I'm Chris. I'm 17 and I live in Ireland where homosexuality is still quite frowned upon. I'm gay. My family and friends know it and something it doesn't bother or hinder me in the slightest.
Last week I was using my brothers computer account, simply because it was turned on already, and I went into his favorites on YouTube. I found lots of videos of guys bodybuilding and stuff.
So alright, I think he's gay and looking at it now he's much more effeminate than I am. I can't quite explain why, but I am terrified of it. He's 14 and in the same school as I am. We have a good enough relationship, but we never talk about relationships with other people. I feel that I'd be too scared to talk to him about it, even though he knows I'm gay. He hasn't mentioned it to me once.
I really don't know what to do. It's so strange that I would react this way. I really don't want him to be gay and I can't for the life of me figure out why? Please, please, please give me some comforting advice on the matter. I can't talk to anyone else about it for the sake of his privacy.
Thanks a mil,
Dear All In The Family,
Chances are, the reason you don't like the possibility of your brother being gay is because you haven't quite come to grips with being gay yourself. I mean, you know you're gay, but have you fully accepted it? There is a phenomenon called internalized homophobia, which ironically is suffered by many gay folks.
Internalized homophobia occurs whenever GLBT people direct external homophobia at themselves and others in their community. This can manifest itself in feelings of shame, anger, bias against other LGBT people or a number of other things.
You said it yourself: gays are frowned upon in your town and although you are out, you are only "sometimes" at peace with your sexuality. Could it be that you don't want your brother to experience the same struggles? If he came out in the same school, would that perhaps bring about a deeper level of shame since there would be not one, but two gay kids in the family?
Coming out is a long, rocky road. Our internalized homophobia, fears, anxieties and frustrations don't just go away the moment we utter those three words: I am gay. It takes times for us to reconcile (or come to terms with) our own sexuality and sometimes our own self-healing happens at a different pace than coming out to other people.
As far as your brother is concerned, don't be so quick to jump to conclusions. Could he just be into body building? I know many of straight meat heads that spend all of their time away from the gym looking at other guys' muscles. His mannerisms are also just as vague. You can't judge sexuality by levels of effeminacy. If that were the case, you'd be straight, right?
Your brother's sexuality is still an unknown right now. The best thing you can do be a big brother and role model. Start talking with him about relationships without probing for answers to his big unknown. Guide him. Give him advice. Be there to give him what you didn't have: a brother that understands what it's like to be gay in a town that frowns upon the very word.
It's okay that you have the feelings that you have right now. They will fade in time if you actively work on them. Take some private time to think about exactly what bothers you about your bro's potential gayness. Could you be projecting your own fears or feelings of shame onto him?
I see this as a great opportunity for you develop a better sense of comfort with yourself. You are light years ahead of many out guys just by recognizing the fact that you have lingering issues with being gay. Who knows, supporting your brother right now, despite his sexuality, and dealing with your own internalized feelings may bring about the healing that you need to fully embrace who you are.
Yours wishing he had a gay older brother,