I’m happy to hear that you have chosen to write to us. I understand your feelings and sentiments and empathize deeply. I understand the pressures of family and society to people who have attraction to people of the same gender. This occurs to people across the world who belong to different cultures and religions. If you try to look online for institutions to change your sexual preference, you will only most likely be let down. You can be influenced to change your behaviour and thoughts but your sexual preference isn’t really something that can be changed.
I understand how it must be difficult to come out to your family or society. The societal pressures and the hatred towards homosexuals is not justified at all. Your anger and frustration is normal. At the same time, your life remains full of possibilities. You will have the opportunity to see and experience so much in the coming years if you stay open and available when these opportunities do present themselves. Often people will think about suicide when they have the impression it is the only way to stop suffering. But suicide is not the answer. You might think by doing so you will be able to shut out everything. Do you think you will feel happiness after that? Do you think you will experience love? Life is a balancing act of various factors. We have to experience sorrow to truly appreciate happiness. We have to struggle through harder times to appreciate the better ones.
My suggestion is to seek a Gay and Lesbian support group in your community. If you are in Montreal there are many organizations like the Project 10 organization or the Montreal LGBT+ community center which have counsellors who can sit with you and advise you, and help you chose from various options on how to deal with homosexuality. Whichever way things turn out, please bear in mind that there are many very happy gay people in the world. I personally believe that talking with someone who is an expert in sexuality for young people will help you a lot. Don’t forget that you are only 18, and that this is an age/time for discovery. There is so much more to learn and you are just beginning to explore your sexuality.
You have your own unique sexual feelings – and your own wishes for a healthy and happy life. You should allow yourself to at least experience some of this. Go and talk about these feelings with an expert; I truly hope that after that, you will become more at ease with yourself. You already identified yourself as someone who is attracted to members of the same sex, so it would be extremely difficult and maybe even unhealthy for you to prented to have a more “conventional” sexual orientation. As you struggle with your fears, anxiety and self-hatred, you have to remember that, in order to be happy, you will eventually have to accept who you are.
What I notice when I read your letter is someone who wants to change himself into something that he truly isn’t. If you succeed, do you realize what your future would be? You could have many friends, but you would live in a dishonest way towards yourself. You will live in constant fear of keeping a secret from your family and for them to be deeply disappointed in you if this secret gets out. In short, it is essential to be truthful to yourself from the start: there will be struggles, there will be sadness and frustration, but at the end of the day, there is a hope that you will be accepted for who you are, which is so much more valuable than being recognized for someone you are not.
It is a great achievement in life to accept and appreciate your whole self. Joining a group like the queer support centers I mentioned could help you foster friendships with people with shared interests. This can provide you much more fruitful soil to grow in than the swamp of ambivalence. And with the support of more friends who are similar to you, you would find the courage to reveal yourself to your existing friends and family as the person you are.
Whether you take the more radical route or the slower, step-by-step route, the only way out of your ambivalence is towards to the full acceptance of who you really are. Just think what a relief that would be, and probably not just to you.
If you need information on other resources and organizations, please don’t hesitate to contact us again.
AJ, for Alterheros