Men usually describe themselves as gay when they find that they are physically, emotionally and sexually attracted to other men. It’s not uncommon for men to have homosexual experiences and feelings as part of exploring their sexuality. However, it is important to remember that just because at some point in your life you experience an attraction to the same sex, you don’t have to label yourself as gay. It is your choice. Unfortunately, some people find homosexuality hard to understand, but remember: there’s nothing “wrong” about feeling or being gay.
Why are some people gay? Researchers believe that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of our biology (genes and hormones) and our environment. This is true whether you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or straight. The main thing to remember is that being gay is not something to be “cured” or “fixed.” It’s part of the broad spectrum of human sexuality.
Acting gay? There are a lot of ways that people choose to express their gay identity. This is a process that you will have to explore on your own. Being gay doesn’t mean acting or dressing like a girl; it doesn’t mean you can’t play sports, and it has nothing to do with what kind of man you are. Being gay doesn’t mean that you have to act or behave in any way other than how you are comfortable being.
How do I know if I’m gay? There’s no easy answer to this question. What’s important is that you explore your sexuality in a way that makes you feel comfortable and safe. Allow yourself time to understand what being gay means to you. You don’t have to address these questions alone. You might have friends or family members who have had similar experiences and can talk with you about your feelings.
If you’d rather speak to people who aren’t directly involved in your life, you can also find a support group in your area though the Human Rights Campaign, local Two Spirit Societies, Gay-Straight Alliance, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, or local LGBT community centers. If someone tells you that gay people are just confused about their sexuality, or that you can change, look for someone else to talk with.
Gay relationships. In most respects, gay relationships are no different from straight relationships. Like everyone else, gay men date, break up, explore feelings, fall in love and form committed relationships. Regardless of your sexuality, it’s important to be open and honest with your partners about your feelings and attraction to other people. Beyond that, there are no predetermined rules to follow in any relationship.
You can learn more about LGBTQ and Two Spirit health HERE.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.
Special Thanks: Tommy Chesboro, Tony Aaron Fuller, Hannabah Blue