College is a time of getting to know yourself better. You're away from family and old friends. Often that allows you to be more comfortable being who you truly are. It's a time when you can feel the freedom to explore new ideas, meet new people, and learn more about yourself. You have a lot of different experiences in college, and this may bring about feelings that you never experienced before or never gave yourself "permission" to experience before.
One of those areas may be your sexuality. Whether you are homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual, sexuality is an area that impacts all of us to some degree.
Homosexuality: Men and women who feel an emotional, psychological and physical attraction to members of the same sex. If you think this may be you, or if you are confused, it can be difficult. What can you do?
Talk to someone who you can trust and who you think will be supportive of you.
Learn more about gay/lesbian issues through books (there is usually a gay/lesbian section at bookstores).
Visit informative web sites such as http://allpaths.com/rainbow
Come to Psychological Counseling Services (278-6416) to talk with a counselor; it's confidential!
Community Referral: Lambda Community Center (916) 442-0185
How do you support a friend who is gay/lesbian?
Be open for discussion, support and understanding. Create an environment of acceptance.
Don't try to "change them." Sexual preference comes from within and is not contagious. You cannot make your gay friend "straight" any more than he or she can "make you gay."
Learn: talk to informed persons about the issue of homosexuality. Take a trip to the library or bookstore to get more facts.
Confront homophobic remarks and statements.
What is homophobia or heterosexism you ask?
Homophobia is an unreasonable fear or hatred of homosexual individuals. Homophobia includes such things as looking at gay/lesbian persons and automatically thinking of their sexuality and not seeing them as complex individuals, thinking you can "spot one," and avoiding or stereotyping all homosexuals as "promiscuous."
So, how about bisexuality?
Bisexual men and women experience emotional and sexual attraction to persons of either gender. Most people who consider themselves bisexual do so because they feel attracted to both men and women, believe they could potentially become involved with either a man or woman, or they have had a relationship with both a man and a woman in the past and don't wish to adopt either a lesbian/gay or heterosexual identity.
It may be difficult to "come out" if you are bisexual for many reasons. It may be difficult to understand the attraction to both sexes. You may feel alienated, because you feel different from both heterosexuals and homosexuals. You may not know any bisexual people. It may be helpful to visit a web site: The Bisexual Resource Center: http://www.biresource.net/
Do you have any questions? (You can ask, even if you are heterosexual.)
Come to PCS to talk with someone, or email us for additional information.