After telling my sister and my parents I was gay, everyone else was going to be a piece of cake.
This wasn’t going to be some sort of event. I wasn’t about to fling open the closet doors and pronounce, “I’m here! And I’m queer!”
I was going to tell friends on an individual basis. When the timing was right, I opened up to them with the hope they would accept me for who I am.
Sometimes, I invited friends (individually) for dinner or drinks. It was nice catching up with them, and when I mustered the courage, I explained to them that I was seeing a guy in the city and things were progressing very well. Some of them knew of my budding relationship, but he was under the guise of a woman, not a man.
Over time, I eventually told all of my closest friends I was gay. Everyone was very accepting. I was worried about telling my roommates. My male roommate got very quiet. He just moved into my apt, and I was afraid I put him in an awkward situation. But, after a heart-to-heart, I realized he was more than cool with it. In fact, he begged me to let him take me to gay clubs.
I was particularly nervous telling one friend. Our friendship got off to a rocky start, but eventually we were able to get past the petty bickering. We had a really great friendship, but we never dug into the personal stuff. It just wasn’t something we shared often. I had a strong feeling he would be accepting of my lifestyle, but I was still worried he would start to get awkward around me.
He was home recovering after surgery, and I thought this was an opportune time to stop by to offer any assistance and my news. I sat in his room for an hour watching TV and talking about random b.s. Finally, I told him about my man in the city. The news was a bit of a shock to him, not because he was under the impression I was straight, but for the fact that I felt comfortable enough to share this part of my life with him.
Later while we were on vacation, we had a falling out after he shared my secret with someone he just met. I was furious at him for betraying my trust. After he refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or apologize, I stopped speaking to him for the remainder of the trip and the week following. Things were very uncomfortable. When he finally came to me to apologize, we had a very adult conversation about the whole issue.
He said something to me that I will never forget (made me realize I was a large part of the problem). He said, “You have to understand. I don’t see you as my gay friend. You are a friend who happens to be gay.”
Of course, I couldn’t be mad at him after that. Regardless of this fight, our friendship grew since I shared my news with him. His comment made me realize I can’t burden my friends with my secret just so I don’t have to bear the load myself. No one else is going to be comfortable accepting of my homosexuality until I was.
From that moment on, I fully accepted who I was and was no longer ashamed of being a gay man.