As a child of the 90s, I have truly grown up along with the rise of gay acceptance. I came out at the right time for me, the end of my freshman year in college during a time post the age of Jack’s coming out on Dawson’s Creek and pre the age of It Gets Better. Now, as a recent college graduate who has been out for over 3 years I am discovering all the problems with having no gay friends.
I attended a small, Catholic liberal arts college encapsulated in the suburbs below Boston. The community and administration constantly discussed the concepts of diversity to a positive degree, but in reality for every LGBT student, student of color, student of a different faith or socioeconomic status there was sea of straight, white, and upper middle class New Englanders in North Faces and Uggs.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my alma mater. The community of my college allowed me to truly accept myself, discover my passions, and find lifelong friends. I have learned however since graduating how much going to a school where I was one of honestly 10-15 gays out of the 2,500 students has stifled me. No exaggeration, I know to an almost 100 percent certain degree that I am one of four gays from my graduating year.
The gay men were wildly obvious on this campus not by choice, and mind you almost none throughout my 4 years were very flamboyant (think more ABC and less Bravo). Take the combination of these slim pickings, hook up with a couple of them, and you can imagine why I find myself at 23 no gay friends.
Circumstances never allowed me to bond with another as friends discovering our identities as gay in the new millennium. I have straight friends that text me whenever they end up going to a gay bar, yet not one would go with me until my 23rd birthday. You can’t be “that gay” who tries to roll into a gay club with an entourage of girlfriends so I find myself not able to experience life as a young gay man to its fullest.
I am more or less forced to use social websites or apps like Okcupid and Tinder to try to meet people (sorry Grindr I want to find love, not sex). You can imagine how well that is working.
I don’t have friends to talk about sex with, not that sugar coated Ryan Murphy Glee crap kids see on TV. I don’t have friends that understand how difficult it is to see constant heterosexual PDA, knowing we still live in a world where I would get gawked at (or worse) for attempting. I could go on and on about the predicaments of living in a heteronormative American society, but I currently cannot on a level with another human who gets it with me having to explain it.
I have been labeled as the gay by society before I have even had a chance to discover what being gay means to me. I have realized how I need to break down the perceptions of gays projected onto me.
I get it, I am still young and living in some of the most unique years of my life with plenty of inevitable cycles of friends in my future. If anything, I hope this small rant helps other gays realize they aren’t alone if they are feeling the same. More importantly, I hope any straight people who read this do a little more to help his or her gay friends because I can strongly bet the thought “oh where are all my straight friends at?” has never occurred once. And don’t tell me you don’t have any gay friends, that’s some BS.