Labeled

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Hi Dr.  Darcy, Since I was in high school people always asked me if I were gay.  Growing up I never felt anything but straight, I was always so sure of myself and only ever had crushes on girls growing up.  But eventually I could no longer deal with the questions, by the time I got to college the questions became internal and on some level I felt the need to just be gay after being constantly hounded by questions and assumptions day in and day out.

Now at the age of 23, I feel like I've become conveniently gay in order to maybe satisfy the assumptions of others, but I just never know.  Sometimes I find myself thinking of men but when push comes to shove, I can never seem to get to actually being with or acting on anything with a man. It just does not seem to fit me.

Now it's to the point where being gay is now my norm and at times I find myself feeling a bit crazy and depressed, because it doesn't feel like a natural progression but a learned habit.

So now I just don't know if I'm gay in denial or just living a lie under confusion?

ANSWER

You know I can’t help but wonder where you live… If you lived in the northeast, particularly in NYC, people might not have felt the need to pigeon hole you as gay or straight.  You probably would have become that guy who all the girls related easiest to; free to hook up with girls, guys or both.  It sucks growing up and feeling pressure to label oneself.

OK, so you’ve been on my team for years and now you’re questioning it.  Good for you.  I think people should question everything.  But with that questioning comes the risk that you’ll have to shed your identity and form a new one, and I’m sure this does not thrill you, particularly at your age.

I feel like the question isn’t which gender you’re more attracted to ~ you probably already know that. The question is what you imagine changing your identity will be like.  What hurdles do you foresee?  How much energy will it take to come out as a straight guy or as someone who is bi (or heaven forbid, someone who chooses not to indentify!)?

The next step is turning that around.  Make a list of compelling reasons why you can’t live like this one more day.  Describe why you deserve to be free to identify your sexual preference and not have one imposed on you by a society that can’t tolerate ambiguity.  That list becomes your driving force to take the steps necessary to form your own identity.  You’re stuck right now because all you have is this vague awareness that it’s going to be a ton of work.  Clearly identify and envision what it will be like after you’ve done the work and you’ll have all the fuel you need.

Writer’s Stats: Male, Straight.