My Story: Ivan, 17

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Team with a Dream Initiative

"I Am Happy to Be Who I Am"

Hi! My name is Ivan. I like travelling, I like communicating with new people, I like the diversity of the big city and its fast-paced environment. Also… I like boys, too. Don't ask me when exactly I became aware of that - I went through all the stages of self-realization - from denial to acceptance.

I remember how I told this to my best friend for the first time - we were wandering around together the whole day and I was trying to make him think it up by himself. No result. In the end, before taking our way to each others' bus stop, I confessed I'm bisexual (in fact I am gay, but I didn't know that yet). He needed some time to understand - it was too unexpected for him, but everything was utterly fine on the next day. To my surprise, he became interested in the topic and shared things that even I didn't know (no, he's not gay, no matter how bizarre that would sound to you). I talked to other friends as well on the matter - it turned out that I was surrounded by people who understand me. I started making a list of all people who know about my sexuality. The number was getting bigger and bigger.

One evening, after another resonant teen drama of mine (of course it was all about a boy), I came back home very upset. There was no obvious reason for that, though. My mum understood it's something wrong happening there and, because I was still affected, it was very easy to be predisposed to share my "anguish". B-O-O-M!! - The bomb was dropped. The war broke out. My parents didn't take very well the fact their son is gay. It has been a while that we were fighting for everything, I was avoiding staying at home, trying not to see them as much as possible . At some point I was just fed up of all this and we reached consensus - we decided not to talk about it anymore. All good! Despite the fact they didn't took it perfectly well (I'm lucky not to be a tough case), I feel much better. The list got "Shift+Delete". I have no regrets about telling my parents - I believe the time will help them accept me as I am. I became more self-confident and I don't worry anymore "what people might say". Well, certainly I don't introduce myself with: "Hi! Nice to meet you, I'm gay", but no doubt I feel better with myself. I have wonderful friends - gay and bisexual as well as heterosexual, I enjoy my hobbies and activities; and even though a bit conservative, my parents are wonderful, too. They gave me education, they gave me life! Life that I like. I am happy to be who I am.

My advice to everyone who is becoming aware of themselves is never to rush in taking decisions under the influence of emotions - no matter if they're positive or not. Think before you act and be careful who you share your thoughts with and what exactly you share (sometimes it's better to keep it for yourself or just wait for the right time). Accept the challenges with a smile on your face and try to look on the bright side of every single thing. Transform your heavyweights (by which I mean "different sexual orientation") into your vocation. After all, everybody makes mistakes and not everyone learns from them, but the most important is not to make them fatal. While I was going through all these things by myself, at the very best with one friend by my side, now you have the whole Single Step team - all great people who would listen to you with pleasure, gladly give their support and be of help.

This is the personal story of Ivan, 17, written and sent by him.