Meeting Your First Gay Friend

It’s no secret that growing up gay can be a lonely experience. At times, many gay men feel as though they’re the only ones experiencing certain thoughts and feelings, ones that society still often deems abnormal. So when a gay man first bonds with someone else who identifies as gay or queer, it’s inevitably a total lightning bolt moment. One’s first LGBTQ friendship is often super-intense; in fact, that person can become just as important as a first romantic partner.

I’m no longer close with my first gay friend, James, because we’re very different people now. That happens to us all, of course. But I still remember clumsily coming out to him after a Le Tigre concert and him saying, „I think I’m gay, too.“ In the months that followed, we weren’t always as kind to one another as we should have been, but we absolutely helped each other to accept our sexuality. Whenever our paths cross now—most recently, on a dating app, because of course—I feel a pang of nostalgia for my awkward teenage self, as well as enormous gratitude that he was there.

LGBTQ friendship comes in many forms, each one as real and urgent as the others. Oftentimes, these people become de facto family, in place of those who can’t or won’t support properly. Here, in their own words, are three men’s stories of their first queer friendships.

When I first saw Alex in the smoking area at my new college, I was like, „Oh my God, who is that?“ He was hot—I think everyone thought so—but I didn’t think he was gay. Then we started chatting and he said „I’m gay“ in the most offhand way. At this point I was still closeted and had a girlfriend, so seeing someone so self-assured and confident about their sexuality was a big deal. I found it empowering, and it made me feel less alone.

I guess Alex was a really good marker for me in terms of coming out and owning my sexuality. And he always supported me. He didn’t instill a sense of internalized homophobia in me, which was important because I was a campy gay guy who’d always been teased for being campy. Alex welcomed and encouraged that side of my personality, which was really affirming. He also introduced me to RuPaul’s Drag Race during, like, season two—back then, it was a pretty niche show, so he was ahead of the curve. He was so confident about eschewing gender norms and stanning certain queens. He didn’t care what anyone else thought and that influence really helped me get my life.

I’ve known him for 11 years now and he’s been a very loyal friend. He can be a little shit sometimes, but he’s always had my back and lifted me up. He challenges me and puts me in situations I’d never put myself in otherwise. I think part of the beauty of queer friendship is that it can kind of develop into family, and that’s definitely what me and Alex feel like now.

I came out as bi in early 2015. I’m married so it wasn’t about finding a partner; it was about not lying any more. I met Charlie on Twitter about 18 months later. He’s a transgender man who came out at roughly the same time as me. His journey was definitely different to mine, but we had a lot of common ground. We’re both married and came out in our thirties, and we were both kind of struggling with navigating those next steps.

Our emails and texts became a support group of sorts. I was trying to comprehend my new identity so every new feeling brought a sense of „Oh god, what does that mean?“ It was a scary time, but having Charlie there to discuss it all with, free from judgment, helped me look at things more rationally. It’s a simple thing, but just hearing „I know what you mean“ was like gold dust. It still is—if one of us is having a hard time, we still exchange 1,000-word emails at 2 a.m.

We met in person a few months after meeting online, and I was surprised how immediately we were comfortable with each other. I have a fond memory of showing him a picture of me at 20 years old, when I had bleached blond hair and was living on Christopher Street in New York, literally a few doors away from the Stonewall Inn. Charlie just laughed and said, „Oh darling, how did anyone ever think you were straight?“ It was an affectionate joke but one that meant the world to me. After three decades of not feeling like I fit in anywhere, this little moment of acknowledgement from another LGBTQ person meant a lot.

Since then I’ve met other bi people at Pride events, but Charlie’s still my closest „queer peer.“ He gave me the permission to be myself when I didn’t even know who that was.

I grew up in a small conservative town and didn’t know anyone gay at school, so I met my first gay friends through social media. Dean was the first one who lived relatively close to me, so we started hanging out on the weekend. Dean came from a similar town and I think we both felt delayed in a way. We hadn’t had those typical teenage conversations about boys or girls that everyone else had, so we hit it off instantly. We’d just spend time doing all the normal teenage friend stuff we’d missed out on.

I can still remember when Dean told me they’d found a lump on his side. I was scared, but thought, It’s going to be fine. It can’t be worst-case scenario. I’d never known anyone with cancer before, so I didn’t know much about the process. Dean would trial a treatment, it would look like it was working, then they’d realize it wasn’t. In the last month or so, he declined really quickly.

At the end he was in a hospital close to his parents, so me and his boyfriend Josh would take the train to see him whenever we could. The last time was two days before he died. He wasn’t supposed to go outside, but he insisted we take him down to the sea in his wheelchair. I remember there was a whole double rainbow across the bay, which felt perfect.

Dean died last December and it’s taken a while to sink in. I’d go to text him, get halfway through the text, then remember. We knew each other for about five years and he had a huge impact on my life. Now, I’m lucky to have a circle of amazing queer friends, but the friendship I had with Dean, I’ll never get with anyone else. He was the first real friend I’d ever had, and I’ll always be grateful for him.

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How to Find Your Gay Best Friend

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If the hit 90s TV show, “Will and Grace” was one of your favorites, you may be yearning for that perfect gay best friend (GBF). The friend who, aside from being totally hot, knows you like the back of their hand, offering sage insightful advice and is always there to help you pick up the pieces after a dating disaster.

This stereotype has caused people to start looking for their own GBFs, and caused some gay men to feel pressured to fit themselves into that box. However, a real friendship is built on mutual caring, so here’s how to find a best friend instead of a decorative accessory.

How to Find Your Gay Best Friend

How to Have a Gay Friend

This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow’s Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 84,398 times. Learn more…

Are you looking for a new gay or lesbian friend? Perhaps you have always wanted a gay friend or maybe you just want to meet other gay and lesbian people like you. Or did you just find out that your friend is attracted to the same sex and you are unsure how you feel about that? Whether you are looking for a new gay or lesbian friend or you are trying to come to terms with the an existing friend’s sexuality, there are clear and easy ways of doing these things.

How to Have a Gay Friend

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Gays and Friends

Wir bieten Musik für jeden Geschmack: von House über Gay-Classics bis hin zu aktuellen Hits. Und natürlich bleibt noch jede Menge Platz zum Klönen, Flirten und Spaß haben. Ein Termin, der fest in jede schwule, lesbische und bisexuelle Freizeitplanung gehört.

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Wir bieten Musik für jeden Geschmack: von House über Gay-Classics bis hin zu aktuellen Hits. Und natürlich bleibt noch jede Menge Platz zum Klönen, Flirten und Spaß haben. Ein Termin, der fest in jede schwule, lesbische und bisexuelle Freizeitplanung gehört.

In der kleinen Halle gibt es ab 23.30 Uhr House und Electropop mit AK Armin zu hören!

Gays and Friends

When You Have No Gay Friends

Some gay men find that they have trouble making friends with guys after they come out. Making new friends with women is easy, but when it comes to approaching a guy, it’s close to impossible to start a conversation. Thus, it is not possible to meet new guys and even a possible relationship. What has gone wrong and how can you correct it?

First, there’s nothing wrong with having a troop full of females. BFF’s come in a variety of packages. If you have ‚em, flaunt ‚em. The problem is that chilling with the girls leaves little room to meet men. They keep you occupied, you keep them occupied. And, in all likelihood, none of you have a special man in your life.

What to Do About Fear

Here’s the deal: I, too, have always had a fear of meeting gay men. Put me in a room full of women and I’ll charm their pants off (not literally, but you get the point.) Surprisingly, I can even hang deep with the straight dudes. We can box, lift weights, get greasy working on cars, watch a college ball game. All I need is some wings and a beer and I’m in frat heaven.

Now, place me in a room full of gays and I lock up like a transmission without fluid. I’ve thought about this extensively. What is it with me and the gay dudes?

Then it hit me like a home run: My girls don’t judge me, they encourage me (well, except for that one hater). My straight guys are easy to get along with because all they talk about are girls (which I know about since that’s who I hang with) and dumb straight boy stuff (which I find mildly entertaining). But, the gays are the gays. A room full of ‚mos is like a tank full of potential dates, husbands, and friends. Set aside the fact that, despite our sexuality, we’re all men and men like to mark their territory (be that another man or just the room in general), so there is a lot of funky energy going on.

Finding Gay Social Events

Enter a gay social event and some are cruising, some boozin‘, others schmoozing. It’s like a free for all. I lock up because I like to know what to expect. And, in a room full of gays it’s difficult to know what’s going to happen (or not happen). Inevitably, I clam and revert to my introverted half.

Fret not, we are not lost causes here. It takes practice. If your comfort lies with the girls, that’s why you have no problem being in the Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants. But, if it makes you uncomfortable you should probably try it on. It is through this discomfort that our brains are trained into comfort. By actively seeking out the discomfort, the anxiety and tension lessen and eventually, the action becomes comfortable. Get it?So, get those girls of yours to go out to the gay bar with you or to a social event at the LGBT Center or to the PG-13 bookstore or Bed, Bath & Beyond. This time, instead of focusing on them, make it a point to start a conversation or flirt a little with at least one boy. It’s going to be extremely uncomfortable and your crew will probably giggle, but eventually, you’ll strike gay gold and meet someone cool. 

Heterosexual and gay men can heal and grow as a result of their friendships.

I recently finished reading Dr. Robert Garfield’s terrific new book, Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of , and last week participated in a joint interview with him by Dr. Dan Gottlieb on WHYY (National Public Radio) in Philadelphia. This all got me thinking about my own friendships and those of my gay male clients. The bonds between gay men and straight women have been written about and featured in popular media (i.e. Sex in the City, Will and Grace), though a lot less has been said about how gay and straight men recognize and negotiate the distinct challenges, complications, and rewards of their friendships.

According to Garfield, among the many obstacles to male-male platonic fear of homosexuality looms large. Straight men fret that if they get too close, others will see them as gay; which in their minds means feminine (horrors!), weak, and perverted. Perhaps even scarier is that their emotional connections will somehow morph into sexual attraction. Interestingly, in the U.S., before there was such a thing as a gay identity, some straight men would, with little shame, engage in sexual contact with other men (usually allowing themselves to be fellated) when female partners were otherwise unavailable (see George Chauncey’s seminal book, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940) and there is good reason to believe this still occurs in other countries and cultures. But then, in the U.S. in the mid 20th century this behavior became associated with gay identity, new at the time and seen as criminal and then sick. As a result of this behavior-identity link, sexual congress between gay and straight men decreased considerably, or at least went underground.

Gay men have suffered physical, social, and psychological abuse at the hands of heterosexually identified males who, thanks to homophobia and heterosexism, felt fully justified in inflicting these terrors. Further, male sexuality has traditionally been viewed as predatory and uncontrollable, which some men have used to rationalize the sexual harassment and assault of women. Stories, both real and fictitious, about prison rape among male inmates further reinforce the myth that men are unable to rein in their aggressive sexual tendencies. So it’s no wonder hetero men would fear homosexuality and gay men in particular.

This legacy of violence, both physical and psychological, inflicted by straight men toward those of us who are gay naturally fuels our caution and distrust at the thought of befriending them. In his book, Garfield describes the stiff hugs he would receive from a gay friend. Fortunately, Garfield is all about talking such things out—good medicine for those among us who are the strong, silent, swallow-your-feelings-until-you-die-of-a-heart-attack type of guys. As it turns out, the gay friend worried that if he hugged too closely his friend would think he was coming on to him. A straight friend of mine once complained that I don’t give him full body hugs, but instead grab his shoulders keeping my pelvis far from his, thus creating a posture that looks like the letter A. I realized I was doing everything I could to keep my genital area from touching his body. However, my partial embrace left my friend feeling as if I were withholding emotionally. After discussing this, we now fully hug. I am reassured he will not misinterpret any contact between our lower bodies, and he understands my need for this reassurance.

Few things can be a more soothing balm for us gay guys than a close friendship with a heterosexual man. Acceptance and, yes, love, from a guy who is not interested in us sexually but accepts our sexuality can begin to heal the abuse we have experienced from our fathers, bullying peers, and society at large. For the straight guy, friendship with a gay man offers the opportunity to learn important lessons about masculinity, male identity, sexual orientation, and diversity. Thus there is significant payoff for both parties.

But how do we deal with the possible sexual tensions that might come up? What if sexual feelings do emerge, or are already there? First, there is no need to panic. Part of being a mature adult is coming to the sad realization that we are not going to be able to have sexual relationships with everyone who floats our boat. Often these sexual feelings, when not acted upon, can actually fuel affection and intimacy. On the flip side, all adults—male, female, LGBT or otherwise—need to find polite but firm, unambiguous ways to respond to unwanted romantic and sexual invitations.

The trick is not to fear these attractions, or feel ashamed of them, even if they are unrequited. My first glimpse of my straight male friend (the one who complained about my hugging) was in the locker room at a local gym. He is 6’4”, handsome and muscular, and yes, I was physically attracted to him; in some ways, I still am. Now that we are good friends, he and I, along with his wife and my husband, can joke about his eye-candy status without anyone feeling anxious, fearful, or threatened. He is beautiful inside and out, which is why I like him so much.

Granted, if you fall deeply in love with a man who is sexually unavailable, straight or otherwise, and you can’t be around this person without your frustrated wishes for romance interfering with your enjoyment of his company, call it quits. However, it might be a good idea to hang in there, at least for a while, to see what develops. As the quote goes: You can never have too many friends—and friendships between gay and straight guys can be healing and uniquely satisfying for all involved.

Gays and Friends – PreParty

Gays and Friends – jeder 4. Freitag im Monat: Zur Gays and Friends-Party in der Trauma, der größten LGBTIQ*-Veranstaltung im Land, haben wir ein Superangebot: Ihr glüht im Birdcage vor und könnt anschließend kostenlos mit einem Großraum-Taxi zur Trauma fahren.

HINWEIS: Aufgrund der aktuellen Corona-Situation ist unser Shuttle-Service momentan ausgesetzt.

A safe bet

At first glance, this explanation may seem quite counterintuitive. (After all, straight women and gay men don’t mate with one another.)

However, this is precisely the reasoning behind my approach. Because gay men don’t mate with women – or compete with them for mates – women feel a certain level of comfort with gay men, and the process of forming a close friendship can occur relatively quickly. With heterosexual men (who, by definition, are sexually attracted to women), the process is longer – and potentially more fraught – because men may be grappling with their own sexual impulses.

In other words, because gay men are attracted to their own gender, they’re a “safe bet” for women – at least, from a sociobiological standpoint.

About three years ago, I initially tested this theory in a series of experiments that have served as the foundation of my research program on gay-straight relationships.

In these experiments, straight female participants were shown fictitious Facebook profiles depicting either a straight woman, straight man or gay man. The female participants were then asked how likely they would be to trust the individual’s dating advice.

I also recruited gay male participants, and had them complete the same task (with the gay men viewing Facebook profiles depicting a straight female, gay male or lesbian female).

The experiments, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, demonstrated that straight women and gay men perceived one another to be trustworthy sources of relationship and dating advice. In other words, when it came to dating-related matters, there was an almost instantaneous level of implicit trust.

Still, more needed to be done to support the hypothesis.

Cracking the why and when

Recently, my colleagues and I at the University of Texas at Arlington developed a series of four related studies.

We titled the four studies “Why (and When) Straight Women Trust Gay Men: Ulterior Mating Motives and Female Competition,” with the hope of better establishing why straight women trust gay men and when straight women would be most likely to seek out gay men for friendship and guidance.

For the first study, I wanted to replicate the finding that women trust gay men more than straight men or straight women. This time, however, I wanted to see if women would only trust gay men’s dating-related advice as opposed to other types of advice.

It turns out straight women only trusted a gay man’s advice about a potential boyfriend more than the same advice from, say, a straight man or another straight woman. In other words, it’s not like straight women totally trusted gay men on all matters. It really only had to do with one thing: dating and relationships.

To further examine why this might be the case, we had women imagine receiving information from either a straight woman, straight man, or a gay man about their physical appearance and the dateability of potential boyfriends. We then asked the women how sincere they felt the responses were.

As expected, the female subjects seemed to perceive the judgments coming from the gay man to be more sincere because they knew that he wouldn’t have any ulterior motives – whether that meant wooing the subject (which they might suspect of straight men) or competing for the same romantic partner (straight women).

For the final two studies, we wanted to figure out when women were most likely to befriend and place their trust in gay men. We predicted that this would most often occur in highly competitive dating environments, where a trustworthy source like a gay friend would be valued by women jockeying with one another for a boyfriend.

To test this, we created a fake news article that detailed extremely skewed sex ratios, indicating that women in college were competing over a very small pool of men. We had women read this news article and then indicate how much they would trust a straight woman or a gay man in various dating-related scenarios.

When women read the news article about the increased competition, their trust in gay men was amplified. Not only were women more apt to trust gay men under this condition, but we also found that they became more willing to make gay male friends.

Beyond dating advice

The downside is that if a straight woman values her gay male friends only for dating advice, the relationship could become quite superficial (see Chris Riotta’s essay “I’m Gay, Not Your Accessory”).

However, the strong trust that women initially form with gay men can serve as a primer; eventually, this trust could extend to other areas, with the friendship blossoming over time.

Other findings – combined with our own – show that there seems to be an extremely strong psychological underpinning for why women are so drawn to gay men.

For instance, a recent study in the Journal of Business and Psychology revealed that straight women tend to hire gay men over other heterosexual individuals because they perceive gay men to be more competent and warmer. Furthermore, marketing researchers have suggested that straight women prefer to work with gay male sales associates over others in consumer retail settings.

These two findings alone could have many positive implications for gay men in the workplace. Because many women seem to value input and contributions of gay men in these settings, it’s likely that we’ll see a more inclusive workplace environment for gay men.

Although much of this research focuses on why women are drawn to friendships with gay men, another obvious avenue of exploration is whether or not gay men are similarly keen to form friendships with straight women.

Unfortunately, there’s been very little research on this. However, it’s possible that gay men connect with straight women for some of the same reasons. For example, in a study I conducted in 2013, I found that gay men also look to women for trustworthy dating advice or tips for finding a prospective boyfriend. Other researchers have suggested that gay men value the positive attitudes towards homosexuality that women tend to have (relative to straight men).

In this case, the implicit trust seems to be a two-way street.

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Not in the mood for another sad, gay movie?

There are a lot of important gay movies that don’t have the happiest endings for gay characters, especially when those movies try to tackle important topics like homophobia or the HIV/AIDS crisis. Still, it can feel a little depressing when you keep seeing the same Bury Your Gays trope played out over and over again. It’s also important to see happy reflections of gay life in media. If you’re just in the movie for a fun film with a happily ever after ending, check out these 11 movies!

7) Latter Days

Latter Days is full of ridiculous rom-com tropes, but this movie about a gay party boy and his closeted Mormon missionary neighbor falling in love is fun to watch. While there’s definitely some heartbreak, the movie ultimately has an uplifting ending. 

8) Touch of Pink

Sometimes you just need some good romantic comedy fluff. Touch of Pink never takes itself too seriously (see: Kyle MacLachlan playing the ghost of Cary Grant), which makes it a fun, endearing film. Alim movies to London to get away from his conservative family. When he comes out to his mother and faces problems with his boyfriend Giles the ghost of Cary Grant gives him advice that often seems to do more harm than good. 

10) Big Eden

This 2000 romantic comedy follows Henry Hart, a New York City artist who returns to his rural hometown in Montana to take care of his grandfather. The townsfolk welcome Henry back and are accepting of his sexuality. Henry has to confront his unresolved feelings for his high school friend Dean Stewart, but he’s oblivious to the feelings of Pike Dexter, the Native American owner of the town’s general store. While films about rural gay life often focus on hardships, Big Eden is unique. The entire film is devoid of homophobia. 

11) Love, Simon

The groundbreaking 2018 film (based off of Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) follows the story of typical, suburban high school senior Simon Spier as he tries to navigate life after being blackmailed and threatened with outing by one of his classmates while also trying to figure out the identity of his anonymous, romantic, online pen pal named Blue.

Although there are serious themes and instances of casual homophobia throughout the movie, like most teen rom-coms, the ending is really sweet and gives the audience a feeling of hope for the titular character and his life as a newly-out, gay man.

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For years, friendships between straight women and gay men have been a subject of pop culture fascination. Bookstelevision shows and feature length films have all highlighted this unique relationship, noted for its closeness and depth.

But with society’s attitudes toward gays and lesbians changing, it’s become all the more important to build a holistic understanding of the relationships between gay and straight people.

As a researcher in social psychology, I’ve often wondered: why do straight female-gay male relationships work so well? Why are straight women so drawn to having gay men as friends? And when do these relationships typically form?

During the course of my research, I’ve discovered that the most interesting, compelling – and, arguably, most theoretically coherent – explanation is through the lens of evolution.