One's first LGBTQ friendship is often super-intense; in fact, that person can become just as important as a first romantic partner. I'm no longer close with my first gay friend, James, because we're very different people now. That happens to us all, of course. But I still remember clumsily coming out to him after a Le Tigre concert and him saying, "I think I'm gay, too.
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Whenever our paths cross now—most recently, on a dating app, because of course —I feel a pang of nostalgia for my awkward teenage self, as well as enormous gratitude that he was there. LGBTQ friendship comes in many forms, each one as real and urgent as the others. Oftentimes, these people become de facto family, in place of those who can't or won't support properly. Here, in their own words, are three men's stories of their first queer friendships.
Then we started chatting and he said "I'm gay" in the most offhand way. At this point I was still closeted and had a girlfriend, so seeing someone so self-assured and confident about their sexuality was a big deal. I found it empowering, and it made me feel less alone. I guess Alex was a really good marker for me in terms of coming out and owning my sexuality.
And he always supported me. He didn't instill a sense of internalized homophobia in me, which was important because I was a campy gay guy who'd always been teased for being campy. Alex welcomed and encouraged that side of my personality, which was really affirming. He also introduced me to RuPaul's Drag Race during, like, season two—back then, it was a pretty niche show, so he was ahead of the curve. He was so confident about eschewing gender norms and stanning certain queens. He didn't care what anyone else thought and that influence really helped me get my life. I've known him for 11 years now and he's been a very loyal friend.
He can be a little shit sometimes, but he's always had my back and lifted me up. He challenges me and puts me in situations I'd never put myself in otherwise. I think part of the beauty of queer friendship is that it can kind of develop into family, and that's definitely what me and Alex feel like now. I came out as bi in early I'm married so it wasn't about finding a partner; it was about not lying any more. I met Charlie on Twitter about 18 months later. He's a transgender man who came out at roughly the same time as me. His journey was definitely different to mine, but we had a lot of common ground.
We're both married and came out in our thirties, and we were both kind of struggling with navigating those next steps. Our emails and texts became a support group of sorts. I was trying to comprehend my new identity so every new feeling brought a sense of "Oh god, what does that mean? Let them know that you are there for them, no matter what. It is important for them to know that you support them, and that you are someone they can talk to about it.
Anonymous January 19th, pm. Love them unconditionally, listen to them when they are down and not having a good day, and hang out with them. Treat them like you did with any one of your friends. As a human being. By not acting any different, generally when they talk about the gender they like, act as if you were talking about the same gender as well. Don't make any rude jokes about gays, and support them through and through. It is important have good sources of information. Even just letting them know you're there if they ever need to talk or vent is a great place to start.
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There is honestly not much to it when supporting a gay friend. But you can support them by seriously being there for them and not treat them differently in a negative manner.
How can I support my friend who is gay?
Just think of it, how would you want to be treated by your friends? Listen to hear how they are feeling. Ask them how you can support them if they're having a hard time. Don't shy away from the topic, but DO ask them if they are out to everyone, or need it to be a secret sometimes.
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And, remember they are the same friend you've always had, they're just showing they are more comfortable with you now and able to reveal this part of themselves to you. Anonymous June 4th, am. Remind him that you're there for him, don't try to change him, and just keep doing what you're doing! If you're already a good friend and supportive of him, then nothing in your relationship really has to change..
I personally would feel uncomfortable if my friends started making a big deal out of it when I came out to them. Lots of money. Just kidding! It's important to listen to them and believe them about their own experiences, though, even if they've experienced things that seem unlikely to you. As a friend I would tell them that they are brave for coming out to me if they do so.
If not I will be just as supportive as I would be to any of my straight friend. As a gay myself, I have had friends tell me that they were gay and I was more then happy to tell them Yaay. Anonymous December 29th, pm. He's your friend.
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He's gay. Does it negatively affect you? Sexual orientation is something people can't control, so Just accept them. They aren't any different than they were before. Just make sure they are aware that you are there for them if they need to talk. Having a supportive friend goes a long way! Simply being there for them and accepting them for who they are is probably the most important thing here. Allow them to talk to you about any worries or problems they may be having and truly listen and support them.
Just accept it, and accept them. Try to avoid asking too many questions, just remember it and help them if others don't accept them. Be happy for them when they get into a relationship. My advice would be to treat them like you normally would before you found out. Maybe ask them what they need. Also, the Trevor Project has a guide for how to be an ally. Show him or her your compassion, and listen to one's thoughts. Offer your help, and make your support in general public if possible.
Tell the person that he is always welcome to stay at your place if he needs it. Tell him that he should find a local community, or if not possible - go online.
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Or if he or she seems doing well, then treat them as everyone else, don't make any fuzz. By being understanding of how they feel, and any stress they may receive because of their orientation. Remind them that it doesn't change anything. That sexuality is a sliding scale and shouldn't be used as a defining factor of a personality. Anonymous April 16th, am. Being an LGBTQ individual myself, I believe the most important thing is to let them know that you're there and accept them for who they are.