How can I meet other gay teens in my area?
I’m 17 years old and I would love to meet gay people my own age in the London area as I feel left out and that I do not fit in. My parents are also quite overprotective. I am a little nervous and have a stammer but would love to meet gay guys my own age.
Hi Guy, thanks for your question.
Being young and out is never easy, now teens sometimes feel ready to come out of the closet and start dating at 13 and 14 years old! When you’re a young teen it’s sometimes difficult to find others your age, lot’s of stuff is off limits to those who are under 18 because of the laws that are meant to protect young people.
It’s normal to feel nervous about the situation and meeting new people even at 17, everyone is nervous; some people are just better at hiding it. Also your parents will become more comfortable with your new friends; when they see that you’re happy, that you haven’t changed, that you still do your homework and household chores as usual.
Most people reading your question will say: geez that’s so easy.. use the internet, go to any of the gay chat sites or might suggest that you use your current profile on facebook, my space or other web2 tools and subscribe to gay youth groups and/or causes. There are also lots of chat and socializing websites, you will find lots of people you can chat with.
The reality is: all that is all good and well, but at some point you need non-electronic contact – like meeting real people your age and socializing in person.
What you have to figure out is where do or where would GLBT hang around in your city, is there a gay village, or an area of town where there are some gay themed shops, clubs/pubs and stores. Or is there a place where artistic types hang out, like a specific coffee shops or other alternative types retail places. You can start by calling National LGBT Youth Line in Manchester: Tel: 0870 383 4796 .You can also try getting information about GLBT youth groups that may exist in your area from a youth community center/youth protection center and/or referral center, they may be aware of other local resources which may not be advertised or be published.
As one of the youth group websites points out and we at AlterHeros believe in as well: Is to be cautious and careful about your personal safety. We discourage gay teens from meeting individuals off the net without having some form of back up available as precautionary measure People are not always what they seem on the Internet, just because you have chatted with them, seen there picture or them on webcam doesn’t make them reliable or trustworthy. Meeting people only in public places and bringing your friends along and not going off alone with people you do not know well are all good tips. Other precautions include only going to areas you are very familiar with, where there is security, public phones (in case your mobile doesn’t work), and reliable adults or law enforcement that you can trust, also having enough money to take a cab (taxi) if you feel in danger.
Here are some links to outside websites, that have information you may find useful.
The Queer youth network http://queeryouth.org.uk
Other interesting sites in England:
Good luck in meeting new people, have a good time and be safe!
JP for the AlterHeros team.