I am an 18-year-old university student from Edinburgh, Scotland. I recently have finished reading your book 'Is it a choice?'. I must say that it was really an amazing experience for me. I have read a lot of information about gays and lesbians on the internet but none of this information has been as honest and realistic as your answers to the many questions provided in your book. I feel so much better in myself now, and I thank you for that.
I do, however, have a question that wasn't in your book; it is a more complex type of question: What if you are gay but you don't want to be gay? What I mean by this is what if you can't imagine yourself being straight because your are 100% gay but you really desperately want to 'change' into a straight guy to make life easier?
I hope you understand my question.
Thank you again for all of your great advice.
-- Gay, But Not Happy About It
How Can I Be Straight?
Dear Gay, But Not Happy About It,
I'm glad to hear that Is It A Choice? was of help to you. It's the book I wish I'd found when I was your age. But there wasn't anything close to it when I was a college student (most of what I found in my college library in 1976 was horrifying!).
Maybe in your next life you could come back as a straight guy, but that's only if there is such a thing as reincarnation. And you may want to experience a few more years of life before you decide that you really want to come back as a straight guy. I know that at your stage of life the prospect of being gay can be daunting (are you out to your friends and family?) and you may think that your life will be more difficult. But I can tell you that from the experiences of my straight male friends, being straight is no guarantee that your life will be any easier. And in some ways, I think that we have it better than straight guys.
As you know from my book, there is nothing you can do to change your sexual orientation. Your sexuality is a gift from nature (or God, depending upon your beliefs). And this is not a gift you can return. So your challenge is going to be learning how to accept it, embrace it, and to live a full life. If your concern is that you won't be able to have a full life, one that includes a partner (and children, if that's what you want), I suggest reading a copy of my book, Together Forever, which is about happy, long-lasting relationships. You can read more about it on my web site.
One thing I wish I had done when I was your age--and when I was your age I felt much the way you do, 100% gay and 100% unhappy about it--was to talk to a counselor at school. I think it would have taken me a lot less time to accept myself and been a lot less painful if I'd had an understanding professional helping me talk through my feelings. Is there someone you can talk to at your university?
Please let me know if you have any other questions. And keep me posted on how you're doing. Thanks for writing.
All best, Eric