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I am having a big issue around if I am a lesbian or not. I believe I am for many reasons. I have done the whole thing of having boyfriends but but feel it was more to meet everyone else’s expectations. I was afraid if I followed my heart that I would lose my family and be alone. Being alone is one of my biggest fears.

A little history: I was sexually abused for many years and by several people. I was raped and I do not believe that has made an impact on my sexuality as many have asked me in the past. It really makes me upset when people think I am gay because of it.

Because of the abuse I don't like anyone to be close to me male or female. I am alone at the present time and it scares the hell out of me. My therapist is aware I am questioning my sexuality but I just haven't really been able to talk in front of her about it. She has told me that she is very comfortable talking about sexuality and she wouldn't think any different of me if I were to come out. She knows it isn't an easy thing to do and not everyone will understand.

My Family is Homophobic

My family is so phobic of anyone they feel isn't straight and if I was to even let it slip of my feelings I am afraid they will all leave me. I know this shouldn't matter but they are my family.

I guess my question to you is how do you really know if you are a lesbian? If you are how do you tell your family so they don't leave you?
Coming Out Scared

Dear Scared:

You’re right, being sexually abused has nothing to do with whether you are a lesbian or not. However, it is one of the big myths about lesbians. Figuring out your sexual orientation is something that will take time. Most of us struggle with this question at one time or another. And so you don’t feel so alone, it is probably the one question I get asked the most, by women of all ages.

Here are some articles that may help you out:

Coming out Advice:

January 26, 2008 at 8:01 pm
(1) rainbows_n_butterflies says:

When it comes to how someone will handle the knowledge of you’re sexuality you really can not predict how they will react. Sometimes the people you think that would be the most understanding and accepting aren’t and the ones you wouldn’t expect to are. It is always good to have support. It isn’t good to feel alone and isolated, but that is how alot of us lesbians feel sometimes. It’s good to have friends that you know will accept this part of you because friends are the family we choose. And I think maybe if you’re really sure that your family would react negatively and since you are only just now coming out of the closet to yourself and your therapist maybe you should just take it slow and not worry about coming out of the closet to everybody because some people live happy lives living their whole lives in the closet only coming out to a very, very select few. Like this one couple I knew the only people that knew they were lesbians were themselves and well, I guess me.
I wish you the best of luck in this.

February 14, 2008 at 2:46 pm
(2) Michelle says:

Wow, this is crazy! I have a similar situation. The difference is, I was only sexually abuse by one person. (Like I say, “There’s always someone who has it worse”) I too have some uncertainties about a lesbian.
Here’s a little about my history: At first, I didn’t want to consider being a lesbian ONLY because I didn’t want people to say, “Oh, she’s a lesbian because she was sexually abuse by a man so she’s seeking comfort in woman.” I feel it’s like they’re saying, “It’s taking the easy way out.” BUT in reality, it’s not. I have many reasons to think I am a lesbian. And it’s annoying and frustrating when people assume it’s because I was abuse.
I really didn’t feel confident on telling my mom until I got back in touch with one of my friends who is a lesbian. I started hanging out with her and her girlfriend-And it turned out that her girlfriend when through a period when she was uncertain about her sexuality. Interacting with them really help me to accept the fact that it was ok to be a lesbian or more importantly, ok to be unsure if I am. I have come to realize that only time and experiences will let me know if I am a lesbian or not.
When I told my mom I wasn’t sure if I am a lesbian or not-she gave me look that I have never seen before-her expression was like “WHAT?” and I felt as if she wanted to tell me “No! You can’t. You’re straight” but before she could say anything, I explain myself. I told her, I’m sorry but I can’t help who I’m attracted to (in a romantic/relationship way) however, I ‘m not sure if it’s only woman or what. Then she told me, “Well, if you turn out to be a lesbian it doesn’t change the fact that you’re my daughter. As long as you meet someone who will be true to you and makes you happy, it’s ok with me.” I reminded her that I am uncertain if I am. I can tell that she’s still is a little uneasy about the fact that there is a chance that I am a lesbian but I know she will accept me if I were to be.
Maybe you should the fact you may be a lesbian on the down-low only because your family is not comfortable with gays and lesbian. Maybe not until you have found someone strong enough to help you through it. Maybe a friend or a new friend who is accepting to lesbians – They can serve as your security blank. For when you are sure of your sexuality OR if you want to let you family know, your friend will be there for you =)
Hope my story & advise is useful.

December 21, 2008 at 11:50 pm
(3) Brianna says:

I am also a lesbain and been raped. I know that being raped has nothing to do with the simple fact i’m a lesbain. I hate that people like to judge me for it but thats just the way people are i guess. I am glad to be sorrounded by positive friends that dont care if im gay and a girlfriend that really loves and cares about me.

March 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm
(4) maybelesbian? says:

I’ve just come across this post and it (along with the comments) has been really helpful to read.

I have had a niggling feeling in the back of my head for a few years now (I’m 21). Even in school, I knew my close friendships with boys were never with an “alterior motive”, and I found girls at times very difficult to get along with.

I was also raped. Two years ago. However, I have never had a relationship or slept with women. I continue to sleep with men. But I know my heart’s not in it, almost to the point of apathy. I do it perhaps because it’s all I know, and that I’d feel too much like a scared teenager to try sleeping with a girl! But the idea of having a relationship with a girl doesn’t scare me at all. In fact I really like the idea.

I think perhaps I’m bisexual? But then again, I’m not sure sexuality is so black and white. I think perhaps we’re all a shade of grey. I’m just really hoping I can find the confidence.

How do you go about initiating something with a lesbian? It terrifies me (/excites me) how little I know about it!!

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