The Young Man’s Gay Guide to High School
I’ve heard this coming school year will be an exciting year for you: entering into the ninth grade, going to be a high school freshman! That is an exciting event. Only happens once in your life, after all. Still, as a gay kid you might have some questions about high school life. Well, don’t you worry because not only are such questions normal but we have you covered, for enter, the Gay Guide to High School!
Here in this handy guide you will find some answers to the most frequently asked questions about school life and about the problems you may face when entering into the new school year. So, without any further delay, read on and lets ease some of your anxiety.
Question #1: “It is my first day tomorrow and I am freaking about whether I should be open about my sexual orientation!”
Listen here bud; this is a demanding decision, to be sure. Yet there is something you should know: life in high school isn’t like life in general. Though I would say that this depends largely on if your area is homophobic or tolerant, I can part onto you some spicy wisdom that may help you make an informed decision.
By holding off on telling your peers about such an important aspect of who you are, you are not only selling yourself short, but you could be closing possible opportunities with other gay freshmen; if you have the courage to be out not only does it set a precedent for the rest of your time there but it may give other closeted students the courage to be open. Being “out” on the first day sets the stage for your other three years. It wipes away the most challenging aspect of high school, self-expression, while having the potential to affirm who you are as a person.
There can be some repercussions if you live in a hostile environment, which is why I suggest doing some preliminary observations on whether it would be safe to come out, but I still take the stance that if not being completely out and in the open is possible, than telling a couple friends is a suitable alternative.
Question #2: “Okay, I have decided to be out about my sexual orientation, but how do I talk with my classmates about being gay?”
At first this may seem daunting but fortunately this problem is actually a paper tiger. The great thing about high school is that everyone is either already talking about their sexual preference or will soon be talking about their preference. Because of this you do not actually have to start a conversation or be dramatic and come out in a spectacular manner; which, in regards to, is better handled by simply stating your orientation non-chantly instead of making a production over the event. The same goes for conversation: sooner or later your friends, or potential friends, will chatter on about sex, who is cute and hot, and what interests they have. Use this opportunity to state your preference.
From here it depends on your school and how people react. Even if this first group of friends reacts badly, however, to you coming out or talking about homosexuality, so as long as they are not bullying or harassing you, you should feel more than free to salvage what you can from that encounter and move on to another group of students knowing that you were completely open about who you are. This being said, I would recommend that you not engage in even mild flirting with anyone until you have yourself established as “a dude who likes dudes.”
Question #3: “Okay, thanks for the advice. But, ummm… there is this guy who I am pretty sure is straight. I really like him and want to hit on him but am unsure of what I should do.”
Believe me buddy, nothing good comes from hitting on straight guys, it is a dead end. Likewise, trying to seduce them into sexual acts is only going to direct negative attention towards you. Youth play cruel tricks so do not believe that a perverted guy wouldn’t set you up for a colossal humiliation. Video recording pranks and posting them on the internet is very easy these days; so never assume what happens behind closed doors will stay there. Hormones are hard to deal with but not impossible. If you find that your feelings for a certain guy are too overwhelming than you may certainly tell him of your feelings (assuming he isn’t homophobic), just avoid making your revelation melodramatic (no one, especially heterosexual guys, enjoy drama).
Question #4: “Well, that makes sense, so thanks again. But still, it is awfully lonely in this school without a partner to call my own. How do I find a boyfriend when I don’t see any other gay guys?”
Finding a partner (aka “boyfriend”) is never easy, especially when you are going at it all alone in a heterosexist atmosphere. Still, it may be worth looking into if your high school has a Gay-Straight Alliance (G.S.A). This way, if it does, than your problem of finding other homosexuals has probably been solved. However, even if your school doesn’t have a G.S.A, than you haven’t run out of luck yet. As stereotypical as it may sound many gay youth are interested in the performing arts (dancing, acting, etc) so it might be valuable to joining the local theater or drama club. Though gay guys are likely to be in any extra-curricular club the odds of finding a gay or bisexual kid are more likely in the artistic segment.
Question #5: “Okay cool, I will put that to use. In the meantime, however, I found this Bisexual upperclassman and I think he might be interested in me. Should I ask him out on a date?”
My approach to students who are older than you and in a higher grade is to leave them where they are. While it is hard being alone, and even harder to pass up an opportunity to be with someone, you have to consider that he is several years older than you; as a result he is several years further in life than you.
If you are in the ninth grade and he is in the eleventh grade than that means you will only have one year together before he graduates. And when he does graduate you have to remember that he will probably have college ambitions: do you think he will wait three years for you to finish high school prior to leaving for institutions of higher learning? Is it really ethical for either of you to hold up his life? The conditions here are simply stretched too thin.
Chances are any older boy who shows in interest in you is only doing so because they want sexual favors. They will lure you to what they want by promises of companionship and then ditch you as soon as they slack their sexual urges. Unless one is ready to trade off loneliness for short term companionship at the price of engaging in possible sexual acts, it is best to wait until you meet someone closer to your own age.
Question #6: “I put what you said to use and guess what? I found a partner!!! I am so happy that I want to tell the world… but should I?”
First of all I congratulate you on finding your partner. Secondly, in response to your question of whether you should be open to the school about it, this depends on how open you have already been about your homosexuality. If you have already been as open as you could possibly be than there is no cause for you not to be open about your partner. Yet, if you haven’t been open than it would be best to be cautious as rumors travel quickly in the adolescent den of high school. Just remember that if you are open more attention will be leveled at you and such gossip may spread towards segments of your life which do not know about your sexual orientation.
Question #7: “Argh! Well, I was open about dating my dream guy but now some bullies have started calling us names and threatening us. What should I do?”
Terrible to hear about this situation but do not worry, there are steps you can take to resolve the situation. First things first you have to tell your parents as well as the school officials. Inform both of them of what is happening (if your parents do not know about your sexual orientation than this might be a tricky area to balance with lies). Both need to have constant communication with one another.
If the harassment is taking place in the classroom than request to be transferred to another wing of your grade level so you have different teachers and different classmates. This will place you out of the immediate reach of the bullies and give you some breathing room until the school administration disciplines the offenders. If bullies ever physically confront you and you are not in a position to flee than do not be afraid to strike any blow with any object. If it means sparing you pain than unleash your inner beast.
Likewise, however, bullies can also use the cyber world to belittle you. If this is the case than you must remember that no matter what hurtful instant messages you receive or what degrading harassment is thrown your way, you will overcome. Be patient, change cell phone numbers if possible, and increase your online security (for full details see our guide to cyber-bullying).
Bullying is hard to endure but if your parents/guardians and school administrators are proactive such horrid behavior can be stopped dead in its tracks. If you find that the school is not fulfilling its obligations to protect you than there is always the option of legal action; your state’s local American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U) chapter would be more than willing to help you in this regard.
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Well, there you have it my young chum, I hope what you have read in this guide has helped you in better understanding what to do in the event these scenarios happen. Though far from perfect, life rarely is, if you tackle the myriad of challenges that school offers you with your head held high I have the greatest confidence in you that you will emerge on the other side of the year more confidant, powerful, and happy than when you entered.