I’ve recently come out of the closet to some of my close friends and I’m unsure of the next step. For me it’s a liberating process but I know its a very confusing subject for a lot of people. I feel like I’m walking a wire between going back in the closet and pushing my straight friends away. The straight guys don’t know “how to talk to me” and the girls all want me to go shopping and watch chick flicks, and go to gay clubs. Do you have any advice on how to ease this process?
-Coming Out in (Gay)thersberg
Dear Coming Out in (Gay)thersburg,
It takes balls to come out. Good on you. Reading this letter, I thought back on my experiences. I started to type “Well, there’s no manual for this kind of thing…” and I thought Wait, why not? So, here it is. (please read it in that Disney Goofy narration style)
So, you took the plunge. You have started telling people you’re gay. Congrats, that took some serious cajones (not surprising, since gay men statistically have larger penises than straight men [Citation Needed]). Anyway, the point is that people might start treating you differently. The fact of the matter is that you can’t control everyone, but there are some things you can do to help the situation. Here’s some of what I’ve learned, be warned, not all of this will apply to you.
The number one thing to remember with your parents is patience. Chances are you’ve been thinking about this a lot for a long time. They’re just finding out about this. They probably don’t know how to react. They may say some ignorant things without realizing exactly what they’re saying. My mother once said to me “If you had cancer, I’d need time to deal with that too.” I had to explain to her that there is a big difference between being happy and having a life-threatening illness. She didn’t mean to compare being gay to dying, so I cut her some slack. Not a lot, but some. Now that I’m engaged, she has a lot to deal with, so I made it clear to her that I know she needs time, so I’m giving her time. But if she can’t get happy for me, it will seriously effect our relationship. I didn’t say it angrily, just as a fact. I know not all parents are the same. Some will be totally OK with it and some will never be ok with it. But mostly, parents want you to be happy. The problem is that most parents have a specific happiness in mind which usually involves an expensive white dress and small bundles of joy.
Basically, just give them time, but make sure they know you’re giving them time, and not just avoiding the situation. It’s not going to go away.
Your straight male friends might have trouble figuring out how to act around you. It seems that there is a common belief among straight males that all gay men want to sleep with anyone with a penis. This is simply not true. Now, I will admit to being curious as to what everyone looks like naked, but that doesn’t mean I want to have sex with all males. I mean, if someone was like I have a picture of Rick Santorum naked, want to see? I’d say “Hell yeah!” but would I sleep with him? Wait, bad example. I totally would so I could tell the news media. But someone else, um, Daniel Radcliffe. There we go.
Anyway, back to what I was saying, straight men have a tenancy to believe their gay friends have secret crushes on them. This makes things awkward sometimes. Some straight guys will think it’s funny to flirt with you. Some will even think flirting with you is doing you some kind of favor, like it’s made your night. As soon as this starts, put a stop to it. “Dude, gross. I would’t put my dick anywhere near you. I know where you’ve been.” usually does the trick.
Other guys will go the opposite direction and not know how to talk to you at all, because they are afraid of leading you on. The irony here (like how my mother makes me feel uncomfortable by telling me how other people are going to discriminate) is that these guys will make things awkward by trying so fucking hard to not make things awkward. In this case, like in all cases, it’s best to just be yourself. Show them that they don’t have to treat you any differently because you’re not acting any differently.
The worst thing, in my experience, straight guy friends do when they find out you’re gay is the dreaded “Do you think I’m attractive?” DO NOT answer this question unless you are prepared to accept the fallout. If you say yes, they’ll think you want to bang them (Which is only ok if you’re trying to make them feel uncomfortable, which can be a usefull tool). And if you say no, they’ll get all butthurt. Usually best to avoid this question all together.
Your Chick Friends
This actually turned out to be more of a problem for me than my guy friends. A lot of women feel the need to have the kind of gay friend they see on TV. This is a problem, because they expect you to fit a stereotype. Just like you mentioned how they all want you to go shopping, etc. The problem is that these women want a gay friend in the same way they want a stylish bag. You become an accessory to them. If you EVER hear a girl say “But you’re gay, you’re supposed to…” You need to have a serious talk with that girl.
Look, if you come out and realize that you’ve been hiding your love for chick flicks and shoe shopping and appletinis, good on you. But a lot of guys don’t. You’re tastes don’t just suddenly change because you’re out. Be true to yourself. If a girl asks you to go shoe shopping and you want to, no one will judge you. If a girl asks you to go shoe shopping and you hate shoe shopping but have watched too much Will and Grace and say “You know it, gurrl!” Then, yeah, I’ll judge you.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that in coming out, you have the opportunity to be yourself. Please please please take it. Be yourself fully. Don’t be who TV says you should be. Don’t be who your friends and family treat you. Be yourself and the people important to you will take the hint and treat you the same way they always have. There is going to be an adjustment period, just be patient. In the end it will all be worth it. So, welcome to gaydom!
I don’t know, I guess that could work. Maybe?