April 1998

I Can't Be Gay, Can I?

I fell in love for the first time when I was 13, although I didn't realize it then. Her name was Michelle. She was beautiful, and still is might I add. For nearly three years I loved her, and six weeks ago I told her. Then she betrayed me, but I'll get to that later. What attracted me to her in the first place, was not how beautiful she was, or how nice a smile she had, but her voice. Every time she sang it made my heart melt. I would dream about holding her, touching her. It was so hard because I couldn't talk about it to anyone. If I did they might think I was a lesbian, and I definitely wasn't gay, wasn't I?

I guess I only seriously thought about being gay four months ago, when I realized I loved Michelle in a more than friendly way. It happened on a coach trip back from Brisbane. We were allocated seats and I ended up sitting next to her, much to my joy, and agony. It was a twelve hour ride, and she spent most of it asleep in my lap. Although it was wonderful, I wanted to touch her so much that it hurt. I eventually worked up the courage to stroke her hair, and I knew. But I still did not believe it. I thought, "OK, there's gay people, but I couldn't possibly be gay." It's something that happens to other people, not you, like something you see on the news. "It's just a very strong friendship love," is what I told myself. "But why then am I so physically attracted to her?"

Even after that I still did not consider the possibility that I'm gay. Until I met Samantha. It was on a camp, and I found myself instantly attracted to her, but again I made excuses. I had suspicions that she was gay, well, actually I think I more wished she was, and I happened to be right. She told me on the last day. Sam had grown up in a very Christian family, and had been told her whole life that being gay was wrong. She kept telling me how ashamed she was about it, and wouldn't believe me when I told her that the only thing that was wrong was that society made her feel that way, when it was as natural as the color of her eyes. Don't worry, she's now totally OK with it. I thought I was too, until I realized that I was gay. It's one thing accepting other people, but quite another finding out you are yourself. (I'm sure you all know that.) All these thoughts kept crossing my mind, like, what if it's not OK, what if it is wrong and I go to hell? And I don't even believe in God! That's what society does to you. I even made myself like this guy in camp, to try and convince myself I wasn't. Anyway, after two weeks of nearly driving myself crazy trying to figure it out, I confronted Sam with my feelings about her. It was then she told me that she had loved me since the day she met me. That was January 2nd, and we've been going out ever since.

When the time came to go back to school, I thought after falling in love with Sam I would be over Michelle, but that was not the case. I had not seen her for about seven weeks, but when I got back to school I knew the feelings were still there, although not as strong as they were for Sam. After two days of torture I could not stand it anymore and told her that I was gay, and had loved her for nearly three years. She actually took it rather well, and after getting over the initial shock she was fine with it. She also swore never to tell anyone. Although I did not know until four weeks later, it had taken only a few days to break that promise. By the end of the week my whole grade knew, along with a lot of other people. When I found out through my best friend, I rang up Michelle to see what she had to say. I broke down in tears on the phone and spent the rest of the day crying. I was actually more upset about her breaking her promise than of the fact that everyone knew, but I was actually more upset about her breaking her promise than of the fact that everyone knew, but I was still terrified of what would happen. Little did I know that they had all known for nearly a month. They had not acted differently at all. Apparently they had all sat down and talked about it, got it all out of their systems, said, "OK, we accept that", and haven't thought twice about it since. I can't believe that not one person has a problem with it. They had accepted it better than I had. In some ways they are even nicer to me now. Some of the girls even think I'm really cool and original. It is such a relief that everyone knows now. I no longer have to hide anything, or pretend I'm something I'm not. I can't believe that was only a week ago.

Although I'd started feeling better over the last few weeks it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I finally came to terms with it. I got on the Internet and read some stories from girls who are the same as me, and had the same problems I'm having. Although you know in your mind there are lots of gay people out there, in your heart you feel you are alone, you think your the only one who feels like this. It's not until you actually read things written by other gay teenagers that you realize your not. I can't explain how much it has helped me, and that's why I'm writing this, in the chance that other girls realize there are people out there going through the same thing.

Please write to me if you have any comments or just want to talk with someone. I would love to hear from other gay teenagers. jstevens@ozemail.com.au

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