Help! I’m pretty sure I’m straight – or am I?

Dear Friend,

Although I am 90 per cent sure that I am straight, I feel like I might have feelings for both girls and boys, but I don’t know for sure how I feel. The thought kind of bothers me. How can I tell if I am straight or gay?

Sincerely, Confused


Dear Confused,

It’s not uncommon for people to be puzzled about their sexual orientation, especially during puberty. Some people discover they are gay, lesbian, or bisexual while they are young, while others don’t realise it until they are older. People can have a diverse range of experiences, and some may never truly figure it out.

You do not choose your sexuality; it chooses you. You are the only person who can figure out what your orientation is, so don’t let yourself be dissuaded by society or other people.

Unfortunately, there’s no quiz you can take that will tell you if you’re gay or straight. Every gay person is unique, and every straight person is unique. There is no specific criteria to meet to qualify as gay or straight, and discovering your sexual orientation relies heavily on introspection and examining your thoughts and feelings.

It’s also important to note that sexual orientation is more than just gay or straight; sexuality exists on a spectrum, and a majority of people fall somewhere in-between. Even someone who identifies as bisexual – meaning they are attracted to more than one gender – rarely dates men 50 per cent of the time, and women the other 50 per cent of the time.

It would be extremely helpful to find some LGBTQ+ youth clubs to join, or local mental health organisations that specialise in queer issues. Thankfully, there are plenty in Hong Kong these days: Mind HK offers mental health support for LGBTQ+ issues, as well as HandsOn Hong Kong, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Pride Line, and Open Up.

Whatever answers you may find, the most important thing is to be comfortable and content with yourself – irrespective of your sexual orientation.

No one knows for sure what influences a person’s sexual identity, but medical professionals agree that it is simply a natural part of who someone is, and not something a person chooses.

You mentioned that you were bothered by the fact that you were questioning your sexuality – are you upset that you might be queer? Internalised homophobia can be very damaging to one’s mental health, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to the organisations we mentioned above. They would be very useful in helping you learn to accept yourself for who you are.

You don’t need to figure out everything right now, and to be honest, you may never have all the answers, which is totally fine! Remember that no matter your sexual orientation, you deserve respect, love, and compassion – from yourself as well as other people.

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend

This was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.
Source: Young Post