1. Your happiness with your body is more important than anything else.
Don’t ever feel compelled to become a gym nut so you can mimic jocky gays, and don’t starve yourself for a tiny twink body. Serve your own body-ody-ody, because who cares what anyone else orders?
2. Don’t chase after straight boys.
If you want someone to respect your sexuality you have to respect theirs. It’s as simple as that.
3. Stay up to date on the latest in LGBTQ news.
We are in the middle of worldwide movement for equality, and in order for us to continue moving forward we need each generation to piggyback off the other and keep things going. We don’t live in a post-gay society — but that needs to change. In order for that to happen every single one of us has to do our part, no matter how big or small.
4. Rock the gender identity that you want.
If anyone ever tries to tell you that you’re too feminine you can just go ahead and flip your invisible weave in their face and Naomi Campbell walk the shit out of the pavement in any direction that is away from them. You don’t have to “butch it up” for anyone. Likewise, don’t feel like you need to be a character to impress your friends. If you’d rather drink a beer and watch football you plop down on the couch, undo your belt, and do that. At the end of the day it’s your gender identity, meaning it’s only your business.
5. Avoid villainizing the community.
Unfortunately there is a lot of gay bashing within the community. There’s an increasing population of gays that hate being around other gays. Don’t let the few bad eggs make you buy into the hype that the gay community looks and acts the same exact way. You can’t judge an entire community based off your very limited experiences, nor the experiences of others. You have nothing to lose by being open-minded. Plus, truth be told, a lot of gay on gay bashing is rooted in self-loathing. We see reflections of ourselves, or we see our insecurities, and things we’re jealous of, and it makes us attack.
6. Understand that you have privilege in the queer community.
In the world as a whole gays are viciously oppressed and attacked, however, it’s important for gay men to realize that within the queer community we have many advantages. Gay men receive expansive and constant media representation and attention, while the trans community still struggles to get three-dimensional and positive characters in film and on TV. But that’s the least of their problems. The street violence, in-person and online harassment, workplace inequality, and lack of access to proper healthcare are just a few of the prominent issues that weigh on the trans community. Clearly gays don’t live in paradise, but we’ve been able to progress much further in society than others in the LGBTQ community. We need to acknowledge our privilege and support our fellow non-heteros.
7. Go outside.
Please don’t rely on apps like Grindr, or sites like OkCupid to help you connect with other gay men. Sure, going outside can be intimidating and scary, but that’s not an excuse. Doing something new is always hard, but if we never tried anything new we’d be stuck doing the same things for our entire lives. If you live in a major city there’s no excuse. If you live someplace where you feel unsafe being out and proud then by all means utilize these online resources to connect with other gays. Just use them responsibly. Exchange phone numbers and talk on the phone first. Share social media sites, particularly ones like Facebook where you can see pictures that confirm that they are who they say they are. And most importantly, always meet people in busy, public spaces.
8. Make sure safe sex is the only sex that you’re having.
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to sex. Make sure that you know how to protect yourself and your partner. As gay people we often need to seek out these resources, because the folks around us may not have the information that we need to be safe due to a difference in sexualities.