Eric Marcus

I Want to Talk to My Friends!

Filed By Eric Marcus | June 29, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: closet cases, coming out of the closet, openly gay

Dear Eric:
About five years ago I came out to three good friends of mine. Ever since then we haven't really talked about me being gay or homosexuality in general. I think that they are uncomfortable about discussing it but I'm not sure. I would like to talk about [these things] with them anyway. What should I say?
Thanks! --Silent & Unhappy About It

Dear Silent & Unhappy About It:
What would you like to talk about with your friends? Have you been censoring yourself over the past five years? If so, what sorts of things are you not telling them (about dating? your thoughts on news stories? politics?)?

I think the best approach is an organic one, which means talking about things related to your sexuality when it feels natural. So if you're dating someone and your friends ask what you did over the weekend, answer honestly and tell them what you did with your partner/boyfriend (and use the word "partner" or "boyfriend," instead of a gender neutral term like "person"). And if there are gay issues in the news that you would like to talk about, do it! For example, you could ask your friends what they think about gay people getting married in California.

Or if there's something specific you would like to discuss about your sexuality (what it was like for you growing up gay, your concerns and fears about what they think of gay people, etc.), doing so over drinks or a meal is always a good opportunity. In such a circumstance you could say: "There's something that's been on my mind since I first told you about the fact I'm gay..." You could then ask them how they feel about that fact or whether they have any questions. You could also give your friends a copy of one of my books (Is It A Choice? or What If Someone I Know Is Gay?) or any number of other books about gay issues. That's always a good conversation starter.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to write! Thanks for your e-mail. All best, Eric

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I can't imagine coming out to my best friends and then never talking about it for the next five years. It sounds to me like "Silent" needs better friends!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 30, 2008 2:31 AM

Bil, I know how you feel, as I have been many times frustrated with friends who are heterosexual. I come from the point of view that their influence in my life is very valuable. By keeping a foot in the "straight" perceptions we also don't "cocoon" ourselves into only being able to relate to other Gays.

The fact is, they often don't get it, and think that we have no unique problems. I just finished a go around with the husband of one of my Hoosier republican ladies who thinks that Gays have no special problems in the military since DADT. Yeah, I know, he doesn't get it.