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You may have known for some time that you are gay or lesbian, and that may have been very confusing. But now you feel it's time to tell someone else. But where do you start and how do you do that?
Your sexuality is complex and has many aspects including: gender, sensuality, eroticism, love, identity, orientation, social sex-role. These elements are not always in harmony. Your sexual sense of self grows over your life and, though important, is only one part of who you are.
'Coming out' refers to the process of acknowledging your sexual identity and is part of accepting yourself for who you are. This acceptance begins with yourself and may be helped through reading about other people's experiences. Later you may choose to tell other gay/lesbian people, friends or family (which may be the hardest). How you do this is highly individual and you should do it at your own pace.
One of the challenges of being gay or lesbian is the sense of isolation that is commonly felt. This is because in ordinary life in the suburbs, or on campus, there are very few examples of people who are happily and successfully going about their lives and who happen to be gay or lesbian.
For people who are coming to terms with their sexuality, the lack of examples and the sometimes negative images presented by the media can be very confusing. Often all we are shown are narrow, distorted stereotypes. It is not surprising then that a person experiencing same sex attraction may experience self-doubt, guilt, depression, or lowered self-esteem and a sense of exclusion from the others. As people broaden their network of lesbian or gay friends they often feel that they are living in or between two worlds.
If issues of sexuality are of concern to you, it is usually helpful to talk them over with someone you trust. You might want to talk to a friend, a qualified counsellor, nurse or doctor. If they don't understand or can't help then try someone else; don't give up. You are too important. There are many excellent resources which are available on campus and in the community.
Make an appointment with a counsellor