What to do if your best mate comes out?
So your best mate tells you they are gay… ok, so this might be a complete shock to you, or you may have had an idea for some time now. In reality though – nothing has changed. They are still just your mate – as they were five minutes before they told you this new bit of information about themselves. But how are you going to react?
At the moment, for lads especially this seems to be a difficult situation. Young men tend to be far more insecure about their sexuality than girls tend to be. Many young men think that somehow if they remain friends with someone who is gay then everyone will assume that they must be gay too – that somehow gayness is catching! To find out more about the different attitudes to guys and girls read this…
Think about things from their point of view. In reality your mate has taken a huge risk and obviously trusts you and thinks a lot of you to have been able to open up and let you in on this secret. They must see you as a real friend, so act like one. They are looking for reassurance from you – hoping you will understand and not reject them.
And yes it may be a bit of a shock – but they were either worth having as a mate or they weren’t – how much of a difference does who they fancy make?
If anything they are going to need you to just carry on as normal and help support them as they prepare to tell their family or even to come out to everyone at school or college. What you tend to find is that if someone’s mates aren’t phased by them coming out – everyone else tends to be more accepting. However, if their nearest and dearest turn their backs on them – you’re often leaving them open to abuse from everyone else.
Remember this is not about you. This is about them. So step up and be a friend. But this doesn’t just stop with your friend – help others too. Take positive action to change the attitudes of other people around you too! It is not only your mate that needs support. Speak up… but read this first…
Organisations that can help
© Going off the Rails 2012. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt