“I’m 15 and I’m Afraid I’m Gay”
Dear Mrs. Bohlin,
I really need your help, I am 15 and frightened of being homosexual. About one and a half years ago I was at an all-girls summer camp where a girl told me she had decided to become bisexual. I didn’t know why but this upset me a lot. I had two weeks of camp left, and I was terrified that everyone was gay, finally I became scared that I was gay. I hadn’t really thought that I was attracted to girls before, but I used to be a tomboy and envied all the “girly-girls”. Ever since I went to camp and that happened my fear has gotten worse and worse, I haven’t told anyone for fear of being told that I was. I heard about the “ex-gays” and read a few articles of yours. I don’t know what to do. Please help me I’m very scared, all I want is to live again normally. I’ve been raised Christian and my parents are divorced. I’m sorry to bother you, but I need your advice. God bless you.
______, I’m so glad you wrote to me!
When God made you a female, He made you more emotional than analytical, more intuitive to other people than most males, and very relational. This means you are open to being influenced by other people, especially when you were only 13. For someone to tell you she had decided to label herself as bisexual at the very beginning of puberty, when you both have a LOT of growing, maturing, and learning about yourselves ahead of you, no wonder you were upset! That’s way too much pressure to process information and label oneself at the beginning of adolescence. Which is a time of intense confusion to begin with, totally apart from the whole sexuality issue!
It makes sense you’d be scared that you were gay, for the same reason that when people take health or medical classes that cover different kinds of illnesses, it’s typical to think they’re experiencing the symptoms of a bunch of them. It’s typical to be susceptible to ideas, especially at a time in your life where you “try on” all kinds of identities and values and beliefs to see if they fit.
If you were a tomboy, it’s because God loves tomboys and that’s why He makes you that way! It’s our culture that incorrectly limits femininity to only the “girly-girl” end of the femininity spectrum. Femininity also looks like jeans and t-shirts, tree-climbing, sports- and outdoor-loving girls. It makes sense for you to envy girly-girls because they are a different kind of girl than you are, but they aren’t a BETTER kind of girl than you are! It makes sense because of the false message that tomboys are inferior to girly-girls. Nope! If God won’t agree with it, it’s not true!
Now for another part of the equation: what we know from talking to literally thousands of gay-identifying folks over the years is that envy drives a lot (if not most) of same-sex attraction. Both guys and girls are drawn to whatever they feel they lack. Instead of saying, “This means I’m gay,” it would be far wiser, and true to God’s design, to say instead, “Hmmm. I see where I need to work on myself so I become the kind of person I admire, or to develop the kind of attributes I admire.”
I was teaching at Probe’s Mind Games conference for high school juniors and seniors when I said that many people who are afraid they’re gay, or who think they might be, need to give themselves grace to finish growing up. Being attracted to same-sex peers is part of normal adolescent development, complete with intense crushes, but all we hear in the culture is, “If you like other girls (or boys), it means you’re gay.” No, it doesn’t. It means you haven’t finished growing up yet. One of the students came back the following year as an alumnus and come up to me in private to tell me, “When you said this last year, it was the first time I’d ever heard it. I was able to relax and just give myself permission to finish growing up. And you know what? In the past year, I have! I find myself attracted to girls now, instead of being so stuck on my attractions to other guys. Thanks for speaking truth to us.”
Let me encourage you to bundle up your fears and your feelings and hand them to Jesus, who loves you more than you can possibly imagine, and He will help you sort through them. In fact, the more you concentrate on your relationship with Him, the better every other part of your life will become. In fact, I respectfully urge you to pray every day, “Jesus, show me how You love me,” and then pay attention to the little intimate ways in which He says, “I sure do love you, ______!” When you know God loves you, that gives you a confidence in yourself that nothing else can even come close to. And it helps you sort out the rest of life, and put people in their proper perspective.
Relax and give yourself time to finish growing up without the unnecessary complication of being paralyzed by fear that you’re gay. God doesn’t make anyone gay; He DOES make people to be relational, and the more we do life in community, with friends who will love and accept just as we are, we can grow into emotionally healthy adults.
So. . . how does this hit your heart? Does it make sense?
© 2011 Probe Ministries