DR. WALLACE: I'm a 16-year-old gay boy and I attend a conservative Christian high school. I am, needless to say, a minority in my school. I am terrified to reveal my sexuality to anyone, including my parents. Being gay is frowned upon by the church denomination that runs my school. "Queer" jokes are also prevalent.
I feel depressed and lonely. I cannot express many of the feelings to my counselor or teachers. I know no other gays with whom I could talk about my problems and I cannot share my situation with any of my straight friends because I have portrayed a strictly heterosexual facade for as long as I've known them. I cannot bear to risk losing their friendships because of my dishonesty. I eagerly await my opportunity to go away to college, where I can start out on a more honest footing.
Please do not suggest that I renounce my feelings — that is impossible. I need to know if there are any gay support groups or other resources for other people in my situation. I appreciate your help. — Nameless, San Francisco, Calif.
NAMELESS: It's miserable to feel so alone. I strongly suggest that you discuss your sexual orientation with your parents. Sooner or later they are going to learn that you are gay, and the sooner the better. Your parents love you. After they get over their initial shock (if any), they will do everything they can to help you adjust.
Yes, there are many organizations offering assistance and guidance to gay and lesbian teens. The Gay and Lesbian National Hotline may be a good place to start. Their toll-free number is (888) 843-4564 and is open from 4 p.m. to midnight (Eastern time) Monday through Friday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Their Web address is: glnh.org.
TELL HIM GOODBYE AND GOOD LUCK
DR. WALLACE: Ellie and Julie are my very best and closest girlfriends. We are all 16 and have been friends since first grade.
About four months ago I met a guy at a friend's "Sweet 16" Birthday party. We chatted for about an hour and decided to start seeing each other socially. We have been dating ever since our first date. I care for Kevin a lot, but there are a few things that bug me. He seems to be a bit jealous of the time I spend with Ellie and Julie. He never wants me to spend any time with them. When I do, he pouts and tells me that I like my friends better than I like him. That's simply not true. I just happen to like them in a different way.
A week before Valentine's Day I went shopping with Ellie and Julie to buy Valentines for my mother and sisters, and he was really upset. He had wanted me to go to see his brother playing in a basketball game. I would have gone but I already had made plans with the girls.
Last night we went to a movie and afterwards he told me to stop spending time with my friends or our relationship would come to a screeching halt. I've given this a lot of thought and as much as I care for Kevin, I don't want to lose my friends.
I talked to my girl cousin about this and she disagrees with me. She doesn't believe anything should come between a strong boy/girl relationship. What do you think about this? — Paula, Chicago, Ill.
PAULA: This young man is not emotionally mature enough to handle a steady relationship. His demand that you abandon your friends is unacceptable. No boyfriend ever has the right to ask this of you. It's definitely time to tell him goodbye and good luck.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.