There is a good chance that the women who think you’re gay are not trying to be mean. They may be trying to get your attention or they may be hoping you will be their gay confidant. They may also be worried about the stereotypes surrounding flamboyant homosexuals. It is not unusual to be confused about your sexuality, particularly if you have recently come out of the closet or if you have a family member who is LGBTQ. Many youth in our focus groups mentioned that negative internalized feelings associated with being LGBTQ are a result of being misunderstood or feared by others. These feelings can have a negative impact on one’s self-esteem, lead to depression, and cause problems with personal and professional life.
While some people may chafe at the idea of being gay, there is also a lot to be said for embracing it. There are numerous examples of openly gay individuals succeeding in all sorts of areas — pop idols, spin doctors, army officers, media-friendly dons, and Cabinet ministers. The posthumous cult of Pim Fortuyn, the continued popularity of Peter Mandelson, and the never-ending patience of Graham Norton show how useful it can be to adopt an outwardly gay identity.
Research shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people experience more well-being when they feel comfortable with their sexual orientation and are able to discuss it with others. When young people report that their families are accepting of their LGBTQ identities, it can make them feel more confident in themselves and their relationship to others.