I've always liked girls better than boys, even when I was very young. I didn't really start living the lifestyle until about three years ago, when I was 27. I guess you could say I came out to myself at that point, and I confirmed my identity at that point in my life.

For me, I began to wonder why I was more attracted to girls than guys. I was very academically inclined, so I did not have time to date. I spent most of my time during my undergraduate years studying in the library. It was at that point that I started to explore my feelings. When I graduated, I started to explore my feelings. It was at that point that I began to confront my own feelings and explore the gay scene in an effort to figure out my identity and sexuality. Although, I did do some dating (with men) during college, I couldn't really see myself spending the rest of my life with a man. The idea of marriage and family with a man did not appeal to me. It was almost like I wasn't looking forward to men. I don't think I was ever emotionally attracted to men.

It didn't bother me that I was gay. In fact, now I'm proud of my identity. My theory is, you go from IDENTITY CONFUSION OR CONFLICT TO ACCEPTANCE TO AFFIRMATION TO PRIDE.

I told my brother about two and a half years ago. I only have one brother, and it was easier to come out to him because we are close in age. I did not come out to my mother until six months ago. I don't communicate with my dad, so I told my mother, though I suspect he knows. In fact, I know he knows, even though I did not speak to him directly. Even though I didn't come out to my mom until recently, I think she always knew, you know the old Chines saying that daughter and mother are inseparable. I think she knew, but just didn't say anything about it. I never talked about it, either until six months ago.

At that point in my life, I had just broken up from a serious long term relationship. I was very, very sad, and I didn't care anymore. I could have told my mother while I was sill with my girlfriend, but after breaking up I felt very sad. I was tired of deceiving and I simply didn't care about the consequences at that point.

When I came out to my mother, all she said was ," Oh, OK. I know." But she questioned me. She asked how I knew for sure. She asked why I didn't try dating men. She wanted to know how I could be sure it wasn't a phase. But I told her that I could only be happy with a woman. I asked her, "Mom, don't you want me to be happy?" My mother said that she would never be happy if I was with a woman.

The next day, she told me, "Whatever you decide to do, you are my daughter, and you have my support." I thought that was very sweet of her to say, because I knew it was very difficult. I talked to my brother about this, about how my mom felt, and we think that Mom is still in denial. She still thinks it's a phase and that I will change.

My parents were very strict. No dating in high school. School and education definitely came first. I didn't start dating until college. Even then it was nothing long term, because I was so into school. So I guess my parents were kind of happy when I was dating at hat point, because I didn't have any serious relationships because of school.

I believe we need to push a gay affirmative/culturally affirmative action. We need to educate ourselves and advocate the education of other counselors. We need to develop an understanding of the concept of Affirmative Action and of diversity, and homosexuality should be reflected as an acceptable lifestyle. We need to model attitudes to value homosexuality and heterosexuality as valid ways of living.