I don’t know when I realized I was gay, I think it was around the age of 16. It wasn’t until I turned 18 that I decided it wasn’t going to go away, and I needed to start accepting that was who I was. I got really depressed, scared, angry, and felt alone through those 2 years.
It built up so much, that I needed to do something. I remember one day flicking through the White Pages, I wasn’t really looking for a number. I was just bored. I found a telephone number under a counseling heading near the front of the book. It said “Gay and Lesbian Counseling Line… 4pm - Midnight” then the phone number. I needed to talk to someone , not friends or family… I needed to talk to someone I didn’t know, so I called the counseling line which I had found in the phone book. I remember calling all but the last digit of the phone number, and then hanging up because I was too scared - I did this 10 or more times… I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t even know if I could talk to a stranger.
To be truthful, I didn’t end up calling that day, but the following day I forced myself to. The next day I did call, and I was talking to the guy on the counseling line for about 45 minutes. At first, my fears were that the person on the other end of the phone wouldn’t be able to do anything to help, or wouldn’t take me seriously, or would tell me that I was wrong and needed to change my (gay related) feelings. I must have sounded really scared when we first started talking, and he somehow got me to calm down a bit, and then about 1/2 way through the conversation he said to me “you sound a lot better already”, and I was feeling a lot better. He gave me some telephone numbers for my local area, and told me about a support group for gay/bisexual guys that was run in the city. I told him that I couldn’t do that (go to a support group) but I would call the numbers he gave me. He was the first person I ever told I was gay.
After about 2 weeks I got the courage to call up the number, and the guy there told me there was a support group for gay youth run in my area. I told him I couldn’t go, it was hard enough for me to just call him to start with. He gave me heaps of encouragement and told me the phone number of the guy who runs a local youth group for young gay & bisexual guys. I called right away, but it wasn’t until after about 1 month, that I went to the youth group for the first time.
I can remember how hard it was. I had that nervous/sick feeling in my stomach the whole day right up to after the group had started. The group has done so much good for me. It helped me break down the stereotypes that I assumed all gay people were (or had to be). I have made some good friends from the group. I can talk to others about being gay, and they understand.
If I hadn’t gone to the group to begin with… I would never have gotten to know the guy I now think of as my closest friend. He was the first gay friend I ever made, and whether he knows it or not, he has helped me through some really difficult times. Just being there as a friend, as someone to talk to. Going to the youth group was the best thing I ever did for myself… when I think of the time when I thought I could never go to the group, it makes me so happy that I got the courage to go. I look back to the time before I went to the group how unhappy I was and realize how much it has helped me. Making that one phone call started everything for me, and as I said before, that was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do… but my life is so much better now. Being around other gay people has helped me accept myself more and more. I am now at the point where I am starting to feel good about myself, and good about life in general.