Some of us knew we were attracted to the same sex quite early in life. For others, we realized later. For example, it is not unusual for a man to discover attraction for men in his 30s or 40s. But for those who grew up gay often say they had many difficulties coming out as gay.

Children are often discouraged from talking about sexuality or same sex experiences. Parents often hope it was 'just a phase'. But evidence suggests that it is better to be supportive of young people who show an interest in their own sex or behave in ways that don't conform to gender norms.

Many adults who were not supported about their sexuality carry feelings of hurt, resentment and mistrust from childhood. Being on the receiving end of bullying can impact the development of social skills and make it more difficult for people to relax in social situations and make friends. Some LGBT people talk about how growing up gay shaped them. It could seem like a disadvantage or it could seem to have made a person stronger.

Talking about your upbringing with a gay counsellor can provide support and a way to sort out your feelings. Discussing childhood experiences with a therapist can help develop understanding and make you feel more comfortable now. On this site, you can find a counsellor to assist you coming to terms with growing up gay.