Growing up I didn’t have any gay friends. My closest friends were girls and I naturally gravitated towards them. You can imagine my anxiety during those times at school when boys and girls would be separated – school camp, gym class, in the playground etc. Luckily though I did have a few straight boy friends, one who still remains like a brother to me today, who I could rely on during these moment. Overall though, I never felt like one of the boys. My straight male friends were part of a group of other straight boys and even though we all got along well, it was always as if I was on the outside looking in.
In my teens and early 20’s I met some wonderful gay guys and started exploring the gay scene but again, I felt like an outsider looking in. I couldn’t connect with the gay community and never quite found my niche. Because of this I developed a bit of a superiority complex whereby I’d dismiss the gay community, other gay men and the whole scene as a world that I didn’t really want to be a part of. I chose to hang out with straight friends and frequent straight clubs and bars over gay clubs and bars. I wore the fact that I didn’t have many gay friends and that I was an outsider as a badge of honour. In retrospect this was a coping mechanism to compensate for my lack of gay connections.
It was only after I moved to London that I found my group of gays – guys that are supportive, who uplift each other and who share similar values to me.
Recently I’ve realised the importance of having gay friends like these. I love my straight friends dearly but as we’ve grown up, their lives have taken them in a very different direction to me. They’ve married, bought houses and had kids. Their daily concerns and interests are very different to mine – a single, gay man whose only responsibility is himself. As our paths have diverged, I’ve become aware of how important it is to surround yourself with people who can share in your life experience, who can relate to what you’re going through and who can lean on for advice and support.
In the below video I talk about my perspective on gay friendships even further and hope that by sharing my experience, I can inspire other gay men to consider the importance of having gay friendships in their lives.