you're not their little girl or boy any more. Thats not easy for either of you.

And all of a sudden, something you didn't think about a few years ago- sex- might feel like the most important thing in the world.

If you're a gay, lesbian, or bisexual teenager - or if you think you might be gay or wonder if you are - its even more confusing, because probably no one ever prepared you for that.

When you were younger, your parents and relatives may have teased you about liking girls if you're a guy or guys if you're a girl. Maybe they talked about "when you grow up and start dating" or "when you fall in love and get married." But they probably never talked about when you grow up and fall in love with another guy, or about marrying a woman just like you.

TV, movies, and magazines all mostly show men with women. The music you hear is about falling in love with the opposite sex. If you're a guy, your friends are probably talking about girls, and if you're a girl, they're talking about guys.

All of that makes things hard if you're gay, because you don't have much that relates to you.

This information was written to try to help you - to answer some of your questions, to suggest books you can read and people to whom you can talk - and to help you understand three things:

One: Being gay, lesbian, bisexual is a normal and healthy way to be. It's one more part of who you are - like being tall or short, or black or white or Asian or Latino.

Two: It takes time to know who you are. It's okay to be confused, its okay to be unsure whether you're gay or straight, and its okay to take your time finding out. There's no need to rush.

Three: You're not alone Right now, there are tens of thousands of other teenagers, all thinking they're gay or wondering if they're gay, all wondering if they're the only one, all trying to find someone to talk to about it. Hundreds of thousands more, have already traveled that road.

One of them or another helpful person will be on the other end of the line if you call any of the numbers at the end of this page. They're people with whom you can talk openly, compare notes, and ask advice.

The questions other teens have had about being gay help shape this webpage. We hope it helps you find your own answers.

Definitions used in this webpage:

"Heterosexual" or "straight," refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are mostly for the opposite gender: Men who are attracted to women, and women who are attracted to men.

"Homosexual" or "gay," refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are mostly for the same gender: Men who are attracted to men, and women who are attracted to women.

"Lesbian" refers to women who are homosexual.

"Bisexual" or "bi" refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are for both genders.

In this webpage, the word "gay" is used to include homosexuals and bisexuals, male and female.


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