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Title - Gay Norfolk

Those first steps towards coming out

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One young lesbian's experience is not unusual: "All the lesbians I’ve ever seen have short hair and tattoos, I have long hair and look feminine." Their comments highlight two important points. The first is that it is essential to challenge stereotypes and represent a whole picture of lesbian and gay lifestyles.

Gay couple

The second is that many of us, even gay people, have some internalised homophobia and so associate the characteristics of the "typically" gay man or woman as negative such as a very "camp" man or a very "butch" woman.

Also there are few opportunities for people to see happy, successful gay adults living a normal every day life in healthy relationships, so it is not surprising that many people deny their feelings for a long time before seeking support.

The interesting thing about coming out to others is that it is a never-ending process! It is also a very personal issue. Some feel strongly that they need to be out to everyone they meet. Others are very selective. For most people the first time they come out is a nerve-wracking experience. One gay person says "It was awful, I just couldn’t get the words out and then once I had it felt like hours before I knew whether my friend was going to reject me or not."

When supporting a gay person who is trying to decide whether to come out it is helpful to remain positive, but it is unhelpful and untruthful to tell them that coming out is always the right thing to do. While some people are accepting, others are not.

Some parents will say "if any son or daughter of mine was gay I’d throw them out". Luckily in many cases when actually faced with this scenario lots of parents find that they feel differently and want to support their child. In other cases parents can react negatively or even violently.

Support for young gay people in Norwich is just a phone call away.

Stand Out is run by three youth workers and you can contact them on 01603 624924. Leave a message or speak to someone in person on Saturday 11am-1pm or on Wednesday from 6pm-8pm.



See also:
Message board
Contacts for support and advice

Social groups

Pubs and clubs

HIV advice website

Sex survey

Women on Women


Gay youth group
Lesbian Line

Mr Gay UK 2002 @ Oxygen

Internet links:
TEN

Stonewall


Terrence Higgins Trust


London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard


Eastern Aids Support Triangle

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Multi-ethnic Norfolk
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