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Author Topic: Help? Im' a little confused about my orientation and etc.
TriNova
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Hello. I'm a new user, and I just stumbled across this site. I've got to say that this is the most realistic site I've seen yet about sex ed. It isn't filtered by conservative "abstinence-only" propaganda like the health books at my school are.

Anyway, I guess I should get to the reason I'm here. You see, I'm not sure what orientation I am. I've only ever dated a girl once, and didn't enjoy it all that much. But I also have had gay urges for my best friend (He's 9 months my senior, we're just barely not in the same class). And also, going on at the same time as that, I've had a massive crush on a girl (who, somewhat ironically, is my best friend's ex-girlfriend) for about a year now. I just feel like I want to take care of her for all eternity. But I also sometimes feel like I want to be intimate with my best friend.

To make matters even more confusing, my best friend has occasionally hinted at be interested in me, and at one point, when he was still dating his previous girlfriend, told me that he wasn't quite sure he was straight and that sometimes he wishes he was gay so that he wouldn't have to deal with all the drama of a straight relationship. He even asked me at one point to jack off with him, and we eventually did. Sort of anyway. But at the same time,in public he tends to try to make himself look like a homophobic teenager and he'll pull a 180 on me and flat out deny ever being interested in me. But, in private, he doesn't do any of that, and drops tons of hints in private. So it's gotten me extremely confused. I know that he is accepting of gays, as his parents are and his uncle was gay. So it has me extremely confused on what to do.

What do you guys think?

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Heather
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Glad you found us and it's been of value to you!

Let's set aside your friend's behavior for now, since how he behaves really has no bearing on what your orientation may be. It may have to do with this, but not with yours. [Smile] I'm glad to talk through that with you, especially since it sounds really hurtful, but let's start with helping you with your orientation questions.

What I'm hearing you say is that so far, in your life, you've had sexual and/or romantic feelings for people who are male and people who are female.

Let's expand that circle a little bit wider: when it comes to people you see in school or on the street, who do you find yourself feeling attracted to? How about your own sexual fantasies, or your ideas about what kinds of relationships you might want or are curious about in your life?

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TriNova
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To be honest, I don't find many women in my school attractive. I can see why others would, but I don't find them personally attractive. It's the same thing for guys. I'm not easily attracted to people.(To me it seems it seems that most of the women in my area are obsessed with the superficial. As are the guys. Plus, guys in my area tend to follow the old taboo of "never have an intimate relationship with another guy". Obviously me and my friend are exceptions.)

As for fantasies, it is a mixture of both, though I do admit that it does (To me at least) tend to lean towards males.

As for relationships, I want something honest, not superficial. I don't care about things like make-up or etc. And I don't care about my own pleasure as long as I please them. That is all I care about. And to me, at least, sex is icing on the cake, not the main course. I'd rather cuddle with somebody or take them out to eat, a movie, or go shopping with them then have sex ten times a day.

Then again, I may just be hard to please.

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Heather
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So, you experience your general sphere of attraction as small: that's something that tends to vary a lot among people, but obviously, it can make figuring your orientation out a bit more challenging. [Smile]

It's sounding to me like you're clearly expressing feeling attraction to both (or all) genders. Whether or not any people of a given gender want to have attraction or relationship to YOU that's sexual or romantic again, doesn't tell us about you at all, it only tells us about them. What feeling attraction to both/all sexes or genders usually suggests is bisexuality. But if you find your sexual feelings for men are strongest, it's also possible you may be gay, and are still working through homophobia around you, and/or sorting out if the feelings you have for women are or are not usually sexual or romantic. Sometimes we can mistake feelings of friendship for something else.

But orientation is something that takes a lot of people many years to really get a read on, and even then, our orientation can have shifts out of our control during the course of our whole lives. So, it might be that for right now, you just take some more time and see how you feel over at least the next few years, see how any relationships you do pursue go and feel for you, and with whom you want to pursue them.

In the meantime, if you like, you can identify as questioning, since that's where you are, but you also can ID your orientation in whatever way you feel most comfortable, with whatever language feels most true for you at the time. And in case it isn't obvious, no one is obligated to disclose their orientation to anyone they don't want to.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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TriNova
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Thanks, this has been a great help. Obviously, this isn't something I can just bring up at school.

Anyway, what do you think I should do about my best friend and the girl I have a crush on?

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Heather
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Well, since you're involved with your best friend now, or have been, maybe we should talk about that first?

Do you want to keep pursuing this as something other than a friendship, even if he's going to act this way? Because it sounds to me like this might not be very healthy for you, and that he's pretty obviously not comfortable being honest with others about this and treating you the same in public and in private.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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TriNova
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Well, my best friend is a little difficult to predict. I can understand why he acts the way he does in public. We live in a very conservative and homophobic area for the most part, and most of his class already perceives him as being gay, or close to it, at any rate.

And I've admitted before that if I ever figured it out, I'd be willing to give it a shot. Part of the problem, I believe, is that he saw the way people treated his gay uncle. He once told how a pastor at a local church condemned his uncle to Hell simply for being born gay. And at our school, there's no GSA, the staff doesn't even bring it up, assuming everyone is straight, most textbooks we have don't even make a reference to any sexuality other straight, and homophobic slurs are thrown around all the time by the majority of the school.

We have only one openly gay teacher at our school. But unfortunately, he tends to stick to the gay stereotype, as he has a mild version of the lisp, the fashion sense, all female friends, etc. This doesn't quite make for a good role model, despite being by far the best Spanish teacher in the school. But he is the only teacher I know of that gives people detentions for homophobic slurs.

Preferably, when I finally find out what I am for sure, I'd pursue this further. I know that he is probably just as confused about himself as I am. I have adopted the same kind of tactics as him before, admittedly. I feel less like he's a friend and more like he's family, if that makes any sense. I know he feels the same way about me, he's said so himself.

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MickyDomino
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Ive been in the same place you have. I felt the same way towards my friend, I wasn't sure if I liked him or if I even was gay. It took me forever to realize that I was, bt to me it sounds that you are more Bisexual, because of the crush and the fantasies. The best thing to do about your orientation like Heather said is to lable it whatever you want or just not have a lable at all.

As for your friend, my best friend whom I am now dating did the exact same thing to me. He acting like a majorly straight human being be then when we were alne or texting he would plan for me to give him blow jobs outside, but I always said no (this was after I figured out my orientation, which is gay). Then he would got back to ebing practically homophobieaman, and I would get mad at him. Me and him were like brothers so he felt more like family to me, and when I liked him and when he knew I found out he had no idea what he was. It was very stressful for me because he would always give me these signs and then say the next day that he was joking. Eventually we talked it out, and I told he figured put that he was gay, and then he ran outside and told his whole neighborood he loved me.

As for his uncle, I know how he feels, I see people get bashed like that all the time especially my music teacher (who is much liek your spanish teahcer). Thats why my Best friend-now-boy friend dosnt want to come out.

I think its a good idea to pursue it when you know, or you coudl onfront him now, but that could cayuse a major rift in the firendhship. I hoep you'll be able to resolve this.

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TriNova
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What exactly were your experiences with your friend? Cause it sounds pretty similar to what I'm going through. And I'm still on the fence about this. I admit that I have felt several times the urge to kiss him on the cheek.

Slightly off-topic, but on the rare occasions that we have argued, I've confided about it to a close female friend of mine. She's said that the argument sounded more like a breakup then an argument. I don't know if that means anything, but it might.

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MickyDomino
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Well, just like you, I too had these major urges to kiss him on the cheek. You see what mainly happened with us was when ever we were in private or texting on our phones, he would tell me things like that he wanted to date me,and the next day he would just shrug it off as a joke. Then there was this one time when we were in the bathroom at school, and no one else was around and he would always ask me to give me a hand or a blow job, but I would always say no. Mianly the experiences we would have, would be either coming close to actually dating or almost having oral sex.

Just because you have an urge to kiss him, doesn;t mean you're gay. What it really comes down to is whoch gender you feel more comfortable with dating, whether it be guys, girls, or both.

Man, that same thing would happen to us. I would tell my cousin about it, and she would say "You two break up?". If the argument sounds like a break up that could just mean that you were really mad at each other and just fight, or that you both do like each other and when you fight it is like breaking up.

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Harvey Milk is my hero.

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TriNova
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To be honest, the more I think about the past, the more I realize that I've kinda been attracted more towards men then women. And this is the first real major crush I've had on a girl.

Anyway, we would try similar stuff to what you did, like attempting a jacking contest in a bathroom when nobody else is there and having me jack with him at his house. Thing is, almost every time, he has chickened out. And the time at his house was particularly strange.

You see, he put on some porn to watch on his phone since he has a smart phone and can use the internet. Thing is, he'd always set it to some straight porn, but whenever I looked at his face, he'd look disinterested in what he was seeing. That and he kept changing the video, saying that the last one "wasn't good". And when he actually saw my erect penis, he stared at it for 4-5 seconds, left the room, and finished in the bathroom. That was a few weeks ago.

I think I might actually be gay, which might be a problem for me, as my parents are homophobic, as is my extended family.

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Heather
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I hear you in terms of the area you live in (my mother's family lived in Indiana, too) and his experiences.

Here's the thing, though: when any of us are in unsafe environments or those that feel unsafe, while that's not our fault, we need to do what we can to be sure we're managing our own behavior in those environments in a way that's safe for ourselves and other people. For instance, if he feels he can only protect himself by acting homophobic in public, it's not likely to be very emotionally safe for any same-sex partners of him. By behaving that way, he's actually making it less safe for you and others (and himself), and that also isn't likely to leave you feeling very good, even if you understand some of why he's behaving that way.

So, it may be that for right now, until he DOES feel safer and able to change that behavior, this might not be a good relationship for you to be in per your own physical and emotional safety.

With the GSA, is that something you'd want? If it is, why not talk to that teacher about it? I hear that you feel a bit uncomfortable with him because in some ways he's living the stereotype, but we all have a wide spectrum of how we present and identify, and the way he is is as valid as any other. In some ways, he may even amp that just to be more out in your area, which is actually really laudable.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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By the by, if it turns out you're gay, rather than bisexual, even if some others don't think so, please know that is okay. EVERY orientation is just as okay as the next, just like every race is.

I know that can feel really scary when you're surrounded by homophobia, especially with even the people closest to you, but people do change over time. Not everyone who starts homophobic stays homophobic, and in some families, that change is about realizing how awful a bias that is, especially when it's harming a family member.

But even in the worst case scenario, when it comes to families who exclude us, whether that's based on orientation or something else, we all also always have the ability to make our own families out of friends, partners and others. If the family we were born into or have won't accept us for who we are, that doesn't mean we have to be without family.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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By the way, here are the PFLAG chapters in Indiana: http://www.indypflag.org/IndianaChapters.htm

If you're not familiar with them, they're a fantastic organization that's primarily for parents and friends of those who are lesbian or gay. They're great sources of information, good places -- if and when you get to that point, whenever that is -- to direct family to, and can also be really good supports for those of us who are queer ourselves when we can't find it elsewhere.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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TriNova
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I'd would like to have a GSA at our school. The problem is, I get the feeling that it wouldn't be supported by the staff, as I know that at least the Drama/Speech teacher is anti-gay and the 10/11/12/Honors/AP teacher is heavily religious and conservative, and who is supposed to be teaching a Bible Literature class next year. And this isn't aided any by the health classes here, where the most I found about homosexuality are two sentences saying that that AIDS is most prevalent amongst gay men and women, and then goes on to say that for that reason, one shouldn't choose to be gay.

In fact, the majority of my school is heavily religious and come from conservative families, many students seems to subscribe to the gay stereotype and think that gays chose to be that way. It just happens that me and my friends happen to be among the more secular and accepting groups. So I get the feeling that a GSA wouldn't work either from lack of membership, or lack of acceptance by the majority of the staff.

We have only one openly Bi student at the school (who happens to be in the same class as my best friend), but unfortunately, he too subscribes to the gay stereotype. And I've seen how some of his class treats. The guys tend to avoid him like the plague, as they seem to believe that he is attracted to all guys. But the women seem to want to be best friends with him. This only reinforces the stereotypes the other kids at school have.

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Heather
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With the GSA, rather than YOU worrying about the staff, how about seeing if that might be something your Spanish teacher is willing to deal with instead? In other words, I think when considering a GSA, that's a bridge you don't have to cross yet as a student, and also a battle that a teacher who wants to be an ally will be willing to take on so you don't have to. To boot, GLSEN helps students and teachers pave the path for better LGBTQ attitudes and treatment in schools, both with adding GSAs, and some of the other issues you mentioned, so you can have larger organizational support.

The way you're describing the school makes it sound like one of the schools and areas GLSEN would want to work with the MOST, really. To boot, in that kind of environment, chances are good given the statistics of how many people are queer that you have more gay, lesbian and bisexual students than you know of yourself, they just don't feel safe being out yet.

I would suggest that maybe you try and develop a little more tolerance yourself about how other GLB people are presenting, when it comes to you saying, more than once now, that it's "unfortunate" the way your teacher and this other student present.

I'd also make sure you're not enabling some crap stuff yourself by suggesting in any way that how they choose to present somehow is at root of making other people's homophobia worse. The homophobia of other people is no one's responsibility BUT those homophobic people, and that idea that if everyone were just more "straight-acting," people would be less homophobic is something we actually know not to be true or sound. That idea is a bit similar to the suggestion (it still happens now, but did a lot more in decades past), that if black people just acted or presented in a way that made white people more comfortable, or was "more white" or "less ethnic," then racism would decrease. Also similar to the idea that for those of us who are women, if we just made sure to enact our gender in the way men liked and approved of, we'd be raped less often.

Again, not true, but it's also a bit of victim-blaming and an idea that suggests oppressed people need to limit their own self-expression and cater their identity to those with bias against them, which really only enables bias more. No oppressed group is responsible for the bigotry of others towards them, and the work that needs to be done to end bigotry is largely work those WITH bigotry need to do, not those harmed by it. See what I mean?

[ 04-09-2010, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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TriNova
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I know, but I just think that if people think that the stereotype applies, then they'll think it applies to all gays. To me it seems to reinforce the stereotype in the head.

Admittedly, I guess you are correct about them not having to conform. And your right, they should express themselves however they choose. But to me, I get the feeling that if the stereotype didn't apply so much, then people might stop with their misconceptions. Most people at my school believe the gay mythos that all gay men are queens and effeminate and etc. I just don't like the idea of that getting reinforced. I don't know. It may just be my personal bias getting in the way.

And your right, I think that the GLSEN would be extremely interested in my school. The problem is, and you probably know this, most parts of Indiana don't allow groups like that into their schools, at least not any that I've seen. I've been to dozens of schools all over Indiana (part of a plus in being in a marching band/drumline)and only two schools I've seen thus far have advertised anything resembling a GSA program.

As a sidenote, I just looked for GLSEN in Indiana. As it turns out, there's not a single chapter in the entire state. That's probably part of the problem.

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Heather
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I hear you, but at the same time, the idea we or others should try and control what others think to try and externally manage their own bias by adapting who we are is a problem, on a bunch of fronts, including that it rarely works.

Your idea that if some stereotypes about LGB people didn't apply to as many people bias would decrease is simply flawed. I know it can seem sensible, but it really isn't, and hasn't shown itself to be so. We can know this easily by looking at history and seeing that most often it's when people have been the MOST underground and tried hardest not to "act gay" (whatever the heck that means to a person) usually has tended to be the times when bias and intolerance has been highest, not the lowest.

I really appreciate the way you're talking about this, by the way. It can often take many LGB folks who have internalized some of the homophobia around them a LONG time to even start to evaluate that, and people can get very reactive and defensive about it, even though most of us know all of us internalized at least some of this stuff growing up, since it's really hard to avoid.

With GLSEN, if you like, I'd be happy to get you a very specific email contact for the right person to talk to about what they can do for your school or Indiana schools as a whole. You'll just have to wait until after the weekend when Kevin and the rest of his staff are back in their offices, that's all.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Oh, and Just FYI? In the US, any public schools expressly NOT allowing GSAs into the schools when allowing other kinds of social/support clubs are operating outside the law. So if, in fact, your school or others are outrightly discriminating against groups by or for LGBT students, that's something actionable, and something either or both GLSEN and/or the ACLU would be al over, and may even be working on already, as they are and have been in several states and areas.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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TriNova
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It's not that they don't expressly disallow it. It's just that at most schools I've been to, I haven't seen one. It just seems like nobody wants one. And it isn't helped by the fact that at my school, the common student has a negative view of homosexuals.

And I think I'd like that contact. My female friend I talked about earlier is interested in this kind of stuff too, and happens to be on the student council here. She managed to get recycling bins in our school where previously we had none, so she might be able to forward this to the principle. And I've talked with her about confronting the principal about why there isn't a GSA or something similar before.

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Heather
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You got it. I'll send an email in for you Monday morning and get back to you with it as soon as I get it. [Smile]

If nothing else, you can at least get a better idea of what your options are, and bring them to that teacher (who I'd start with rather than the principle: getting a teacher in your corner first is a very smart move).

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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