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I’m gay. But no one knows. I have a lot of friends – I’m actually pretty popular in my high school – but I’m really living a lie. I pretend to like girls, even go on dates, but it’s not who I really am. I’m getting more and more depressed about this, but I’m afraid that if I come out, I’ll lose everything. I’ve got nobody to talk to. What can I do?
Depressed

Dear Depressed,
I’m really glad you were brave enough to put your feelings in writing and send this letter. It’s a very important first step. I also want to tell you that it’s natural to be afraid to come out, especially if you don’t know where to find support. However, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are resources out there that may help you connect with others going through similar experiences.

If you feel that there is someone you trust, such a friend, parent, grandparent, sibling, cousin, teacher, school counselor, faith leader, etc., you might think about how you would feel most comfortable coming out. While it is difficult living a double life and coming out could be a huge relief for some, it is helpful to look at potential reactions to coming out. You mentioned the fear of losing everyone. This is a valid fear and one that makes sense to take into consideration when thinking about coming out. Questions to consider might be: Who can I trust to tell? If I tell my parent(s) is there any chance that I will be asked to leave home? Does it feel safe to come out to this person? Where and how should I come out to them? Should it be an in-person conversation or a note? At home or in public setting, like a mall or coffee shop? These things depend on your comfort level.

Whether you are ready to come out now or a later, time there are other supports in place to help you feel supported and connected. www.TrevorSpace.org is an online social networking site for LGBTQ youth worldwide. There are over 100,000+ members and different chat rooms you can join for support. You mentioned feeling depressed. Sometimes it can become overwhelming and feel hopeless. The Trevor Project at www.thetrevorproject.org has a 24/7 lifeline, chat, and text service if you ever want to talk to someone about what’s going on.

Please remember that your feelings are understandable, but you don’t have to go through this alone. On TrevorSpace, you will connect with people who will accept you for who you are, which may help you to feel better and stronger.

Feel free to write again and best of luck,
Ally

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