All About Being Gay

This web page provides information and links to resources for people who are gay, their family and friends.

All About Being Gay

  • Men who call themselves gay are emotionally and sexually attracted to and fall in love with other men.
  • Their sexual feelings toward men are normal and natural for them.
  • These feelings first appear when they are boys and the feelings continue into adulthood.
  • Although some gay men may be attracted to women, they usually say that their feelings for men are stronger and more important to them.
  • About one out of 10 people in the world are gay or lesbian.
  • This means that in any large group of people, there are probably several gay people present.
  • However, you cannot tell if someone is gay or not unless he or she wants you to know.
  • Gay people look and act like other people, but they often feel different from other people.
  • Teenagers may not be able to say just why they feel different. All of the guys they know seem to be attracted to girls, so they don't know where they fit in. And, they feel like there is no one to talk to about their feelings.

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How do I know if I'm gay?

  • You may not know what to call your sexual feelings
  • You don't have to rush and decide how to label yourself. Our sexual identities develop over time.
  • Most teenage boys are intensely sexual during the years around puberty, when their bodies start changing and their hormones are surging.
  • Your sexual feelings may be so strong that they are not directed towards anyone in particular, and it may seem that you are attracted to both males and females.
  • As you get older you will figure out who you are really attracted to.
  • Boys with truly gay feelings find that, over time, their attractions to boys and men get more and more clearly focused.
  • You may find yourself falling in love with classmates or may develop a crush on a boy or man.
  • You may find these experiences pleasurable, troubling or a mix of the two feelings.
  • By age 16 or 17 some gay kids start thinking about what to call themselves, while others prefer to wait.

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If you think you might be gay, ask yourself...

  • When I dream or fantasize sexually, is it about males or females?
  • Have I ever had a crush or been in love with a boy or a man?
  • Do I feel different than other boys?
  • Are my feelings for boys and men true and clear?
  • If you cannot answer these questions now, don't worry. In time one's sexual orientation become clearer. You and only you know how to label yourself correctly.

Who should I tell?

  • More and more gay youth are learning to feel better about themselves.
  • As you start to listen to your deepest feelings and learn more about what it means to be gay, you will begin to feel more comfortable with your sexuality.
  • This is the process called " coming out " and happens over a long period of time.

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Learn to Like Yourself

  • It is not easy to discover that you are gay.
  • Our society makes it very clear what it thinks of gay people. We all hear the terrible jokes, the hurtful names and the wrong ideas that people have about gay people. It's no wonder that people choose to hide their gay feelings from others or even from themselves.
  • You may wonder if you are normal.
  • Perhaps you worry about people finding out that you are gay.
  • Maybe you avoid other kids who might be gay because of what people may think, or you work very hard to be "straight".
  • Working this hard to conceal your thoughts and feelings is called being "in the closet".
  • It is painful and lonely to be in the closet, even if you have to be there to survive.
  • It takes a lot of energy to deny your feelings and it may be costly.
  • Some people use drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. Some youth consider suicide as a way to escape from the pain.
  • Remember that you are not alone. There are many people you can talk to and who understand how you feel. Call the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Youth Line at 1-800-268-YOUTH or e-mail info@haltonpride.org .

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What about sexual activity?

  • Naturally you think about finding an outlet for your sexual feelings.
  • Becoming a healthy sexual person is part of the "coming out" process.
  • You may be scared about the possibility of having sex.
  • This is normal for everyone. No one should start having sex until they are ready. Sex should only happen between mature individuals who care for each other. You will know when the time is right.
  • We all choose to have sex in different ways, whether we are gay or straight.
  • There are no sexual practices that are "gay".
  • A person can choose masturbation (either alone or with another person), kissing, hugging, massage, wrestling, holding hands, cuddling as ways to express their sexuality.
  • They can also choose oral or anal intercourse or anything else that appeals to both partners.
  • Remember that you are in control over what you do sexually and you always have the right to say "no" to any sexual practice.
  • All sexually active people need to be aware of HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) .
  • Being gay does not give you AIDS, but certain sexual practices and  drug use behaviours can put you at risk for catching the virus that causes HIV/AIDS .

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To reduce your risk of HIV/AIDS:

  • Do not share needles  if you inject drugs or steroids or other substances. Sharing needles is the most dangerous behaviour in terms of getting AIDS .
  • Avoid anal intercourse or other direct anal contact. Anal intercourse transmits the virus very efficiently. If you do engage in anal sex, use a  condom every time.
  • Use condoms for anal, oral or vaginal sex (if you have sex with women.)
  • Choose  sexual activities that do not involve intercourse: hugging, kissing, talking, massaging, wrestling or masturbation.

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