Growing up can be difficult at the best of times. Even more so then for those young people who begin to realise they are ‘different’ in some way from the people around them. When we discover that we might be gay, there can be a lot of confusion. For some, it may just be a passing phase, for others, the feelings of attraction to the same sex can develop more emotionally. It is difficult growing up in a society where being ‘straight’ is the norm, and anything else doesn’t seem to fit in with the way ‘we are supposed to be’
Sometimes the hardest part of growing up gay can be dealing with school life. Homophobia exists in all parts of life, but can often be most damaging during the time when gay youth are only just realising they may be gay, and trying to understand themselves and where they fit in. Some people become more comfortable with being gay sooner than others. Some may decided to come out at school, others leave it till perhaps college, or even later, some may never come out fully at all, perhaps telling just a few close friends. These things can be no-one else’s decision but your own. Some, especially those who come out early, may find that they suffer homophobic bullying in some form. This could be emotionally or in the worst cases physical bullying. Part of the reason why this happens is that there is a great lack of information available in our schools about homosexuality, and so others around you do not understand what it means to be gay.
The internet has provided a new source of information for young people who are growing up gay. It provides a private environment where they can use sites like this to gain information, advice and support. Through the internet they may meet other gay youth, and are able to talk about the issues which really affect them, something which is most often too hard to do with anyone else, especially family.
Information is the key to understanding who you are, and friends are the key to helping you growing up gay. The gay community is a rich and diverse one. Finding where we fit in may be difficult, or it may be difficult, often confusing. Through the process of growing up gay, we all benefit from the experiences we go through. We never stop learning but the key to being happy is being comfortable with yourself.