Erin Oliveri started to realize she was a lesbian when she was about 13. “We’d be playing kissing games at parties and I didn’t want to kiss any of the guys,” she says.
For the next few years, she struggled with figuring out her sexual identity. Growing up on Staten Island -- a short ferry ride away from Manhattan but light years apart in terms of attitudes toward homosexuality -- she went to a small, Catholic, all-girls’ high school where everyone knew everyone. “It wasn’t the most welcoming environment. I was very worried about telling people,” says Erin, who’s now 23 and works in public relations in New York.
Do you know if you can get an STD the first time you have sex? Have you heard that you can catch one by sitting on a toilet seat? Does having sex in a hot tub protect against STDs?
WebMD asked Gail Bolan, MD, director of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention, to clear up some common myths about STDs. She also has some important advice to help teens protect themselves every time they have sex.
Only trashy or slutty people get STDs.
No. These infections are equal opportunity. If you're having...
Coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual ,or transgender can be tough at any age, but teens have a lot more to think about. Is it safe to come out at school? Will your mom or dad reject you? Will you be kicked out of the house?
Erin knew her family loved her, but she decided to come out in baby steps. “I came out first to a friend from a different school when I was about 15. I definitely knew she was gay,” she recalls. “Then, one of my good friends just kind of knew, and she was really open and almost asked me, so I knew she’d welcome it.”
Next, she told her older sister. “She was the cool one who’d let me hang out with her friends,” Erin says. “I knew she’d be OK with it, and I thought maybe she’d give me some pointers and help me figure out how our parents would react.”
That was the biggie. Erin’s parents are conservative, and always preached against things like sex before marriage. So when at 17, she decided to tell her dad during an Outback Steakhouse lunch after one of her soccer games, Erin was almost shaking with anxiety.
“I said, ‘Dad, I’ve really been wanting to tell you about something. I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure because I didn’t want you to think it was just a phase,’” she recalls. “I looked down at this point and he knew what was coming next. I led off with, ‘I have a girlfriend, and I’m gay.’ I looked up and he had tears in his eyes, and he said, ‘Yeah, we know.’ He looked sad, but he said, ‘You’re Erin, we always love you. It doesn’t matter.’”