Lately I have heard the question repeated, "when did you know" referring to when did you realize that you're gay. It's fascinating to me when I hear all the different answers. Myself, I realized very early in life that I was gay, many people assume that maybe I am confused about my sexuality because I am not that socially active regarding a gay lifestyle, not true but I was hoping it would go away if I ignored it long enough. Just to be clear in case a younger person reads this, that doesn't work!
I can remember clearly the exact moment I realized I was gay and how much it frightened me. I was around thirteen going on fourteen, I knew something wasn't normal with my thinking compared to my friends. Many nights, actually every night when I would be waiting to fall asleep, I would be fantasizing about my friends. I wondered what they would look like naked, do they get erections too, do they think about sex as much as I do? I had all these scenarios in my head where we would have to undress together, my male teachers were not immune, in my mind the handsome ones would strip down to show me what a mature man looked like nude, then they would show me masturbation secrets only an older man could know and pass on.
I used to try to think about girls, I would tell myself I better stop thinking about boys before I became unable to stop; however I would find that my mind always drifted back to boys and men. I would try to make a deal with myself, I would say, "tonight I will think about boys only, this way I will get it out of my system but starting tomorrow night I will never think about guys in a sexual way again". Next night however it was a lost cause, I would try to do a reset. I remember one night I was really stressed about this and said to myself, "why can't I stop thinking about guys"? That's when the realization hit me, "OH NO! I'm GAY"! I think there was even that voice in the back of my mind saying I couldn't stop, "because you are gay"!
I remember sitting bolt upright in bed, I felt like I was gasping for air, I was about to cry and call out for mom and dad... but I stopped.... because what could I say. I find that moment sad because homophobia separates children from their parents when they need assurance. At that time in history you couldn't be gay, at least not in my area, such a burden for a child to carry, no wonder so many of us seem damaged. I felt after that I probably was in denial for a long time. As an adult now I think I just didn't understand back then, after all gays were really bad people who were doing it for attention, this was something different, this was something ingrained into my very core. I couldn't believe it, I was the very thing that every guy hated more than anything else, this was catastrophic!
I assumed it was the same for everyone but later I would find out that was not true. My first boyfriend thought he was bisexual, only after dating guys did he realize that he is gay. My second boyfriend had no clue until he was thirty. He had an extremely low sex drive so never really thought about sexuality until he became friends with a gay man. Another friend who came out later in life knew in his late teens. Most of my lesbian friends said they didn't figure out what was wrong until they were in their twenties. They had boyfriends and liked them but they all said it was like hanging out with a brother or favorite cousin. A bisexual friend said he didn't think anything about it. He thought everyone had the same thoughts as him just that you were expected to marry a woman and not be with a guy. After he started having children his wife no longer wanted to have sex. He said one day a friend revealed that he was bisexual too. He said to this day he doesn't know what happened but that within twenty minutes of finding out they were having sex. After he realized that he likes being with men more, he got divorced and mostly sees guys but sometimes women as well.
What about you, when did you know?