uf18 asks: It’s an honor to write to you. I am a 14-year-old boy. Since childhood I always had sexual attraction toward males. I can’t decide what to do? Be straight or gay? Please help me. I am begging you. I wrote to a lot of advice columnists, but no one answered. So I hope you will be kind enough to answer my question. Thank you.
Hi uf18 –
Thank you for writing this extremely important question. I’m sorry for the tough time you’re going through, and really respect you for reaching out to ask this.
Until pretty recently, no one really knew what determined anyone’s sexual orientation (a big word for what sort of people you’re attracted to). But in the last decade or so, scientists have found that there’s a part of the brain that is different in size for people who are attracted to their own or the opposite sex. It’s called the hypothalamus. What’s so important about this discovery is that it makes it clear that attraction is not a choice. Of course people can all be attracted to different types of people at different times, but there is a biological fact that determines that a person will, overall, be attracted to certain sorts of people.
The reason I’m talking about all this science, uf18, is that you’re asking me whether you should “be straight or gay.” But the truth is, you have no choice: you can’t control what sort of people you’re drawn to. The extremely important question for you, instead, is what you want to do about it now. How you want to live. And that is far too important a question for even a very caring dog to be able to give a simple answer to.
You see, we dogs don’t have to worry about social prejudice from our kind at all. We can jump on other dogs of any gender, grab onto couches or humans’ legs, whatever we like, and other dogs don’t care a bit. But people are tougher. There have always been, and definitely still are, people who simply won’t accept you the way you are. And you have to be careful about that… while still living your life.
There are gay men and women who find it a lot easier and safer to live “in the closet,” not letting others know about their orientation. There are others who live very openly, flamboyantly and proudly dressing and acting in ways that let everyone know their truth. Then there are a great many who live in ways that allow them to share this important information with a select few people, to keep control over who knows and who doesn’t.
One thing I’m very proud of with this website, uf18, is that I almost never know where my Pack Members actually live. Because of that, I don’t know what rules your social community has. If you’re living in, say, San Francisco or Berlin, I know that it is relatively safe for you to “come out.” If you’re living in Teheran or Birmingham, I know that it’s relatively dangerous. The awful thing I have to say is that there’s nowhere in the world that is really 100% fully accepting of the differences between people; but the good, really great news is that the world’s views on this are changing faster than any social change has ever happened in history.
You’ll hear a lot of argument about whether people of the same sex should be allowed to marry, or serve in the military, and those are very important issues, but you aren’t ready for those yet. Your issue is gigantic and simple – How to live your life as fully as possible, in a way that feels both real and safe.
Again, I’m not the one to offer advice on this. Many religions have very strong statements against actively indulging your desires, and I’m not here to speak for or against any religion. But you might want to look at a couple of websites that might offer some ideas for you, and to contact some people at these reputable places for some help. A few I’d suggest looking at would be:
More than anything else, uf18, I want to push on you the fact that You Have the Right to Be You. You don’t have to hide who you are, or advertise who you are, unless and until you are absolutely ready. This is your life. And you know the issues you’re dealing with better than anyone else.
Having said that, though, please stay in touch, and let me know anything I can help you with. And when you can, find someone understanding who can help you through this very difficult time in your life.
I know what it’s like to live in a world that doesn’t accept who you are and let you be free. Remember, I was in a pound, one day from execution, when Handsome bought and freed me. All of us who’ve suffered such fear are brothers and sisters, uf18. You are not alone.
Wishing you great strength,