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Dr. Jay Nagdimon

March 1997

Ask Dr. Jay

Q: Dear Dr. Jay,

I am a 16 yr old lesbian and I also happen to be in therapy for depression. I have a lot of close friends that happen to be boys, buddies if you will, and I go out with them a lot. I went to homecoming with a gay friend of mine, and I have been to Disney with other guy friends of mine. My problem is that when ever I mention any "dates" to my therapist he assumes I mean "dates" (he doesn't know that I am a lesbian). I get really upset because of that and I don't know how to handle this situation. Should I tell him I am a lesbian or just change the subject whenever it comes up?




A: Dear Kelly,

Let's face it, being a lesbian is a big part of your life. Sexuality is a big part of everyone's life. It would be an interesting experiment if heterosexuals tried to hide their heterosexuality just for one day and see what it's like.

I don't know if being in the closet about your sexual orientation is related to your depression or not, however, if you can't trust your therapist, then something is going wrong with the therapy. Of all people your therapist should be someone you trust. It's hard to correct people when they hold certain assumptions about you, nevertheless, if you want to get to a deeper level with people, they have to know about such a significant part of your life.

Most therapists do not hold a negative view of homosexuality. They are usually educated enough to know that it is similar to heterosexuality and that the problems homosexuals face are created largely by a prejudiced society. There is some discussion that therapists who attempt to change people into heterosexuals are actually hurting them because your sexual orientation is not something you change. If you therapist reacts badly, you should report him or her (anonymously if it would be more comfortable for you) to an ethics board. There are ethics boards for social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and all the other types of therapists.

Good luck,

Dr. Jay


Q: Dear Dr. Jay,

Ok, before I get into a long, drawn-out, elaborate description, I'll "bottom-line" my question for you. To start, let me make it clear that I am as sure as one can be without being 100% sure, that I am gay. But a lot people (mostly adults) tell me that I can't be sure at 15. Can I? (I also have another question, but they're related) Now, for the elaboration.

Well, why do I think I'm gay? I'm VERY sexually attracted to a lot of guys. I have hormones just like my straight "counterparts"-it's just that they're not directed towards girls. They have NEVER been directed towards girls. I have never felt the slightest amount of sexual attraction toward a female, and I've never thought of them like I do guys, in the sense of being a "potential partner".

Then there's this guy Lucas (I don't see a problem with using just his first name). When I first saw Lucas I was very attracted to him. It was only for about an hour that I had a chance to see him, but I couldn't stop thinking about him afterwards. I wanted to get to know him. This was in seventh grade. The next school year I had two classes and lunch with him, so I did get to know him somewhat. Through..."connections", I found out everything I could about him, even his shoe size (ok, I know I was obsessed, but I wasn't stalking him or anything.) When I walked by him in the halls I started breathing heavy and my legs felt weak, and I had no hope of talking to him. I sat at his table at lunch and listened in on all his conversations and got to know him in a sense. Near the end of the year I started talking to him a little bit, and my friends that knew I was gay that were also friends with him told me a lot of stuff about him. By this point I was sure I loved him, but it was eating me up inside that he barely thought of me as an aquaintance and I was getting VERY depressed.

I toughed out not seeing him for the summer after my eighth grade year, and then we started high school together. I was determined not to have this year of school be llike the last and not be depressed over him. Before school actually started we had some activities for marching band that we both did. I started to talking to him at practices and spent some time with him during the one week of band camp we had. There was one thing that happened I'll never forget. We (the band) were on the bus home from an invitational and Lucas and I were sitting across from each other. We spent the whole bus ride (about an hour and a half) talking. I got to know him more in that conversation than I had in the past two years. It was one of the best experiences of my life just because it involved him, and I can't even describe how happy it made me feel that he opened up to me.

Sorry, this is getting long. I'll sum up the rest of the Lucas experience. Near the end of ninth grade I wrote him a note telling him (in GREAT detail) about my feelings for him. Afterwards he wouldn't talk to me for a while. I was very depressed. Then tenth (current) grade. He has a girlfriend. I was devasted when I found out, but I'm starting to get over him. Still, it's killing me to see the two of them together. Him and I don't talk any more, but I still have feelings for him.

Now for the questions. This whole experience has changed my life and I've been very confused. People tell me I'm stupid for liking him when he's not gay and I agree, but I can't help it. Is that unusual? I think a small part of me still believes I have a chance wich is SO far from reality it's not even funny. Also, I'm not sure I was really in love with him because we didn't have much of a relationship. But I do know that I never thought that I could, in a million years, have feelings even close to that strong for one person. Was I in love? What should I do? I can't begin to describe how frustrated I am not knowing what to do.

Now, considering the Lucas sitiuation and what I said in the beginning, don't you think it's pretty obvious I'm gay?? But everyone I talk to (other gay guys on IRC mostly, but also my mom) say either I'm too young to be sure or they don't see how I can think that when I haven't had sex. I think that's stupid. Just 'cause I haven't done it doesn't mean I don't want to and that I'm not posotive about who I want to do it with, right? So am I in no position to "declare" myself gay? I think I am, but I'm beginning to wonder.

Also, (last thing, promise) it seems like all the other gay teens I talk to have a lot more..."experience" than I do. Is it unusual that I've never had a boyfriend or done anything with a guy at 15?

Thanks so much for reading this whoever is, and I hope it gets posted. Bye.

David (nhexum@geocities.com)


A: Dear David,

Thanks for writing. Let me address your "bottom line" question first. Straight people tend to think that gay people must go through a different process in the development of our sexual orientation than they do. Some people actually believe that a gay sexual orientation is transformed from a heterosexual one to a homosexual one. In fact, the recognition of same sex sexual feelings occur at the same time as heterosexual desire (about 13 for guys, 11 or 12 for girls). You know that you are gay the same way they know that they are straight. They didn't have to have sex with a woman to help them decide which sex they wanted to make love to. Most straight people will tell you that heterosexuality wasn't a decision, it just was. It is the same way for most gay people. So, in a nutshell, yes, you can be 100% sure that you are gay if you haven't slept with anyone or even if you never sleep with anyone, ... but we wont go there. Your story about your relationship with Lucas is certainly heartbreaking. However, if I was to give you an answer to your question about being in love, the answer would be "probably not". Your feelings were very strong and I'm sure you had a major crush on him, but I don't think it was really love. You didn't know him well enough. You knew a lot about him, but you didn't know what he was like in a relationship. You didn't know what he would be like after the infatuation part of the relationship wears off. A person knows when he or she is in love by intimately knowing both the good points and all the bad points of their partner and still loving him or her. Of course love is many more things too, but for now I think the main point is that the relationship never developed so you didn't get a chance to find out whether love would develop.

By the way, it's not dumb to fall for straight guys. I think it is something that most gay people do, particularly when they are just coming out. There isn't a lot of openly gay people to choose from at your age and in your school. People fall in love with the people that are around them. It isn't unusual that you haven't had a lot of experience at 15. A lot of gay people don't even get to have any sort of sexual experience until late in their teens or even into their twenties. In many ways, it's a good thing that you haven't had a lot of experience. Sex is better when you are in a relationship and there is a loving aspect to it. Also, today with HIV and other STD's (sexually transmitted diseases) around, it's better to wait and get to know something about your partner, and your partner's partner and your partner's partner's partner. You never have sex with just one person, you have sex with everyone they have had sex with. Since a lot of people don't even come out to themselves until after age 15, the people you are meeting on line are from a select group. They may have had more experience, but if it was possible to average all of the gay people (both in and out of the closet) you'd find that you were in the majority at your age. I'm sure that in the future you will have the opportunity to explore your sexual feelings and hopefully do so with someone you care about and who cares about you. Perhaps there is a Lucas out there who is gay and waiting for you to find him. Good luck in your search.

Dr. Jay

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