This is post from a gay teenager on the internet:

“Hello, my name is George. I am 16 years old and I am gay. I realized I was gay when I was around 8/9 years old when I began to get butterflies around this other boy in my class and I noticed I didn’t get that feeling around girls. To be able to tell the people who mean the most to you, that your gay is the one thing I dread! I don’t know how my family will react? How my friends will react? Recently I have attempted to find a friend on Facebook who has similar love for my idol Lady GaGa (who’s fans have love for the gay community). I intend to tell them that I am gay just to have that relief. To know what it feels like to be open with someone. I highly recommend it to anyone because it is the most perfect/safest way to discover the feeling. Thankyou x.”

Coming out as a city teenager can be a difficult process but it is far harder in Australian country towns. Teenage years are tough when bodies start changing, pushing towards adulthood, yet young brains still cling to childhood thoughts. It is a strange limbo life stage, sometimes frightening, sometimes insecure and mostly confusing. Then throw in slowly discovering your sexuality is different to your peers. Peers lying in wait to give you as much grief as possible if you dare to be different.

Wow, that is really hard and even more so when every reflection in the country environment supports and heralds a heterosexual life style. It is a recipe for loneliness with little financial or physical power to change the environment. But country teenagers take heart, there are many resources out to make coming out so much easier than ever before. It’s time to change your personal environment.

There is the Internet to explore to find others to communicate with that have similar feelings and thoughts. There are internet publications like the Star Observer and organisations like ACON who run ‘Fun & Esteem’ programs for gay youth, see: http://www.acon.org.au/youth/young-men/What-We-Do

You can also create a personal gay environment buying and playing your own gay music, reading magazines and books on gay themes and establishing contact with Internet sources. Being gay is a whole new way of thinking so let that creative part of you be freely expressed in the privacy of your own bedroom.

Coming out to family can be tough so think about who will accept it better first. Once one person accepts it, they probably knew anyway, it gives you the confidence to tell others. Maybe there is a person in the community you can trust like a teacher of a close family friend. Take it slowly when coming out, telling those you can trust. Telling people will bring great relief, as it no longer becomes your own lonely secret. Being gay is who you are on the planet, the person you were destined to be so own it with pride.

The following is a message from teenager Wyatt who posted this on the internet: “I’m writing to plead you to not hide yourself, to not build up these walls. No harm can come to your loved ones from your homosexuality, and there is nothing to fear or hate about yourself. Enjoy it, embrace it, and express it to those around you. I know what you’re going through, and even though I haven’t broken through the final bit of my walls, maybe we can help each other to do so!”

Take care and seek support from those you can trust. Email me if you have any questions you think I can help you with.

Gerry North is a gay counsellor working with a team of supportive gay therapists. Email: gerrynorthcounsellor@gmail.com or web: www.gaycounselling.vpweb.com.au

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