For Individuals Who Are "Questioning" . . .
by the way, is perfectly okay!)
Oy! Those Nagging
Questions In Your Head . . .
So, you have some questions, maybe even some concerns, about
your sexual orientation/identity. Please try to relax -- you are not alone and
the questions you have are a very normal part of figuring out who you are. Just
because you have questions doesnít necessarily mean that you must immediately
(or ever) label yourself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender
(commonly referred to as G/L/B/T -- we use the term "gay" as all-inclusive
for simplicity), or even straight for that matter. Itís okay to be right
where you are today, possibly unsure. You donít have to make a decision
one way or another this week, this month or this year. Given a little time
and some work on your part, you will eventually evolve into a more concrete
understanding of who you truly are. Youíll reach this place of understanding
once youíve had a chance to do some reading and talk to others about how
they figured all this out for themselves. Thatís how most of us figure
it out -- by listening to the stories of others and finding areas where we
either do or donít identify with their feelings and attractions. Unfortunately,
there is no true/false test you can take which will give you the answer
to that worrisome question, "Am I, or am I not?"
"But I AM The ONLY
One . . . I Know It, I Know It, I KNOW
It!" [ . . . Sorry, Guess Again!]
If youíve been wondering or questioning this for awhile, you may feel
that you are alone and/or isolated at the moment because you have no one
available to discuss this with or, at least, no one with whom you would
be comfortable discussing this with. Thatís okay. Thatís why we are here
to give you a comfortable and confidential place where you can discuss
things, or where you can simply listen to the personal stories of others
so that you can compare your own feelings to theirs and then draw your
own conclusions. Thatís what our support
meetings are all about. Youíll see that we place great emphasis on
attending our support meetings. This is because almost everyone who has
ever attended PFLAG meetings for any length of time will tell you that
the interaction of parents, family members and gay individuals at the support
meetings is what helped them put the pieces of the puzzle together for
themselves. Itís what helped them to unlearn the common stereotypes about
being gay and to learn what a true gay "lifestyle" is really like [hint:
itís no different than a heterosexual lifestyle other than the gender of
the person you may be attracted to]. Also, at our support meetings, we
have free informational pamphlets and a "lending library" of books and
videos which you can check-out (also free of charge) to educate yourself
It's All About Baby
Steps . . . Just Hold Your Breath and Take One . . .
So, how do you begin to figure all this out for yourself? Well, as weíve
already alluded to, the best way is by reading and talking. You may currently
feel that you donít identify with anyone in the G/L/B/T community. If thatís
true, odds are that you donít really know anyone closely (e.g., a very
close friend or immediate family member) who is gay. Even if you do know
someone close, odds are that you probably hold many of the same stereotypes
about "those people" as many in the general public do. Yes, even if you
are a gay person, especially someone who is newly "out" to him- or herself,
itís still possible to have homophobia. After all, it takes a little while
to learn that all those stereotypes simply arenít true. But, no one can
tell you that today and make all your fears disappear. Those stereotypes
and internal fears can only begin to fade away after youíve been around
others from that community who in reality are no different from you, me,
your friends, your neighbors and your co-workers, whether any of them are
gay or straight. Again, thatís why our support
meetings are so beneficial. They include both straight people and gay
people from all walks of life and with all types of backgrounds. Just listening
to otherís personal stories will get you thinking about your own situation
Forget That Nonsense
You Were Told To Believe . . . We'll 'Learn' You
Some Real Truths!
What are some of the things we can share with you at our support meetings?
We can tell you what weíve learned about all the variations of sexual orientation/identity.
For example, we can tell you how an individual could have one (or even
several) sexual contacts with someone of the same gender but that individual
is actually straight. Yes, itís possible and does happen a lot!. We can
tell you how an individual could have never had sexual contact with someone
of the same gender and be completely gay, lesbian or bisexual. Yes, itís
also possible and does happen. And, we can tell you how all of these people
weíre describing are completely normal like you and me. We can also explain
to you how s-e-x plays such a small role in defining your sexual orientation/identity.
The truth of the matter is that it is your emotional bonding to another
individual, either of the same gender or the opposite gender (or both)
that matters most in defining your sexual orientation/identity. Just as
straight people donít spend 100%, 50%, or even 10% of their time (2.4 hours
a day?) in bed together, gay people are no more focused on sex than anyone
else. Thatís just another of the many stereotypes that gay people are preoccupied
or obsessed with sex (mainly because most straight people cannot discuss
gay issues without also thinking about sex). Itís NOT about sex! Itís about
WHO you LOVE!
If You Ain't Got
L-O-V-E, Then You Ain't A'Living Just Yet!
Now, we just mentioned emotional bonding and how it is really what matters
in defining your sexual orientation/identity. You may be somewhat confused
about that because so far, you may have only thought about a physical attraction
to people of the same gender. You may not have given much thought about
whether you could actually fall in love with someone of the same gender.
Until that happens, it may be difficult to imagine how that could happen.
But, think back to when you were younger, to the age when boys are first
attracted to girls and vice versa. Donít most children first experience
a physical attraction which is later (sometimes years later) followed by
an emotional attraction? The same scenario applies here. You may now be
like a child who is discovering for him- or herself what attracts them.
The physical attraction comes from within and usually appears first. The
emotional attraction comes also from within, but usually is delayed until
we learn more about our feelings and instincts. So, if you think you have
some physical attractions to people of the same gender today, but donít
feel a sense of emotional longing also, donít fret. In time, youíll figure
all this out. And, we are here to help you do just that.
Hey, It's YOUR
Life . . .
You deserve to live it honestly, openly and, most important,