Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Relaunch of the "How Do I Love Myself When I'm Gay" Series

I missed the boat.

At the end of last month, I responded to a comment I received on a post from a gay, young man in Cape Town, South Africa, who recognized how his self-loathing manifested itself in his life (depression, promiscuity, and alcohol abuse), and who asked the simple question, "How do you love yourself?"  (Please click here to see his comment and my response.)

While my answer was consistent with the spirit of my writing here over the past two years, I gave him nothing specific to work with.  That is, I kept talking around what he should do–and what it looked like–but I failed to give him advice on the steps he could take to achieve his goal.    

I haven't been able to stop thinking about that since, because I take very seriously any comment or email I receive from a gay person who sees him- or herself in what I write, who recognizes the need to change, and who is sincere in finding a new way of being in the world.

The irony in all of this for me is, two years ago, I wrote a series of posts on exactly that subject.  Titled "How to Love Yourself When You're Gay," I took readers step-by-step through the process I followed to help me on my own journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance and self-love.  But I'd completely forgotten about this series (aging being what it is) and, as a result, wasn't able to refer to it in my response.  

I've decided to blow the dust off these six posts and feature them again on my blog.  

At the time I originally published them, my blog had a dedicated, but small, core group of readers, who showed their ongoing support of me and my work by sharing comments on a regular basis.  But readership has grown considerably over the past two years, and I suspect many new readers, who never saw this series, might find it helpful.

It's for them, and especially for my Cape Town reader, that I plan to reprise the "How to Love Yourself When You're Gay" series over the next several days, after I review it in detail and freshen it up as necessary.  I hope you'll check back for these six posts and offer other suggestions you have on how we can all understand, accept, and love ourselves more.


  1. I just found your blog and I am a teen lesbian in the closet. I do not hate myself for being the way I am, although I do think it would be easier on myself and my family if I were straight. It just so happens there is a girl interested in me, and I know I won't be able to be in a relationship with her until I've told my family. I'm not willing to tell them yet, and I will explain that to her as well. It just upsets me deeply. I look forward to your blog.

  2. S, I'm so glad to hear one gay or lesbian person isn't filled with self-loathing. You are clearly the exception and not the rule.

    That said, all I ask is that you keep yourself open to the possibility you might be and not know it, because self-loathing shows up in our lives in many different ways. And it can really affect how we see ourselves, our interactions with other people, the decisions we make, etc. But it sounds like you are definitely on the right track, and I applaud you for that.

    I'm sorry to hear about the situation with the girl who's interested in you, but I understand it completely. Had a young man been interested in me when I was a teen still living at home (I assume you still live at home), I would have had to do the same thing as you. It disappoints me that, all these years later, some gay and lesbian people still have to live their lives the way I did back in the dark ages.

    You'd be surprised the number of gay people I've known who were young like you and still had relationships, of whatever nature, while their parents knew nothing about them. Often, taking those first steps–in your case, with the girl who likes you–helps you negotiate territory you're unfamiliar with and empowers you to take that courageous leap out of the closet.

    I'm by no means suggesting you should do anything behind your parents's back–particularly if it would make you uncomfortable or could get you into any trouble–but I am saying don't outright discount that you can't do anything at all, because that may not be the case. There's nothing wrong with starting as good friends, hanging out together, and seeing where that takes you. You never know–this girl could well be the one you're meant to be with, possibly for the rest of your life.

    Whatever happens, I wish you well.

    Thank you for your interest in my blog. I hope to hear from you again.