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I'm a Gay 12-Year-Old. Who Can I Talk to?

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I'm a Gay 12-Year-Old. Who Can I Talk to?

It can be hard for GLBT preteens to find support.

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Question: I'm a Gay 12-Year-Old. Who Can I Talk to?
A gay preteen longs for someone understanding and supportive to talk to.
Answer:

A reader posted this on the forum:

"I'm turning thirteen in a couple months and I'm gay (boy). I'm scared and I just wanna talk to some one in my situation. No one knows I'm gay and I don't seem like it. I'm just really depressed and lonely. If I tell someone I'll probably get disowned by my mom and family (she hates gays). I'm just scared and need help."

Thank you so much for reaching out! I am so sorry that you are feeling like this. It is awful to feel like your family might reject you for a core part of who you are.

Some kids choose to come out in middle school. There is more support for GLBT issues and more awareness of them, than ever before. But while it can be great to be open about who you are from a young age, coming out in middle school can present unique challenges, both at home and at school. Because of that, a lot of kids decide to come out when they are older and have more freedom and support.

But whether or not you decide to come out at home or at school, it would still be a really good idea for you to find someone who supports you. Even though you feel like there is no one you can talk to, that might not be the case.

Can you think of any relative, maybe an older cousin, sibling, or aunt or uncle, who you think would be accepting? Is there a teacher at school or a guidance counsellor who you feel comfortable with?

If you do decide to come out to your parents as gay, there are a few things you should keep in mind. One is that while you have been thinking about this for a long time, the news will probably be pretty new for them and they might say things you wish they wouldn't as they process the news.

It can be really helpful to have a list of good, accurate resources from places your parents are likely to trust--say, a statement by the American Psychological Association saying that sexual orientation cannot be changed, and trying to do so can be harmful.

You might also want to gather a list of websites and identify some adult allies who you think your parents would listen to. Sometimes talking to your family about sexual orientation can be really intense and emotional, so it can be helpful to be able to say, "You know what, maybe Aunt Lucy can explain this better," and then have her do so.

Another good resource is Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. This group provides help and information for families of gay children.

Even if you can't think of someone to reach out to, you still have options. One is to contact your closest GLBT community center and see if they have any programs for people your age.

You can also call the GLBT National Help Center. This is a hotline that provides help and resources for GLBT and questioning individuals who need someone to talk to. To reach the Youth Helpline call the hotline number toll-free 1-800-246-PRIDE. The helpline is Monday through Friday from 5pm to 9pm, Pacific Time. The line is open to youth up to 25 and it is staffed by volunteers 18 to 25 years-old.

There is also the issue of how you are feeling right now. For a lot of young people, symptoms of depression include not only deep feelings of sadness, but also feelings of emptiness, the desire to sleep more than is needed, and even thoughts of self harm or suicide.

It is impossible to tell you what is really going on over the internet, but it is probably a really good idea to touch base with your family doctor and see what he or she recommends. Doing so might seem really unappealing, and it might take a little bit of work on your part to get the help you need, but getting help is one of the best ways to feel better.

Good luck!

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