I’ve only been out a year and some change. I’m in my early thirties and I’m enjoying my life along with all the trial and error that Second Adolescence contains.
Coming out later in life has afforded me the benefit of developing multiple friendships (some decades long) prior to coming out, with straight men.
Some of my closest straight male friends support were foundational when I found myself in that unfamiliar terrain of the land of full embrace of my emotional, relational and sexual capacity; planting my effervescent Queer flag unashamedly in the ground and letting the whole world know.
It was a huge benefit for me to have these straight friends; who exuded male presence, and emotional and physical (simple touch, embrace, pat on the back ,or a shoulder to cry on, etc) affirmation outside of the realm of possibility for sexual reciprocity.
This was huge.
In this nearness, in this brotherhood, I developed a healthy bond and attachment for something that I was naturally inclined to; yet out of necessity was forced repeatedly to refocus into proper expectation and genuine appreciation for what was.
I think this is important to have even now that I’m out because it puts things in perspective.
When I pursue (or am pursued by someone) for a relationship, dating or hook up, I may encounter perceived failure, or sexual frustration, or loneliness.
Having the emotional support of a straight male friend has always been the one constant in all the myriad variables of the sex and dating life that I’ve encountered.
My straight male friends listen to my venting, or are there for me when I’ve cried over a broken heart, or cracked jokes when I needed humor to remind me not take life so seriously.
It works both ways too.
My straight male friends have told me often of how my coming out has helped them sympathize more with an experience and world view that was altogether baffling and alien to them.
Where they once may have mocked or belittled the narrative of a queer person, here they had one in real life flesh and blood that they cared for.
Many of my gay friends who have been out significantly longer than I have shared that they don’t have many straight male friends, if at all.
That their experiences with straight men have been either non existent, minimal, or problematic for differing reasons.
They find themselves forming and maintaining mostly gay friendships.
Nothing is wrong with this.
It’s something I quite envy because in my own gaybie status I have found gay friendships to be elusive.
Ever since I came out, almost every gay male I’ve encountered has subconsciously registered in my mind as a potential romantic partner.
But gay friendships are so important.
They help keep things in perspective too.
I hope as the years go on, like maybe after this second year of being out is complete, I’ll have more gay friendships on my roster.
For my gay friends who don’t have many or any straight male friends I simply ask to consider the benefits of having them in your life.
A male presence that helps keep things in perspective; that grounds when needed and that has the mutual benefit of life education for the heterosexual.
One last thing. Imagine how the narrative around advocacy for Queer people, and push back against homophobia would be bolstered if there were more of a connect between straight and queer communities via interpersonal friendships?
Yeah I see it too.
It’s a good thing ya’ll I swear. Lets make more of it happen.