Justin* agreed to be interviewed by Child Space on what it’s like to be a gay teenager. In addition to his interview, Part 2 (this Thursday) will review findings on people who identify as gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT), with particular focus on GLBT teen issues.
*Identifying information has been altered to maintain anonymity.
CS: Hi Justin! Thanks for agreeing to share your story with Child Space.
Justin: No problem.
CS: How old are you?
CS: Are you enrolled in school?
CS: People who aren’t heterosexual vary in how they prefer to identify themself. How do you identify?
Justin: I’m a gay male… No wait… a gay, masculine male.
CS: Did you always identify as a gay masculine male?
Justin: I’ve always been masculine, but I move between calling myself bi and gay. I’m not sure yet.
CS: I can understand that. Alfred Kinsey, the first major researcher on human sexuality, describes sexual orientation as occurring along a continuum, from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). Have you heard about this theory? Where do you think you are on the continuum?
Justin: Yes, I have. I think it’s true. I would say I’m about a 5.
CS: Why did you include ‘masculine’ when you described your identity? Are there other types of males?
Justin: I personally think that there shouldn’t be a distinction. However, there are gay guys whose mannerisms are more feminine than many females.
CS: It’s commonly assumed that gay men all have feminine traits. Do you think this is true? And do you have any feminine mannerisms?
Justin: It’s not true for all gays. But I have a few, yes, like how I talk and walk sometimes and what I like to wear.
CS: How old were you when you knew you were attracted to males? How did you know you liked males?
Justin: I think I was 10. I don’t even remember his name (laughs). He was in my class at school. Looking back now, I know I felt a kind of childhood lust for him. I think we used to play ‘gay-games’, like random touching or make gay suggestions to one another…and it grew from there, ’cause our eyes would always meet. The most we did was touch each other through our pants (laughs).
CS: Must have been an interesting discovery for you.
Justin: Oh! And we saw each other [naked] a few times, but neither of us had the nerve to do anything more.
CS: Have you had any relationships since then?
Justin: Yes. With two females and two males.
CS: But you identify as gay, not bisexual. How come you had relationships with females?
Justin: I was still exploring then.
CS: Teens commonly explore, in either their fantasies, actions or both. Teens are trying to understand themself and their developing sexual feelings as they move through puberty and out of childhood. Even many people who go on to identify as straight as adults had same-sex attractions as teens. Justin, have you had sex? If you have, did you use protection?
Justin: Once. Yeah I did. It was with a random guy earlier this year.
CS: What was the experience like for you?
Justin: Lame, because it was out of lust, rather than true attraction.
CS: Have you come out?
Justin: Only to close friends. My family is really religious and I don’t think they’d accept me if they knew.
CS: Do you wish they knew?
Justin: No. No need for them to know that. Do I wish they would accept me as normal? Yes.
CS: What’s it like being religious and gay?
Justin: God isn’t the same as religion, and I wouldn’t have been created this way if it was “bad” or “wrong.” So I have no problem going to church or praying.
CS: What do your friends think about you being gay?
Justin: They’re fine with it; both the guys and the girls. It hasn’t changed my relationships with them.
CS: My final question is this; when you think about your future, what do you visualize?
Justin: Sometimes, I see the slim, sexy wife driving a fancy car in sunglasses, but generally I think of a hot husband who completes me on all levels.
CS: Either way, I’m sure it’s all about love.
Justin: Yes, exactly.
CS: Thanks for allowing your story to be told.
Justin: I hope it helps at least one person better understand what it’s like.
(To be continued)