When did Gay stop Meaning Happy?
A short article about before and after a teenager announces their sexual preference
The battle before the battle
As a youth counselor, I see and hear a variety of things on a day to day basis. One of the most common things I've dealt with over the past few years has been the issues that young teenage boys have been battling, since they first confirmed the words " I am Gay"
Teenage life is difficult enough with all of the hormone changes, trying to fit in with the right crowd, peer pressure, school, preparing for the future, trying to discover who you are and all of those other things our teenagers are faced with on a daily basis.
Now you have a teenager that is feeling ashamed, guilty, withdrawn, just unhappy and feel the weight of the world is upon them, because they are carrying around a secret that they just want to release and continue on with their life.
Many teenagers keep the secret to themselves, for fear of the unknown. They have no idea how their family, friends, school, and society as a whole are going to view them, and especially at that age one of the main things teenagers are looking for is acceptance from the people and places they are most familiar with. The ones that count, the ones they have to encounter on a daily basis.
It's seen and heard of everyday, that so many teens and adults who have not yet, reached the comfort zone within themselves to share their secret, they start pretending to be someone they know they are not. They start engaging in activities and relationships that will ensure that nobody is aware of the secret they hold deep down.
The apparent problem with this is that, while trying to ensure that everyone else is happy, or of the lifestyle they are living. They, themselves are miserable, they can't enjoy life because they are not living their own life. They are living a life according to how they believe they will be best accepted in this world.
The pressure manifests itself in a variety of different ways, and often the people in their lives are unsure of what is suddenly happening. Often becoming withdrawn, depressed, aggressive,violently angry and suicidal just to name a few.
At some point hopefully, sooner than later, they will confide in someone and let them know what is going on in their life. They find the courage to utter the words that they are gay or struggling with their sexuality. More often than not, they are still not quite ready to reveal this information to everyone in their life, but it is necessary for them to let someone know because the pressure is building up and they need some sort of release from it all. They are seeking guidance, acceptance, and happiness the same way we all are.
Many of the teenagers that have just revealed their secret now feel they have a bigger worry on their hands. They don't know how the person or people they revealed their secret to is actually feeling or what they are thinking now.
Do they accept who I am? It is very important for parents,relatives, friends, teachers, etc to be very supportive, it may not be something they agree with, understand but at this point more than ever, it is important to show the person you are there for them, and that it changes nothing about how you feel towards them.
Encouraging teenagers to be happy with themselves no matter what could be life changing. Letting them know that you and all of the other people in their life care about them no matter what their sexuality is, is so important.
There have been too many cases of bullying in the school systems because a teenager has revealed they are gay or because some of their peers assume they might be gay. This has become a serious issue, and more needs to be done in the way of education and supports to ensure that this isn't happening. If it happens once, it's one time to many. We have to make sure that all people are treated equally and fairly, regardless of race, creed, religion, color, and what alot of people fail to remember sexuality. We are all unique in our own way. People shouldn't be discriminated against based on any of these reasons.
Parents alot of this starts at home, before your child even start's school, you need to make sure you have a relationship strong enough with your children that they feel that they can come to you at anytime about anything no matter how good, bad or embarrassing the issue may be. Remind your children that the love you have for them is unconditional, and there is nothing that could change that.
in today's society, homosexual lifestyles are more acceptable as a whole. There are support groups for teenagers and adults who are dealing with issues around their sexuality. A safe place for you to go and talk with others that are going through or have went through some of the things that you are dealing. Don't be afraid to seek this type of support. It can be very beneficial. It will help you to realize that you are not the only one dealing with this, and you will become more comfortable living your life the way it is meant to be lived. You will hear stories you can relate to, meet new friends, and start to feel encouraged.
More and more high schools and colleges are now having support groups and or offering counseling for issues such as this.
It is important to take advantage of the supports that are available, Even if you are totally comfortable with your lifestyle already. You can be a help to someone else that is struggling with it.