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Occasionally I see the agony columns of Papers and Periodicals trying to cope with letters which have a Gay Content. I have also seen the moralistic cautious replies that are given. The "Dear Linda" column in the Sunday World believes we cannot know we're gay until we're twenty eight. What I want to know is why didn't she pick an age like fifty eight! If one is going to keep us quiet why not make it as long as possible.

The Sunday World response is a particularly ludicrous example of how the "experts" have treated Gay Men and Lesbian Women. They tent to err grievously on the side of caution and so perpetuate the myth of 'a phase' of something similar. My column will be sensitive and factual. Hopefully it will be widely used and during the next few months I look forward to your letters.

My address is: Dear Dorothy, G.C.N., P.O. Box 931, Dublin 4

Dear Dorothy,

It's only recently that I have come to terms with being a homosexual. A "friend" of mine informed me of the National Gay Federation. Being the timid type I felt ashamed at first about enquiring for information but as I have already stated I have become accustomed to being gay.

I have one problem with which I hope you may be able to help me. In the last few months I have come to realise that I am physically attracted to my best friend. I have tried to conceal this by dating and sleeping with other women, but I am only sexually aroused if I see my friend's face in their face as I make love to them, and I dream that he is present. I believe that my friend feels this way too, but we have never spoken of our sexual attraction for each other.

The only sexual experience which I have had with another male was last Summer, when a known homosexual made advances towards me and I responded with pleasure. That was when my true feelings came to the surface, and the realisation struck that I was gay. I am now in a dilemma as to what I should do. Is this 'just a phase" I am going through? Please advise me.

Dear Dilemma Struck,

This does not sound like a 'phase' to me. It sounds like the real thing and you have hit the jackpot in your description of the three classic indications of being a homosexual.

1. You have 'responded with pleasure' in sexual relationship with a member of your own sex.

2. While making love to members of the opposite sex you must fantasise about being with someone of your own sex in order to become aroused.

3. You are developing a string physical - and I assume emotional as it is your best friend - attraction to a particular member of your own sex.

Despite your use of expressions like 'I have come to terms with being gay' I do not feel that you have otherwise you would not be asking 'is this just a phase'. Your next step is to start learning to accept your true sexual orientation and to become comfortable with it. This may take time and it will take courage but ultimately it is more rewarding than never learning to love or to accept yourself.

This will be achieved by meeting and talking to other gay people who have learnt to accept themselves. It will not be achieved by falling hopelessly in love with your best friend who may or may not be gay. Even if he is gay he may not fancy you. Many gay people make this mistake and it has potentially disastrous consequences. I think that they subconsciously believe that if their best friend is 'that way' too then it will be in some way easier to accept.

An independent course of action is called for now and in time you will have the confidence to discuss your sexuality with your friend should you desire to do so.

Please ring T.A.F. at (01) 777847 for details of the option open to you to meet other gay people.

Dear Dorothy,

I'm a lesbian who has been our on the scene for many years now and by this stage I thought I had seen it all. However a few weeks ago, at our local pub I was chatted up by a very attractive women who I had not met before. As the night wore on we got on very well with each other and she invited me back to her place. When we were going to bed she was wearing a strap on dildo! I nearly died, however I thought to myself. "I'll try anything once". Anyway, the point of the matter is that I enjoyed myself very much, but I am worried about the health hazards, also now I am worried about my sexuality, enjoying phallic symbols didn't seem to be part of my lesbianism up to this. Do you think I may be going straight? Please advise.


Dear Confused,

Firstly sharing dildo's may be risky if you are not sure about your partners past experience. However it is advisable to clean dildo's after each partner’s use.

As to the question of your sexuality. A women can have two types of orgasm. 1. Clitoral, 2. Vaginal. The first (clitoral) may be accomplished by stimulation, ie licking, rubbing, massaging etc. The second (vaginal) may be accomplished by and object inside the vagina - fingers, phallic objects, dildo's, etc. Both orgasms are enjoyable and fulfilling. Because you enjoy a vaginal orgasm does not mean you are straight. In the same way as enjoyment of clitoral orgasm does not mean you are a lesbian.

Unfortunately I am not in a position to clarify your sexuality for you. Only you can decide that. From your letter however it seems obvious that you are attracted to women and enjoy being with them.

This article appears in Issue 2

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