The Help Desk: A difficult case of coming out

 

Dear Louisa

Q. I'm an 18-year-old girl and I have to accept that I'm gay. I'm fine with people being gay, but I feel desperately unhappy that I am gay myself and for several years I've fought against it. Until recently I was going out with a boy. Then I fell in love with a slightly older woman, but she was in a relationship with a man and made it clear she didn't feel the same about me, which made me hate myself even more. There are a couple of out gay guys – and one girl – in my sixth-form, but I feel I have nothing in common with them and would die if anyone at school knew about me. I dread my family finding out. My mother has always treated me as bit of a disappointment (it's just the two of us at home, and I'll leave for uni this year). I know her views on this, and I think it would be the last straw for us. How will I ever be happy with my life?

A. It's heartbreaking to read about your unhappiness, and it's a reminder that, even though gay marriage is now a prospect and so many gay people are living openly and happily, there's a very long way to go before sexuality ceases to be an issue.

I'm sorry you hate yourself, but I doubt that your sexuality is the only cause of your self-loathing, considering that you have always felt like such a disappointment to your mother.

Despite your differences, you're very close now, and it's natural that you want to please her. But you need to know that, as you grow older, her opinion is going to matter to you less and less. There's no rush to tell her, and in fact, you should perhaps wait until you feel happier about it yourself. When the right time does come, she might surprise you. I know some liberal parents who continue to insist that their gay offspring simply haven't met the right girl/boy yet – and also some total stuffed shirts who've confounded expectations by embarking on a steep learning curve and taking great pride in their gay children.

Why would you feel anything in common with the other gay students at school? The ambassadors of homosexuality have by definition mainly been the out and proud – and thank goodness for them. Without them we might not have civil partnerships and other great leaps forward. But their prominence may have obscured the fact that there are lots of ways to be gay, just as there are myriad ways to be straight. Perhaps one of the benefits of civil partnerships and the gay-marriage debate has been to throw the spotlight on to those people ploughing their own furrows without so much as a Streisand CD or a stash of herbal tea, rubbing along just like any other couples.

If you are severely depressed or have suicidal thoughts, please gather the courage to see your GP, who can arrange some help for you. But at 18, you are still a work in progress. Being gay is only one thing about you. I think and hope that university will be a place where you can spread your wings, and that to meet someone you love, and who loves you in return, will change everything for you.

Your problem shared

Have a dilemma? Email your predicament, no matter how big or small, to Louisa at thehelpdesk@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin