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Advice on Putting Myself Out There
Hello everyone!

I'm 17, I turn 18 in November, and I am a Freshman in college. In case you haven't pick up on it yet, I am gay but I am not out of the closet, nor do I plan on entirely coming out. My father's side of the family is Jamaican, so I pretty much have gotten the "anti-gay" thing my whole life, and my mother's side is from the south so I'm basically in a lose-lose situation here. However, I don't want to let that stop me from exploring myself in college.

I've never done it with another guy, I came close once but I got scared because I'm all for, "It'll happen when you're ready, but how do I put myself out there more in the gay scene without actually being out there? Like, I want to meet other guys, probably date, and so on. I basically want to try having a love life, but I am too scared to actually come out on campus too. So, do any of you have tips or can relate to my situation? It would be very helpful.

I didn't quite come to terms with my sexuality into my senior year of high school, so there is all very new to me, but I don't want to rid myself of a sex life and seclude myself in a bathroom all the time, if you know what I mean.

I was thinking of maybe joining the volleyball team? Or something...

Welcome to the forum @youno3

One of the first ways you can begin to come out is hang out on a forum like this one. Get to know other gay youth. There are many here closer to your age than am I. Just talking with other gay guys you'll begin to learn that we're as diverse as straight guys. Some of us are very out-going, others not. Some are very sexually liberal, others not. And so on. The advice you'll get from people here will vary depending on their personality type, their age, their experience level. So bare all that in mind.

IF I WERE YOU (and knew at your age what I know now), I wouldn't stress TOO much about "coming out". Times are far more tolerant now than when I was your age (see the link in my signature to learn more about that if you are interested). For sure, you can find prejudice just about anywhere. But, that said, on the whole, people are far more casual about "gay" or homosexuality now than they've ever been in the past.

You may be surprised to discover that men who are comfortable with their own sexuality aren't going to care that much if you are gay. If they are straight and feel comfortable with themselves, they may think it is 'odd' or 'weird' but they're just not going to give much of a fuck. Has nothing to do with them. If they are bi and they find you attractive, there might be some possibility of hooking up or playing sexually with them. Depends on the level of mutual attraction. If they are gay, that's even more likely.

However, if they're UNSURE about their own sexuality -- not feel totally confident about their on masculinity, for example -- or have been brought up in a very 'conservative' or 'fundamentalist' mentality, they MIGHT express repulsion or worse. So the best thing to do is just sort of 'test the waters' a bit with anyone. Do they seem to be belligerently homophobic? If it is anything less than that, even coming out to them or expressing interest in them may not be as big a deal as your BRAIN makes it seem.

I say this as an older man who is comfortable being gay. I don't hesitate to tell ANYONE I feel needs to know that I am gay. That's not to say I go around telling EVERYONE. I don't. Most people don't care or want to know my sexual preference. Has nothing to do with them. But if it is someone I'm becoming friends with (for example) or someone I find attractive and think there *could be* some mutual attraction, I don't hesitate to just come right out and say it: "I'm gay." I'm sometimes met with shock and surprise but it is VERY rare that I'm met with repulsion or derision.

You've taken the first step in coming out: You've come out to yourself. You know what you want. NOW what you need is the self-confidence (and self-awareness) to allow yourself to HAVE it. Now more than ever it is relatively easy to find a "hook up"... using Grinder or Hornet or any number of gay phone apps. So that takes care of that.

As for finding gay friends (not necessarily sex partners), the first question is, is there a gay organization on campus? If not on campus, are there other local gay organizations (perhaps search on craigslist or meet ups). Is there a local PFLAG? All these are potential resources.

As far as joining a sports club, the highest percentage of gay jocks are either swimmers (and divers) or gymnasts. That's not to say there aren't gay jocks in other team sports, there certainly are. That's just a 'percentage' thing. These days it is clear to me that there is more male vanity than ever before. Young men are working out like you know what trying to get their bodies into "sexually desirable" form... and this is true regardless of their sexual interests. MANY of them are more "open" to "playing around" than you probably know. (Some insist there is no such thing as a truly "straight" man... I wouldn't go quite that far but I do know for a fact there is a lot of 'bent' straight boys around.) The point being, if you want to find 'gay guys'... look for men who are themselves LOOKING AT other guys. Or guys who spend a lot of time checking themselves out in the mirror. Smile

EDIT TO ADD: One thing you should know about MOST (not all) gay jocks is that they MUST be discreet. Most of them are NOT out. They may very well be gay or bi or willing to swing 'that way' on occasion; but they demand absolute discretion. If they have any sense that you cannot or will not keep their secret, chances are high they'll have nothing to do with you. <<<< Just a word of advice.

As for relationships... Now this is a whole other kettle of piranha. MY POV IS that young men such as yourself should not even be THINKING abut "relationships" at least until they've graduated from college. These early college years should be times for "exploring" and "playing" ... having fun... perhaps "dating" but not overly seriously. WHY? Because, to be quite blunt, most young gay men ARE NOT READY for a committed relationship. They may think they are but the statistic (and hanging out on a forum like this one will prove it repeatedly) show otherwise. Almost ALL such young relationship fail within the first year to three years for one reason or another. (Most commonly infidelity. Second most commonly, sexual incompatibility ... which is very closely related to the first.)

Building a real relationship with a real man who is independent, knows what he wants, has room for YOU in his life (and you him) and wants to form a bond that will last for years... which includes loving someone EVEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT PERFECT (which none of us are)... This takes a very mature attitude. I'm not saying that NO young gay man has that level of emotional (and sexual) maturity; I'm saying that *most* do not. There are exceptions to the rule.

Beyond that... just "be yourself". Allow yourself to take some (safe) social risks now and then. Do some research... find out what is available to you near where you are. Explore. See what you like and what you don't. Hang out here in the forum. Share your experiences. Ask advice...

In short, the very fact that you are in a place like this asking these question is a sign that you're going to do just fine! Smile Not that life will always be a bed of roses for you (or any of us)... but at least you know how to research, network and find support for your journey. Congratulations! Wink
what he said... is a good place to find social things to do (ie not hookups) with other gay guys.
Those who have HATE in their heart are HATEFUL PEOPLE
Enjoy your college years, have friends, and be aware of any people showing interest in you. When you plan your free time, it wouldn't hurt to sit for a while at Starbucks or some other place where gay people tend to frequent. Check out the guys, and watch their eyes... if they are interested, you will know.
[SIZE="3"]Have A GREAT Day!!!

Hello, [MENTION=23882]yuno3[/MENTION], and Welcome to GaySpeak. I think you'll find that many of us did not completely realise that we were gay until we were older than you are now.

Consider it as a bonus that you are already aware of your sexual orientation. I daresay the age of the Internet has made some of your discoveries a bit easier to make than it was feasible for us back in the days... This doesn't mean that it'll be easy making your way in life, and that you'll get everything you want just by reaching out your hand. Some of it you'll have to work at, of course.
The first thing you'll need is some patience. First of all you're not quite 18 yet, which technically limits a few of the things you are legally allowed to do, of course, but that's just a matter of time. Once you turn 18, you finally get all those rights that adults enjoy, but you still need to add up a bit of experience. So good luck accumulating that.

As our good friend [MENTION=20947]MikeW[/MENTION], said here, you're on the right tracks when you join a group where you can speak freely and ask questions, or voice your opinion and thoughts.

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