How Can I Stop Feeling Ashamed to Be Gay?

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Question: How Can I Stop Feeling Ashamed to Be Gay?

A teen admits that he often feels ashamed to be gay and asks how to feel better about himself.

Answer:

A teen writes,

I feel ashamed of being gay a lot lately. I'm out to some people but I feel like I'm not completely out because I'm still hoping that I'll suddenly turn straight even though I'm not. It frustrates me that I can't just be myself and I feel like I won't receive any approval when I start dating {at least not from some of my mom's friends}. On another note I probably won't even find a boyfriend because I'm such an ugly duckling.

What you are feeling is really common. It's not surprising that you feel ashamed of being gay in a world where a lot of people still treat the GLBT community like second class citizens and where high school hallways are filled with gay jokes and harassment of gay students. Hopefully, you know that there is nothing wrong with being gay. You are who you are and even though you say, you hope you'll suddenly "turn" straight, you probably also know that isn't really realistic.

Sexual orientation isn't something you can change, even if you really, really want to. It's a deeper aspect of who you are.

Shame is a terrible thing to carry around and it sounds like you need some positive reinforcement for who you are. Talking to an adult who supports you is a good first step. If you don't think anyone in your family would accept you, consider talking to the guidance counselor at school. Hopefully he or she will be able to offer advice and put you in touch with support services.

You might also want to contact your closest GLBT community center. Many have programs for teens. Meeting other gay kids, can be a really helpful way to feel less alone.

Another good resource is the GLBT National Talkline. Call them toll free for help and support at 1-800-246-PRIDE.

You also refer to yourself as an ugly duckling and say you probably won't ever meet someone.

It's pretty tough to feel like that. You should know you are probably your own worst critic and that feeling like that can be a result of having low self esteem. As another teen said on the community forum, "Different people are attracted to different looks. What I am trying to say is, there is someone out there for everyone. Someone, someday will find you attractive and want to date you." Most people ultimately do have relationships, but finding a way to accept and feel better about yourself is an important thing to do whether you are single or dating.

You can read more about meeting other gay teens for dating and friendship here.

Good luck!