So you’ve officially made it into the “straight friend of a gay/bisexual” boy zone. He doesn’t make you uncomfortable. If you’re a guy you are perfectly secure with your sexuality and being around him causes you no trouble because you know what you like, and if you’re a girl you can relate to him better than anyone else and you love the light he brings into your life. You guys have some of the best of times and you can see yourself being friends with this person for life possibly, but you cant help but come across those awkward moments. Those questions you have about their sexuality. Those almost homophobic comments you make in private or around other straight people. These moments whether your gay/bisexual friend reacts to them are not can be detrimental to a friendship and have a long lasting impact to a gay/bisexual boys self esteem, so here are some do’s and dont’s of how to be a straight friend
1.) Don’t ask them when they decided to be gay
The answer to this will always be never. Nobody sits down and decides “Today is the day. Homosexuality here I come.” You are born this way. This is science. Some people have confused not coming to terms with who they have always been until they became a teenager or adult with “choosing” but that is wrong. Much like how you never chose to be straight you just always have been your friend did not choose to be gay, and they hear those questions enough from people who are not their friends so don’t make them have to go through it with you.
2.) Guys. Don’t assume they want you.
If you are a guy and a man who is not straight is friends with you more than likely they are friends with you for a reason. Yes a SMALL amount of gay and bi men do befriend guys they have crushes on, but for the most part if you are someones friend and they haven’t even made a slight advance on you there is a reason for that. They are not attracted to you sexually and see you as what you guys are. Friends. A common misconception about men who are not straight is that they are attracted to every guy they see and that is a lie. Just like you do with girls gay men have standards and more than likely if you’re their friend you don’t fit their standards to be a significant other. Don’t be afraid to show them emotion for this same reason. You are their friend. You can hug them, compliment them, and show affection towards them publicly without worrying “Do they like this? Am I gay for this?” If you know you are straight and you know they are your friend that is all you need to know.
3.) Girls. Don’t treat your gay friend like a campy stereotype.
Yes. I know media likes to represent all gay men as overtly feminine, obsessed with hair, nails, and fashion, and sassy as anything, but that’s actually a very disrespectful stereotype. Most gay men are annoyed at how we are represented in media and even more annoyed when our real life friends treat us more like TV characters , and hair stylists, and fashion designers than friends (especially when y’all talk to us in that really awkward “hey girl” overdone AAVE that you assume is gay slang). Some femmes do enjoy all of these things and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but don’t assume your gay friend is going to be an accessory for you to tote around while you go shopping and throw shade with on social media to other girls you don’t like as if they are an attack dog. We are human beings with feelings and personalities. Not Glee characters.
4.) Don’t ignore or invalidate their feelings on oppression.
Being gay/bi comes with a hefty toll on your emotional and mental health in society because regardless of the progress we are making in 2016 homophobia is a lot more popular than acceptance (especially off the internet), so a lot of men who are not straight are very invested in the social issues around their sexuality and the struggles they face. No every gay person is not liberal, and you shouldn’t expect them all to be, but you should be prepared for it if they are and respect their feelings on oppression. Don’t tell them its not that serious, or tune them out when they start to bring up what they face as a man who is not heterosexual. Listen and learn from what they have to say so that you can be a better friend to them and a better ally to the movement.
5.) Dont let other people be homophobic, especially around your friend
This is a last but not least because I can’t stress this enough. When you become friends with a guy who is not straight it is your responsibility to not allow homophobia/biphobia about or towards your friend to continue. If you sit by and don’t correct people for disrespecting your friend you’re showing people that what they are saying is okay and that you either agree with what they say or you do not see a problem with what they are saying. Any “straight friend” of a gay person who allows or agrees with homophobia towards them is not a friend at all, and regardless of what your gay friend may say I am 100% sure they are not okay with you not defending them, so please don’t let this happen ever because this is how you will lose a friend and also lose respect from people on the outside looking in.
You don’t have to be a woke god when it comes to having a gay/bi friend. You don’t have to know all the right things to say, and you don’t have to be so afraid to say the wrong things that you don’t even want to say anything around them half the time. You are a human and you are going make mistakes as a straight friend, don’t be afraid of that. Just understand that your gay/bi friend doesn’t have to respond to you nicely about it, but we also know how it feels to not be apart of something and not completely understand it. These things take time but the most basic concept of having a gay/bi friend is respect, understanding, and an open mind. Be ready to offend someone along the way but be willing to listen to them so you can learn how and why you should not do it again. The key to a great friendship with anyone who isn’t straight is shutting up and hearing them out when they speak on things, because no matter how many gay friends or relatives you may have you are straight so you will never truly 100% get how it feels to be us and the best way to be an ally is let the person you are standing behind raise their voice.