YOUNG & 19
TEENS, TWEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS
THE ULTIMATE TEEN GUIDE SECTION
What about us exactly? what is it that we're going through? freaking out, new feelings, new phase, is that normal? We look around for help and guidance, for young fun and tips that suits our own age. We find all those girl teen magazines that talk to girls only, but what about us?! Gay boys?! We come to understand your teenage mind, your pure little 20 year old heart, your fears and questions. You are young, you're 19, and you're confused...
I AM A..
A teenager: your age from 13-19. you're age word ends with the word "teen" like fourteen, seventeen, and nineteen.
A tween: this is a new word in the industry; it means the combination of the age the early twenties with late teen hood, such as the age of 20, 21, 22, and 23.
Young adults: is the category of age between 18 to 30. (We're not quiet sure).
ARE YOU GAY?
At the age of adolescence and teen hood, a lot of us tend to fall for questioning our own sexuality. According to Carolyn Wanger, National Vice President of the organization PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays) "Sexuality is an aspect of our identity, like your personality that evolves over time. And as with any part of your identity, questioning your sexual orientation is a normal, healthy, perfectly natural thing to do. So if you're wondering whether you're straight, gay, or somewhere in between, guess what? Many other people are wondering the same exact thing.We now know that there are significant numbers of students who are LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning their sexuality). In fact, experts estimate that between 10% and 20% of kids fall into one of these categories. In your age, you can't be certain of things around you, you may not know what you really want, until you fall for an experience and it's still to early to tell, a lot know by the age of 19, and sometimes later like 21 and 22. Remember it's not a mind to make, it's emotions to tell and a path to take.
Coming out means letting some one or many, you trust about your sexuality. And it could be your best friend, a teacher you trust, even to parents! Our Middle Eastern countries today are more open and enlightened than 6-8 years ago where homosexuality was not more than a forbidden whisper. Now we have organizations here and there, "online magazines", making headlines, café's and hangouts, also sites and conferences! Many lectures has been dealt to talk about GLBT, many lectures were spoken to talk about the importance of safe sex and the causes of HIV+. We have free clinics, trust worthy doctors, shrinks and physiologists. In the past, those people were up to changing you, but as much now they're helping us with self-acceptance, and AIDS educational informs. With all that happening and pretty much still is, it made coming out and self-accepting much easier for many people. Here's an amazing fact to think about: in America, between 1990 and 2000 the age of which most lesbian and gay people "came out" dropped from 22 to 13. But people here in Lebanon and Jordan in particular are in the progress of that, many people are coming out to friends and family, many choose to tell at least one family member, a close friend, and sometimes a trust-worthy fav teacher.
FRIENDS, PARENTS AND TEACHERS…
Many teens and young adults and still fall under the isolation phase, unfortunately that's because of the homophobia; -an irrational fear of the homosexuals- that still exists in many places and different forms, a lot of gays are put under society pressure, and many reports to be victims of some kind of discrimination or abuse either from mouth-calling to physical attacks.In Ms. Wagner's words, "any time a person is insulted and made to feel inferior based on their religion, their race, or their sexual orientation, you take away a part of that person, and at the same time you diminish yourself." Harassment of homosexuals is as closed-minded, cruel, and illegal as harassment of any other kind and the bad news is that it still exists.
About telling someone of your sexual orientation, we recommend you to be sure of your feelings, cause many young people could be mistaken, so no need to rush. But if you are sure, you must tell it to someone you completely trust, if you're coming out to:
1- A friend: try telling only one friend for the mean time, your closest, the one you trust the most. He/she will be shocked, don't try to push the idea in there head, other wise they won't adjust it right. Mostly they will think about it the whole day after you two finish, he/she will start to remember situations you might've been gay in it and will come to conclusion of how missed it. However telling a friend is different from a person to another, it could go positive in cases and some others not. Just give it time.Moreover, remember telling a person an issue you're facing, will divide the issue by 2.
2-A parent: rarely they accept, and if some do, it takes quiet a time to adjust the idea. If your parents are more of a religious, we prefer you skip the idea to friends.But if they do, they're some consequences you might regret telling your folks for.Parents here, in the Middle East in general, don't see homosexuals the way professional people, the new generation and the outer world do. That's because the lack of acknowledgement on the case, they won't understand it as you might think, and it'll probably blow in your face. But if you're planning on dropping a hint or telling, you might as well do it after college that way, if some thing went wrong, you'll be mature and responsible enough to know what to do.
3- A teacher: In modern school, it could be totally safe to tell your favorite teacher about an issue you're facing. Teachers usually are well educated about such issues and aware of things you, our parents, and I might not know about. They know how to handle such situations, they will give you proper advice, they are trust worthy people. But if you want to test the waters anyways for you to be self-safe, you could go with the old fashion line like "I have a friend who is…."
*Coming to terms with your sexual orientation can be a complicated process. Don't forget that there's help available. As Ms. Wagner explains, "Part of being proud and secure in who you are is not being afraid to reach out for support and back-up. There's no reason to suffer in isolation or to embark on coming out alone." However, if you're unsure of what kind of response you might get. It's often a good idea to first get some help from people who have training and experience about coming out.
ON SELF ACCEPTANCE
Many of you think that being a homosexual is your fault in life or a curse that had been casted on you. But that's a very negative and wrong in the same time. When you parents or other people see being gay is something wrong you've done to yourself, it doesn't mean they're right while it means there lack of knowledge on how to handle the situation or there ability to understand the concept of being gay. Accepting self is a stage every gay person faces in his/her life. It's not easy in our worlds, but it's easy when you have people who love you the way you are. It's never your fault to be the way you are.