They feel they have known all along, even before their teen came out to them. Adolescence is the dawn of sexual attraction. Teens are beginning to discover what it means to be attracted romantically and physically to others. Some gay teens say they had same-sex crushes in childhood, just as their heterosexual peers had opposite-sex crushes. They feel comfortable and secure about being attracted to people of the same gender. In some situations, teens who are openly gay may risk facing more harassment than those who haven't revealed their sexual orientation.
And recognizing one's sexual orientation is part of that process.
More on this topic for: For them, it can feel like everyone is expected to be straight. And if their child is gay, it may bring a whole new set of questions and concerns. And recognizing one's sexual orientation is part of that process. They might wonder if they did something to cause their child to be gay — but they shouldn't.
These changes involve both the body and the mind — so just thinking about someone attractive can cause physical arousal. Becoming aware of — and coming to terms with — one's sexual orientation can take some time. Many gay teens worry about whether they will be accepted or rejected by their loved ones, or whether people will feel upset, angry, or disappointed in them. But these experiences, by themselves, do not necessarily mean that a teen is gay or straight. Health and mental health professionals caution against any efforts to change a person's sexual orientation. By middle school, as they enter adolescence, many gay teens already recognize their sexual orientation, whether or not they have revealed it to anyone else. And recognizing one's sexual orientation is part of that process.