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Pressure to act ‘like a gay man’

Maura O’Neill: Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice


Don’t bow to gay stereotypes

Don’t bow to gay stereotypes

Don’t bow to gay stereotypes

Dear Maura

I don't know what all the fuss is about 'coming out'. I'm 25 and told my family and close friends that I'm gay, and now I feel they expect me to behave a certain way. It's really bothering me because instead of feeling a great relief I just sense pressure to look and act a certain way.

Why is there all this drama surrounding a 'reveal' if you like. The funny thing is - and I'm trying to see the humour here, believe me - most if not all my family and friends knew or at least guessed.

There was no issue, no discussion. Life has gone on, except for me. Talking about being a gay person has made me ridiculously self-conscious. I almost feel I have to try to be really gay - to camp it up so they will believe me.

Telling people made me stand outside of myself and present myself as a particular type. It's kind of driving me a bit crazy. I just want to be normal 'me'. I'm sure everything will settle down, but at the moment I'm extremely aware of everyone knowing. Do you have any advice?

A This is such an interesting letter and, of course, when you write out all your feelings and reactions about this situation you make a lot of sense.

However, I do feel that in the wake of talking to those close to you about your sexuality, there is a heightened awareness and self-consciousness about who you are.

You've embodied this gay person for as long as you can remember and really didn't need to formally present him to the world. You've done that and it's almost like you've stepped outside of yourself and now are trying to get back in there, so to speak - to just simply be you.

Give it time to really feel that people see you as you.


How to boost daughter’s confidence?

Dear Maura

My 16-year-old daughter has no self-confidence no matter how her dad and I try to boost her up. It's breaking my heart because I feel so helpless.

She's in good form and has friends who are lovely. There's one girl that really impresses her. Whenever the girls are going out, she always thinks this girl looks gorgeous. Interestingly, she's not jealous - but definitely feels in her shadow.

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The funny thing is the girl is good-looking and all, but not especially so. The only difference between her and our daughter is that she has buckets of confidence. I'm worried that this could get to the point that she doesn't want to go out with her friends because she feels she's not 'good enough'. I don't know what to do.

A You're now at the stage where you'll have to let your daughter work through this situation herself, but with you on the sideline supporting her to make the correct decisions and form healthy opinions.

Confidence is the key player here. Continue to nurture and guide your daughter, and she'll grow to realise that she has a beauty and personality of her own.

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