Skip to main content

Is he gay? and other questions that hinder a coming-out party.

Share |
Meyli asks:

I guess I'll just jump right in to it! My boyfriend recently broke up with me, and confided in me that it was because lately, he's been seriously questioning his sexuality. I completely support him, I still care about him, and I want to help him find out, because I can't stand seeing him so confused and helpless (that's what he said he felt like). So problem #1 is, how can I be there for him? The past week, he's been very down, his head hurts from thinking, and every time I see him, he looks lost. He's not sure how attracted he really is to other guys, mostly because we live in a small town, and he's never had a relationship with a guy before. We've talked a lot, and spent a couple days after school just sitting, and me just putting my arms around him for a while. I don't know what else I can do for him.

Jhames replies:

Meyli's question continued: Last night, he went out with a couple guy friends, and they went to a fastfood place for dinner. One of the workers, a middle-aged man, touched him (can I say he grabbed his ass?) innapropriately. He was really freaked out by that, obviously anyone would be. It was a stranger, and he didn't do anything to provoke being touched. My friend isn't sure what to think now, but he is very confused why this happened, and feels really uncomfortable. Basically, he's been sitting in his room all morning, curled in a ball, trying to know how to react to this. I think this event might be messing with his mind, and his thoughts about being gay, or bi, or not (along with the feeling of being violated, like anyone else would).

I feel really angry at this stranger, and wish I'd been there to see what happened. How can I make my friend feel less violated and uncomfortable? Thank you so much for the help and advice, this site's been a big help for a lot of things!

In many cities across the United States, LGBTQQ communities are celebrating Pride. This event brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate and accept diversity. When I attended my first Pride event some 20 years ago (that was slightly painful to type), it was novel to see families supporting gay rights. Fast-forward to the present and you've got entire families attending Pride marches like they were theme parks and everyone's going home with House of Gaga accessories.

If your ex-boyfriend wanted to feel any sort of camaraderie or support for his questioning sexuality, Pride is that oasis of sisterhood— brotherhood if he's more the butch role. For the rest of the year when Pride events are not plentiful, the best support your ex can receive is what you are able to offer him: compassion, acceptance, and love.

I hate to keep using the word ex-boyfriend, it feels like I'm driving home a painful reminder of the past and I'm sure you'll start to think, "ALL RIGHT ALREADY! I GET IT!" So let's call him Ryan. Everyone knows someone named Ryan and that name makes me think of a calm, nice man.

Ryan doesn't have to label himself gay, it's perfectly all right for him to identify as a gay man. Until he actually wants to pursue, actively pursues or engages in a sexual or romantic relationship with another man, there's no point in having to define himself for everybody's general well-being.

In the interim, however, there is the Internet. And if you live in a small town, you appreciate the ability to extend your horizons beyond where you live. I would tell Ryan to search far and wide on the web for sites created for and catering to gay men andor queer youth. Chances are, Ryan could meet another nice guy (like himself) and develop friendships that help him understand himself and his place in the world.

While Ryan invests in this vision quest of sorts, you are hereby ordered to live your life to its fullest extent. You tell Ryan that you are there as a friend when he needs one. But. It's time for both of you to spread your wings and fly. The guy that grabbed Ryan's ass? Ryan will need to learn how to stand up for himself and tell this stranger, "Don't touch me like that again." I'm not talking about Ryan having to play some gender-defined machismo role, I mean he's got to learn how to verbally address his comfort zones and boundaries with other people, something we all have to do no matter what our orientation is. And you have a life of your own to live! Meet a new guy! Fall in love! Make out with somebody under the cover of a tree during a rainstorm! Seriously, that's a good time right there.

In other words, I don't want you to take on Ryan's issues. By all means, be there as a friend but not as a knight in shining armor or whatever you young folks are wearing nowadays. When Ryan is ready to someday take part in Pride, be there on the sidelines to cheer him on. That's the best thing you can do as a friend.

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.