These changes involve both the body and the mind — so just thinking about someone attractive can cause physical arousal. Despite myths and misconceptions, there is no evidence that being gay is caused by early childhood experiences, parenting styles, or the way someone is raised. Becoming aware of — and coming to terms with — one's sexual orientation can take some time. And if their child is gay, it may bring a whole new set of questions and concerns. They often feel glad that their child chose to confide in them, and are proud of their child for having the courage to tell them. Some are surprised to learn the truth, always having thought their child was straight.
They often feel different from their friends when the heterosexual people around them start talking about romantic feelings, dating, and sex. Becoming aware of — and coming to terms with — one's sexual orientation can take some time. Some are surprised to learn the truth, always having thought their child was straight. How Gay Teens Might Feel Like their straight peers, gay teens may stress about school, grades, college, sports, activities, friends, and fitting in. And they might feel protective, worrying that others might judge or reject their child. Knowing one's sexual orientation — whether straight or gay — is often something that kids or teens recognize with little doubt from a very young age. Some gay teens say they had same-sex crushes in childhood, just as their heterosexual peers had opposite-sex crushes. Others wonder whether the news is really true and whether their teen is sure. In fact, people don't choose their sexual orientation any more than they choose their height or eye color. But in addition, gay and lesbian teens often deal with an extra layer of stress — like whether they have to hide who they are, whether they will be harassed about being gay, or whether they will face stereotypes or judgments if they are honest about who they are. There are several types of sexual orientation that are commonly described: Teens are beginning to discover what it means to be attracted romantically and physically to others. Sadly, some react with anger, hostility, or rejection. But many lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens who come out to their friends and families are fully accepted by them and their communities. No one fully understands exactly what determines a person's sexual orientation, but it is likely explained by a variety of biological and genetic factors. People who are bisexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of both sexes. They might feel they need to deny who they are or hide an important part of themselves. Once aware, some gay teens may be quite comfortable and accept their sexuality, while others might find it confusing or difficult to accept. And recognizing one's sexual orientation is part of that process. Heterosexuals are often called "straight. For them, it can feel like everyone is expected to be straight. Many decide to tell a few accepting, supportive friends and family members about their sexual orientation. And if their child is gay, it may bring a whole new set of questions and concerns. Fortunately, many parents of gay teens understand and are accepting right from the start. That's where support groups and other organizations can help. They feel they have known all along, even before their teen came out to them.
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