Every couple of weeks, I see a search result leading to my blog of “I don’t want to be gay”. It’s time I address that. So this post is for you, if you’ve typed that into a search engine, and found my blog as a result.
Being gay does not make you a bad person
Being gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersexed or any other definition you may have heard of relating to sexuality has no bearing, whatsoever, on whether you are a good or bad person. If someone tells you this, they are wrong – they are utterly and completely wrong, with no room for doubt. Sexuality is a part of you, not some litmus test for goodness or badness. Being gay is no different from being left-handed, or blue-eyed, or red-haired. It’s a part of you.
You are not alone
Every person who has discovered they aren’t heterosexual will have a very good idea of what you’re going through. Of course, there can be unique circumstances, but by and large they’re not. The way family reacts, the way we feel when we first discover our sexuality, the way friends react, the way society reacts around us – each of us will have experienced something similar to what you’ve experienced. We know, and understand, what you’re going through, and support you on your journey. It can be a tough journey at times, but the rewards are so absolutely amazing; self-acceptance is a powerful tool, and being able to stand up and admit your sexuality to yourself first, then others, gives you a strength in the world that heterosexuals will never understand.
You cannot change your sexuality
If you’re religious, don’t think you can pray the gay away. If you want to find a cure in science, you won’t.
You can’t cure homosexuality because it isn’t a disease. Do people try to cure having blue eyes, or red hair? Sure, they may wear different coloured contacts, or dye their hair, but at the end of the day they’re not hiding it from themselves. Don’t spend your days, weeks, months or years wishing you were ‘normal’. Normal is an abhorrent term when you feel you’re not – your sexuality is not abnormal. You are not abnormal.
You have nothing to be ashamed of
Homosexuality occurs in hundreds of species. There is documented evidence of it occurring in over 400, in fact. Homophobia only occurs in one species – it’s the homophobes that should be ashamed, not you. If you believe a religion makes you a sinner, you need to look carefully at the tenets and edicts of that religion, and the people who use it. Those who would use ‘proof’ from religious texts to show that homosexuality is sinful ignore a multitude of other sins and edicts themselves, without thinking twice about it. That doesn’t make them correct, it makes them hypocrites.
There is no shame in your sexuality.
Things get better
If you’re going through a dark patch, remember this: depression lies. When we’re sad and depressed, or tired and sad, the world is skewed, and logic is skewed. Don’t believe things aren’t going to improve, because they can and will improve. If you are feeling depressed, reach out to an appropriate support group – they’re there to help you, and like acknowledging your sexuality, there’s nothing to be ashamed of in looking at mental health. The mind – the brain – is a fantastically complex organ, and the chemical reactions and electrical impulses that trigger our thoughts and emotions are physical things in and of themselves; talking to a counsellor or a support group or a doctor about how you feel is no different from talking to someone about any other physical part of your body you have concerns with.
Life is rich and full of opportunity
Some would say the gay lifestyle is hollow; they’re wrong. It’s like saying blue-eyed people get no fulfilment in their lives. If you feel strongly about having children, there are ways to achieve it, either through adoption, surrogacy or in vitro fertilisation. Yet having children is not the be-all and end-all of life fulfilment – particularly given the ever increasing population of our small planet.
Fulfilment in life comes from so many sources – art, culture, entertainment, friendship, family. Over time many of us build bonds with friends that significantly exceed those we experienced growing up with our families – we are privileged, in fact, at being gifted with the opportunity to look beyond family as the closest bond that can be experienced.
Life is what you make of it, and you don’t need to be heterosexual to make a good life.
Help is available, if you ask for it
Help really is available. Depending on where you are, it may take some careful digging, or, for the majority of the world, it may be no more than a few web searches away. Look for gay and lesbian support groups. Setup another email address using Google or MSN or any other such service, one that doesn’t give away identifying details about yourself – assume a pseudonym if you feel the need to, and reach out to forums and groups that will give you the support and help you need to make it through this time. Those forums and groups are there for you.
Finally, and this one is the hardest of the lot – trust me, I know. Learn to love yourself. It may seem the hardest thing to do, but it can be won in small incremental improvements. By accepting that you don’t need to be ashamed, by accepting you’re not alone, by accepting it doesn’t make you a bad person, you can learn to love yourself, and from there achieve so very much.
You don’t need to wish to be heterosexual.