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As a male teen, I feel uneasy about my gender orientation

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male in my late teens and I feel uncomfortable about my sexuality. Although I don’t think I absolutely want to become a woman, I’m feeling gloomy about being a man.

I looked up the transgender issue and learned that some people don’t make a choice but instead switch their sexes in their social and private lives. I’m not confident that I’m clever enough to live that way.

I’m a bisexual who can love both men and women. Although I have a girlfriend now, I fell in love with two men in the past. I don’t think being transgender and bisexual is accepted in society.

I want to marry, raise children and succeed at work, but sexual minorities are in a weak position in Japanese society.

My counselor told me to be true to myself. However, I don’t know myself well. I can’t disclose this matter to my family because I’m afraid to hear their responses. What direction should I take?

A, Tokyo

Dear Mr. A:

I can’t give you an answer that would work for everybody. I also won’t tell you to be true to yourself, because that’s difficult for all of us.

Social understanding of sexual minorities has deepened drastically compared to a generation ago. But this doesn’t necessarily mean your girlfriend or family will understand your sexuality. As this issue is connected with them, they will probably be confused.

Why don’t you take a 180-degree turn? Rather than worrying about what direction you should take, think about what people will expect of you in new places and how you should act there.

From now on, you will face various difficulties at school, in the workplace, in your marriage, raising your children and in other situations. You need to face these difficulties one by one and find solutions. Each problem is individual and specific and will have to be dealt with differently. They all probably have different answers. The day will come when you will have to disclose that you are bisexual, or it won’t. That’s life, I think.

This is your precious life, and you are the only one in the world who can build it. So why not start by honestly facing your girlfriend tomorrow?

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(from Nov. 15, 2015, issue)Speech

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