Am I Gay? Am I A Lesbian?: How To Process Your Own Sexuality. Blog written by a lesbian therapist in Long Beach.

When you first realize that you’re gay, it’s an exciting time. After trying to converge with societal norms, you’ve finally found a place where you belong.  You’ve experienced the same butterflies and excitement that all of your straight friends have gushed about.  But quickly after that joy comes the fear.  How do you know for sure?  How will you tell the people you care about? How will your sexuality affect your life?

So many gay people remain in the closet much longer than they should.  And while they’re there, they even try to convince themselves that they’re not gay.  That it’s just a phase.  But this type of denial can be dangerous.  Suppressing who you are can harm you mentally and physically.  There’s no reason for that.  You have no choice but to come to terms with your sexuality.  But that process isn’t as scary as it sounds.

The first thing you need to know is that you’re normal. You’re no better or worse than anyone else.  You just have a same-sex attraction.  It defines your love life, but not your whole life.

Second, if you feel you’re not ready to be labeled, then don’t choose a label.  There are tons of layers to sexual identity and orientation.  You might fit into a category that you’re not even familiar with yet.  Or you might fit into more than one.  You might realize that you’re different, but you’re not quite sure what to call it. You’re not ready to pin it down.  And that’s absolutely fine.  Take your time to explore your sexuality and learn more about yourself and what you like. Before you’re ever ready to explain this to others, you have to understand it for yourself.  That’s most important.  Also remember that labels make it easier to explain to OTHER people.  It is not necessary to label yourself for any reason other than to make the coming out process simple for other people.   You do not have to label yourself to make it easy or simple for other people.  This is about your truth, your comfort level and your happiness.

It’s really important to know that your sexuality is not a choice.  It’s the way you’re built, the way you were born.  This is an important realization because, in the early stages, you might feel pressure to change yourself.  You might feel like your sexuality is a condition or a result of something in your environment.  You have to understand that it’s not.  This is who you are.  You’re perfect the way you are, and you don’t need to adjust.  You need to love yourself as you are.  You need to know that there are plenty of people in society who will also love and accept you for who you are.

Know that the first step for others to accept you is you accepting yourself.  Before you ever worry about the coming out conversation or people’s reactions, be selfish for a minute.  Think about yourself.  How are you processing this? What’s your personal level of acceptance? If you’re not in a good place, keep telling yourself that you are normal.  Keep telling yourself that you are perfect, and your sexuality is simply one facet of your multi-tiered life.

Realizing that you’re gay is a scary time. But it’s also a beautiful time in which you get to know yourself better than you ever did before.  Dive in headfirst and embrace it fully.  Coming to terms with it as soon as you can will improve the quality of your life tenfold.

If you need someone to talk with about how you are feeling and/or what you are thinking, please consider calling me to set up an appointment.  I am a gay therapist in Long Beach and I am your ally.  I look forward to helping you on your journey to happiness and self-acceptance.

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