How can I remain straight?


Hello Rocky,

Thank you for your question.

It certainly seems that you are currently living through a difficult period.

From what you say I understand that you are mostly sexually attracted to men. However, you are not able to share the truth about your sexual orientation with your family or friends for fear of their response– what they may think of you and how your relationship with them might change. Also, it seems that you yourself are very uncomfortable with the idea of being gay, and you are asking us how you “can change your thinking toward girls.”

I’d like to ask you — why do you think you would rather be attracted to women? Is it because then you would be more likely to fit in and more likely to meet the expectations that your family has for you? At 23, does your family expect you to be married, have children, and be the head of the household?

If you were living in a place where being gay would be fully accepted and your family were supportive, would you be OK with being gay?

Or, do you think that being attracted to men means that there is something wrong with you?

These are questions that you need to ask yourself. Write the answers down. Talk them over in an online forum where people are open to diversity. Alternatively, if you live in a big city, perhaps there are organizations that you can join where people are going through similar life experiences. There may be such clubs at your university, college, or work.

Since you have written to Alterheros, I know that you are already reaching out, and I want to congratulate you for that. It is not easy to talk to people about one’s sexual orientation. And yet it is so important — because talking allows us to feel less alone and helps us find answers.

Here, I can only reassure you that all people are different. Many are sexually attracted to the opposite gender, many people are attracted to both women and men, and many are sexually attracted to people of the same gender. All these variations are completely normal.

And so I do not think there is anything I can say, or anything you can do, to change the fact that you are mostly attracted to men. Of course you have the choice to live your life as you like. You may feel it is too difficult to be gay (or bisexual) openly. However many people also feel that being gay and “in the closet” means a life filled with secrets and lies — and that is a very difficult and unhappy life to lead.

So I suggest that you get in touch with people in your community, or online, who are living through similar experiences. Once you yourself are comfortable with the idea that you are gay (or maybe bisexual), try talking it over with a trusted friend or family member, and see how they react. Most often, those people that love you will accept you as you are.

Please be sure to seek the help of a psychologist or doctor if you feel that you are no longer able to cope with life or if you feel tremendously sad for prolonged periods of time.

I hope this helps. Please write again if you have any other questions.

Rimma, for AlterHeros.


About Rimma Orenman

She has a B.A. in Anthropology, an M.D.C.M. degree from McGill, and has started her psychiatry residency, also at McGill, in 2008.

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