My teenage sister thinks she might be gay. How can I best support her?

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Nadia sent us a question about teen sexuality — how do you help a young person discover how he or she feels about sexual attraction?

My teen sister recently shared this with me: she thinks (but isn’t quite sure yet) that she is sexually attracted to other females. I felt at a loss for anything of substance to say except, “I love you and you’re so awesome that whoever you love will be equally fantastic!”

She feels alone because of a multitude of factors, including our parents who claim to be open-minded but really aren’t, the communal mindset of our conservative small town, etc.

As the liberal older sister, I’ve been entrusted with this younger person’s innermost feelings… and I don’t know how to handle it. I never questioned my sexuality. Are there helpful ways to support a young person’s sexual soul-searching?

Comments on My teenage sister thinks she might be gay. How can I best support her?

  1. Stephanie, you seem like a great sister! Just to echo what many other commenters stated, your initial response was so spot on and was indeed substantive. You also seem like the type of sister who will remind her of this as she explores her sexuality, which can only help. Honestly, when I read your response to her I thought to myself, “This is a girl who will be ok, no matter what.”

    Although there are common threads among people who are in or have been in same-sex relationships, coming out (curious, gay, bi, etc) is a very individualized process and very personal. There’s a lot she will have to do on her own, at her own pace and in her own way. It may be hard to bear witness to at times, but if you’re her steady and she knows it, she will be ok.

    Below are a couple of resources that may help both you and her. Not all of it will be 100% applicable, but maybe helpful?

    http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/home/index.html

    http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/Straight-Guide-to-LGBT-Americans-September-2010.pdf

    http://www.trevorspace.org

    http://www.itgetsbetter.org

    Good luck!

    Oh, if you ever need a sounding board, I’m happy to listen.

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