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To Sam

The Term Gay

In School The term Gay is Thrown Around A Lot, And Because Im Bisexuel It Hurts Inside Because People Dont Know My Sexuality And They Make Fun of people, Even My Freind Who Doesnt Know Im bisexuel. My BFF Knows When She Says " hes So Gay" That Its A Joke but I Feel Inside That Saying Things Like That Is Wrong!
My Freind Whos A Boy Has A Brother Who Is Gay And he Understands Though I Dont Want To tell Him My Sexuality Yet.
Am I Wrong To Think That People Should Not Use The Term " Gay"
Thanks Sam xxx
Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for your letter.

I can hear how much it hurts your feelings when people use “gay” in an insulting way. You’ve asked whether people should use the term “gay” like that. I don’t think that they should. It’s not ok to use a word for a whole group of people, like “gay”, to mean that something isn’t good. This is discrimination.

Sometimes people are unaware of how what they do or say can affect someone else. Like you said, the word “gay” gets used a lot in your school. Often people aren’t trying to hurt people’s feelings when they say something is “gay”. They might just not realise that it is offensive. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s ok for them to keep doing it.

Perhaps the next time it’s said you can speak to your closest friend privately and explain how you feel to help them understand what things are like for you. If you think it may be difficult to explain this face to face, you may want to consider writing her an email, sending her a text, or calling her. You might also want to think about talking to a teacher about how often people are using “gay” as a negative word. The law says that schools have to do something to try and stop young people being bullied because of their sexuality, so they should take your worries very seriously.

I can hear that you don’t want to tell everyone your sexuality yet and that’s okay. It’s worth remembering that even though you’ve heard lots of people using the word “gay” in a hurtful way, this doesn’t mean that they would automatically be unsupportive of you being bisexual. Many of them might surprise you. But coming out is a very personal thing and it’s totally up to you when and how you want to do it. If and when you’re ready there are people who can support you. Young Stonewall and the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard both offer some good advice about coming out.

You may also want to go on the ChildLine sexuality message board to speak to other young people who may be in a similar situation to you. You can add your own thoughts or start a new thread too as a way of getting support.

I am really pleased that you took the brave step of writing to me. If you feel that you want to talk to a ChildLine counsellor in more detail about what’s been going on, you can do this by calling ChildLine on 0800 1111, having a 1-2-1 chat or sending the counsellors an email.

Take care

Sam

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