friendship

Unsupportive Friends

Dear T,

This past weekend I came out to my two male best friends.  After I watched Iyanla on TV this past weekend, I realized that I was tired of not being able to be me all the time.  So I invited them out for drinks at TGI Fridays, and just told them.  My one friend seemed to be cool with it.  He said he didn’t understand why I like men, but he also said he is my friend regardless.  Yet, he doesn’t want to hear about my personal life in that regard.  Now my other friend, was definitely not okay with me being gay.  He accused me of being a fake and a liar.  And he then told me he wasn’t with this gay shit and didn’t know how to continue being my friend if he doesn’t support homosexuality.  With all that said, I come to you wanting to know what to do with my friendships?  I’ve known them both for over ten years and don’t really want to lose them as friends, but I want to be free to be me.

Thanks for the advice,

Finally Me

Dear Finally Me,

Thanks for writing to me.  A big congrats to you for removing the “mask,” and showing the real you to your friends.  That’s not an easy thing to do.  Trust me I know from personal experience.  Making the decision to come out to those close to you takes a lot of courage.  I remember the day when I told my heterosexual male friends I liked men, I was a nervous wreck.  However, I said a prayer and dug deep down internally to find some strength, and I just told them.  And once I made that confession, felt so free.  Like a huge burden had been lifted.  So again, congrats.

When people step out of the closet, they hope their family and/or friends will embrace them.  The newly liberated gay men and women hope those close to them will declare their unwavering love and support for their homosexual identity.  Unfortunately, that’s not always the case and never will be.  I might sound like a bit of a pessimist to some, but I’m a realist in this regard.  Somebody will always have an opinion about who you lay your head next to at night.  Your situation proves my point.

With your situation, I honestly feel it requires time.  Your one friend said he is your friend regardless, and that’s great news.  While he said he doesn’t understand your attraction, and doesn’t want you talking about your dating life, overall it sounds as if he is trying to have your back like a true friend.  However, I want you to know that your sexual preference is not necessarily something anyone that loves you needs to understand per say.  Your bestie just needs to know you love like he loves, and desire like he desires.  The only difference is you like peen and he likes “vageen.” LOL.  Oh and let’s be honest, you probably rather not talk about your romantic life with heterosexual men anyway.  I know for me it would be slightly awkward.

This other friend of yours is where the time really will be required if you wish to keep this friendship intact.  It may come as a shock to you and others that read this, but I actually agree with him to a degree in terms of calling you a liar.  I was also called a liar by a friend of mine when I came out, and I realized that I did lie to him.   I led him to believe that I desired to be with women, and that wasn’t the case.  However, I also lied to myself for years because I refused to accept my homosexuality.  If my story is reflective of your own in any regard, than you can probably see your friend’s point.

Now your friend is extremely out of line saying he’s not with this “gay sh*t.”  I’m sure that was hurtful for you to hear.  And that comment probably has less to do with a lie told, and more to do with a deep rooted sense of homophobia.  More than likely, he has had limited interaction with the gay community and bought into the outlandish myths about gay men, which is feeding his “hatred.”  In addition, I assume he is thinking how you being gay will make him look to others.  Regardless of the reasoning, if you want this friendship to continue to work you are going to have to give him time to process this and figure out the value of your friendship.  If he is your true friend, he will eventually come around wanting you back in his life and attempt to accept you.  Also, if, hopefully when he reaches out to you, explain who you are and debunk any myths if you can.

Going forward here are my usual suggestions.

  1. If you want to attempt to save your relationship with your friends, then you are going to have to talk to them again at some point. This time you have to do what I always say, Explain what being gay means to you.
  1. Don’t allow anyone to shame you back into the closet.
  1. Don’t allow your loyalty to the friendship to take you to a place where you allow a friend’s homophobia a pass.

As always nothing but love,

T.

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