Okay. So you think you’re lesbian, gay, or bi and are scared or unsure of what to do about it. Or maybe you are sure about it and you’re cool with that, but now someone else has found out and the excrement has struck the rotary air impeller and you wonder what to do about it. Believe it or not, your story happens to someone every day. Here are some things to think about and suggestions for where you might go from here:
Don’t Panic. You aren’t the only person who has ever been in this situation, and you don’t have to face it alone.
There’s Nothing Wrong With You! Perhaps the most important thing to do is to know that you are OK just the way you are. God doesn’t hate you (there are lots of gay-friendly religious resources out there) and you aren’t sick. No matter how alone you may feel right now, there are lots of us who have stood exactly where you are now and lived to tell the tale. And even if you can’t see us, we know you and many others like you are out there, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Take Stock. There are resources available to you, even though you may not know what they are right now. Start by making a list of people you know who are aware of your situation and are supportive, or who may not know the story, but whom you think are likely to be supportive. Most large cities have community organizations that can help you and your family. There are even youth groups in quite a few places. If you haven’t a clue about what’s out there, you can visit these Web sites:
Here are some other places to look for resources:
Make a Plan After you have rooted out all the information you can find and you know what’s available to you, talk to people you trust—these might include your family, your friends and your e-mail pen pals—and decide what you want to do next. You might not need to do anything right now, especially if you are young and living at home, or otherwise dependent on someone else for financial support or a place to live. If you aren’t being threatened with the loss of house and home as it stands now, you might be better off just to take things slowly and plan for the future instead of acting immediately.
Even if you are threatened in some immediate way, you still need to be in control of your situation as much as possible. Let others you trust know what that situation is and seek their advice. Arm yourself with information. Then see whether that information can be helpful to anyone else involved. Parents, especially, may need only to learn that they aren’t alone either. Through PFLAG and the QRD you can find books and information that will be helpful to those who may have trouble with what you have to tell them.
Make Friends Like Yourself. It is possible to meet other people without going to bars or clubs. Some suggestions that have worked for me include volunteering and church. It sounds stereotypical, I know, but volunteering for an AIDS charity or for an arts organization can be a good way to meet other les/bi/gay folk. And not all churches teach that gay = sin. Unitarian Universalist churches, United Church of Christ, and the Metropolitan Community Church are gay-friendly as a matter of denominational policy (they ordain gay ministers and do gay weddings). Many congregations (especially in large cities) of some other denominations (Lutheran, Methodist) are also welcoming (call them and ask—you don’t have to give your name). There are a number of gay-friendly Reform Jewish congregations as well, and if you look in the QRD, you’ll find even more spiritual options. Getting involved at a congregation that welcomes les/bi/gay folk is another great way to meet nice people.
The Internet can also provide opportunities, but you need to be a good bit more cautious. There are not-nice people out there, those who pretend to be someone very different from who they actually are, those who have “only one thing” on their minds, and those who will try to find out who you are so they can “save” you (i.e. religious crusaders). There are also tons of really cool folks you’d be glad to know. Just be slow in giving out your real name, phone number, or anything more than your e-mail address until you really feel that you know someone. And be sure that if they ask for information about you, that they are just as forthcoming about themselves. If you ever do decide to meet somebody in person whom you first met on line, make the first meeting in a public place, bring a friend, and be sure someone who isn’t going with you knows whom you’re meeting and where, and what time you’ll be back home.
With what’s listed above and on my Web pages, you ought to be able to find the help you need by yourself. But if something doesn’t seem to be working, or you just want to ask me something, feel free to contact me and I’ll try to get you an answer.
Copyright © 1997, 2007 by Charles E. Galvin Jr. All rights reserved.
URI for this page: http://www.idiom.com/~cxarli/english/writing/checklist.html