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Coming out to yourself

Growing up gay

For some young gay or bisexual people, adolescence can be a particular time of anxiety and fear and may later look back on this part of their lives with sadness and regret.

Even though it is easier for successive generations to question one's sexuality and come out - with a ton of books, films and role models to support us along the way - gay teenagers can become painfully aware that they are not like other people and many become withdrawn and lonely, convinced that only they are feeling this way.

We learn to hide our true feelings or act as others want us to, for fear of being ostracised, ridiculed or rejected by loved ones and friends. Above all, there can be a sense that we are somehow different, that we are abnormal and that we are going to disappoint people.

Some people (still) believe that if they get married to the opposite sex their gay feelings will disappear though (thankfully) this happens much less often today. This stores up a great deal of stress and anxiety for their later years. Breaking out of a clearly defined role, or even attempting to shift the definition of it, involves tremendous courage and strength. The conflict between the relationship with a spouse and family and the need to be true to oneself can be enormous.

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