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Chris Kryzan

May 1999

Hi Chris,

I don't know if this is the right place to ask my question, but someone in the !OutProud! chat room on AOL said it was (I found it searching for gay teens).

I was looking for something in my brother's room a couple of days ago when I found a gay magazine in a pile of papers on his desk. It was a surprise to me at first, because he's had girlfriends before and is on the soccer team. He really doesn't seem gay, but then in another way it kind of seems to make sense, when I think about him.

I haven't mentioned anything to him about it yet, and haven't told anyone else, either. Should I confront him about this? Should I tell my parents? I don't really have a problem with it, and I don't think my parents would, either. I'm 16 and he's 18, in case you need to know. What should I do?

Steve

Hi Steve,

Thanks for writing and you have, in fact, found exactly the right place to ask your question.

You know, sometimes no matter how well people think they're hiding anything gay about themselves, it leaks out in some unexpected (and often untimely) way. Sometimes, I think people leave clues, too, because it might seem easier to be asked whether or not they're gay, rather than start the conversation themselves.

Whatever the case for your brother, the thing now is that you do know that he's most likely gay (I would suggest that it's unusual for a heterosexual 18 year-old guy to have a gay magazine). And the important question here is what you're going to do about it.

By the way, it's worthwhile to say that there are really no defining characteristics as to whether or not someone is gay, unless they actually tell you in some way. Just because he's on the soccer team doesn't mean anything -- there are lots of gay athletes everywhere (they are just mostly in the closet, because it can often be the hardest for them to come out in that environment). And he may have had girlfriends because that "seemed like the thing to do," perhaps to prove to himself that he's not gay, is bisexual, or maybe he just didn't even know yet.

But back to what you do know now, and your questions.

Should you tell your parents? No, absolutely not. If your brother felt comfortable telling them, most likely he would have done so already. He needs to come out to them in his time, even if you're confident that they will be alright with it. That's something between him and them, and it would be best for everyone for him to initiate that discussion when he's ready.

Should you confront him? No, absolutely not. Being gay is not something to "confront" anyone on, but I bet you know that already and maybe it was just a slip of words.

Should you talk with your brother about what you now know? Obviously, that is something that only you can decide, because you know your relationship the best, and probably have some idea how he would react.

But if you're relationship is good, and you feel comfortable sharing things with each other, than most likely talking to him about this might be a good thing. It could be he is, in fact, ready to talk to someone about this and that perhaps you will give him a much-needed outlet to disclose this part of who he is. And if he does, it's important that you let him know that it makes no real difference to you and that you support him, because he's probably waiting to hear that from someone (but then, maybe you know that already).

I hope things go well for the both of you. Let me know how it turns out.

Take care,

Chris
chris@kryzan.com


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