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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » Getting along with homophobic friends

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Author Topic: Getting along with homophobic friends
MisterVentus
Neophyte
Member # 80110

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I came out to a group of extended friends last year and all were very positive apart from one guy who didnt seem happy.

He's stated privately that he doesn't agree with me being gay (even though I cant help it and he hasnt appreciated that being celibate is unreasonable- I suspect he thinks it's all a choice or just doesnt want to try to understand it any further)

I think he wants to be friendly cause he's defended me when some of the others weren't nice and also heard that he has tried to stop the others when a light joke about my gay sexuality behind my back got a bit too much.

Problem 1) I want to be able to go out with that group of friends more often but I'm not sure how to approach him and ask whether he'll be cool with me hanging out when I might end up doing stuff with other guys (especially if we are going to bars and clubs) such as dancing with/ possibly kissing.

Problem 2) Im also anxious about what to do if I get a boyfriend and want to introduce to the group. I dont know if its just my perception but im pretty sure he isnt the kind of guy that likes seeing guys sweettalking, being affectionate or being affectionate or romantic towards each other in general.

Problem 3) I have no idea how to try and make him understand that having a homosexual orientation isnt a choice and cant be changed. I'm guessing he believes that we are all heterosexual cause he told me once "just distract youself." He gets very touchy when the group mentions something about gaydar science (common traits of gay people) or anything of an essentialist nature, and just cuts off conversation. The rest of the group understand sexual orientation much better but like to be diplomatic and just say "cant help his views."

Problem 4) I am finding myself getting really frustated sometimes where I try to reach out to him and he cuts me off. I get that this probably isnt because he wants to be a shallow person but does feel that way sometimes. It becomes an argument sometimes. I know he probably cant help his views but can anyone give advice for me on how I can manage this better? Perhaps I just need to take things less seriously.

Thanks, MV

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Love one another as "people" rather than "male" or "female." Let your orientation guide you to the people you are attracted to and keep an open mind ;)

Posts: 2 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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The missing piece for me here that would influence my advice is if you think this person might do you or any potential boyfriends any harm.

In other words, you expressed concern about being around this person if and when you might be connecting with other guys: are you at all concerned that could result in any kind of violence or harassment from this person?

If that's not clear, are your concerns about this person at all related to concerns for your own safety?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
Activist
Member # 51804

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First things first, congratulations on coming out to your friends, that's awesome!

The first thing I would say is, I don't think you're taking things too seriously. Having a friend who doesn't accept us for who we are is pretty serious to lots of people, and there isn't anything wrong with how you're feeling about this.

The other thing I'd say is; he can help his views. If someone's not trying to understand, or is refusing to believe the evidence (like, the overwhelming evidence that sexual orientation is not chosen, at least for the majority of people); that's on them. That doesn't mean he doesn't have the right to his opinion, and to have that right respected; but if he is choosing to make that an uninformed opinion, then that is his choice, and he can help it. But the thing is, only he can help it; you can't make him change his mind.

To get to your questions, I think this is really about how important it is for you to have him as a friend, given his views; and how important it is for you to be able to be/express yourself. And only you can figure out where the line is for you.

As an example, I have a friend who isn't particularly gay-friendly. I don't actually know much about her views because we've never discussed it; she respects my right to be myself, and I respect her right to be herself. I am open about my sexuality with her around; she's never criticised me for it. This works fine for me; but some people wouldn't be okay being friends under those circumstances. If she or anyone else criticised me because of my sexuality, or tried to police my behaviour because of it; that wouldn't be okay with me. If I felt like I had to hide myself around her, or couldn't introduce a partner to my friends because of her; that wouldn't be okay for me. But for some people, it matters enough to be friends with that person that they would be okay with some or all of those things. It's a very personal thing.

Do you know where you might stand on that?

Have you talked to any of your other friends about the situation with this guy? Because with things like problem 1, it's not like this guy gets to decide who gets to hang out (unless he's organising all the stuff this group does together?). You've said they've all been very positive; do you think you could get some support from them here?

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MisterVentus
Neophyte
Member # 80110

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Thanks! [Smile] It was tough coming out but I'm glad I did cause it was a very positive experience, and made one or two ppl more aware that they should try not to make hetero assumptions about everyone.

I am very sure me or any boyfriends/ friends I bring with me who are gay won't be under any physical danger. Firstly cause it's not really in his nature to hurt or threaten ppl and the rest of the group would never forgive him if he did harass me or anyone else anyway.

I'm really just concerned about how to approach this socially. I'm not particularly good friends with that guy, but he's close to the group, most of whom I'm very close to (in fact hes sharing a flat with 4 of them). The group is roughly 15 people.

I guess you're right that he has a right to his views and cant be forced to change them.

I feel I should show respect for his views and space, by restricting the amount of times I bring up certain conversations like the gaybar I went to over summer, this guy I met who I like etc.

I think I will probably need to progress slowly at first. Ideally I just want to be able to remain open about my sexuality in all aspects even when he's with the group.

I think you're right in that I should talk to the rest of my friends first. If anything big does happen like I find a boyfriend I'll definitely talk privately to some of the other group members, so that they can mention to the guy "Just to let you know, MisterVentus(insert real name) will be bringing a boyfriend to the pub with us later on." That way he can be mentally prepared for anything major and wont act so awkward.

I'm very lucky to live in an understanding area. Hopefully I will make peace with the guy and still remain close to the group. And hopefully I will learn to just let ppl be if they dont want to try and listen and eventually stop being frustrated.

What do you think about the way Im approaching this?

[ 09-22-2011, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: MisterVentus ]

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Love one another as "people" rather than "male" or "female." Let your orientation guide you to the people you are attracted to and keep an open mind ;)

Posts: 2 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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If you are sure this person doesn't pose a danger, I say you just live your life, being as out around them as you want to be.

Respecting someone's views isn't really how I'd frame this, since I don't think anyone can have any earnest respect for bigotry, nor should they. As well you being who you are isn't disrespecting someone's views. If they don't like a part of who you are, and it's not something where you are doing harm to them -- like say, not liking that someone verbally abuses people -- then it's on them to deal with that, not you. He can always leave any situation or hangout he's uncomfortable with, after all.

I also don't think anyone needs to make any big efforts to protect him from having to deal with a group of people he has bias about. Again, his bias is just that: his bias.

One assumes that if he wants to be friends with you, he wants to be friends with <b>you</b>, the person you are, who also happens to be a person who is attracted to and loves men. If he doesn't want to be friends with that person, he gets to choose not to be.

In other words, what loststone said. [Razz]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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