Sexual orientation is a pattern of romantic and sexual attraction to men, women, or both. You may be attracted to:
As a teen, you explore sexuality and learn about yourself. Sometimes your feelings about who you’re attracted to can be confusing. Many teens are attracted to people of the same sex during puberty. Having feelings about or even having sex with a person of the same sex doesn’t mean that you are homosexual. It can take time for your sexual orientation to become clear. Whether it’s heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, it’s important to know that it’s normal.
During your teen years, you will spend a lot of time trying to decide who you are, what values you believe in, and what you want to do in life. It is a time to start deciding for yourself what is right and wrong.
However, gay teens face other issues as well. You may worry how your friends and family will react, and feel that you have no one to talk to. Some parts of society and many families have a hard time accepting homosexuality. Many gay teens face verbal and even physical abuse.
Homosexuality is not a mental disorder. However, being unsure or uncomfortable about your feelings can cause you anxiety, stress, or depression. Stress may cause physical problems like trouble sleeping and headaches. You may try using drugs or alcohol as ways to deal with your emotional pain. You may even have thoughts about suicide. These are serious problems that need professional help.
Talking with trusted family members and friends may help. Because others do not always accept homosexuality, it can be hard to talk about it. If you feel you can't talk with your parents, talk to a counselor to help you sort out your feelings. If you do not want to see a mental health therapist, talk to a trusted adult, such as a school nurse or school counselor. Ask them to recommend a support group.
There are active support groups for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in many schools and communities. There are also organizations for families and friends. For more information, contact: