I love my friend but he acts too gay sometimes. When we go out in public there are instances when I feel slightly embarrassed by his behavior. Especially, when we are around my family who are still warming up to the fact I’m gay. I don’t know if I should say something to him or just bite my tongue. I know saying something may hurt his feelings, and I don’t want to do that. However, I wish he would tone it down a bit. I look forward to hearing what you think I should do.
Dear Lucky Lyon,
Thanks for writing to me. I would like to help you with this issue by addressing the two perspectives in play here. First, the perspective of your friend. When a man is able to come to grips with his gay sexual identity, he usually feels this sense of freedom and liberation. He finally feels he can live his life the way he wants to. And I’ve always said what gay means to me, may not mean the same for someone else. In terms of you and your friend, it sounds like your definitions of gay differ, as his gay embodies more flamboyancy than yours. You have to realize that this difference is perfectly okay. If you love him as your friend, and love all of him, then it’s not your job to stifle his individuality.
On the other hand, I believe grown men, regardless of sexual preference, should be aware of their audience. Sometimes you can’t behave the same around everybody. For example, I may drop the occasional curse word during conversation with my friends at home, but I would never do such in the company of clergymen at church. And even though I may twerk a little something to the beats of Beyoncé in the club, I won’t do that in front my grandma and mom at the family cookout. Again, it’s about being aware of my audience. So while I don’t have details on what your friend is exactly doing in front of your family, it sounds like he may not care about changing up his behavior for his audience. Oh and before someone interprets this as me telling someone to be fake, let me be clear that I’m doing no such thing. I’m just saying, that like with poker, you don’t show all your cards at once!
Going forward here are my suggestions.
- Again, I’m not sure what your friend is doing around your family, but if it is making your family uncomfortable, you have the right as his friend to speak with him. Explain to your friend how much you love him for him, but would love if he could respect your family not totally being okay with the gay lifestyle quite yet.
- While gay means different things for different homosexual men, I just want to emphasize the importance of you being comfortable in your skin. I would hate to think the real issue you are having, is that your friend’s actions make you realize how uncomfortable still you are with being gay. Should that be the case however, no biggie! Just means you have some more phases of acceptance to go through. Self-acceptance is a journey and takes time.
As always nothing but love,