Looking back, the fear I had when I was considering coming out a little more than a two years ago seems stupid. What wasn’t stupid was the anxiety and pain that one small act brought upon myself. Panic attacks, low self confidence, sleepless nights and so much more I experienced when weighing up the decision to come out or not. To utter those three small words to someone was my biggest challenge.
Finally I plucked up the courage to tell one of my closest friends on the day before New Year’s Eve 2013. With one simple declaration from my friend all my fears evaporated away “its fine pal, it doesn’t make a difference to me”. Eventually I found my confidence grow and I began to tell more people. Like with everything in small town Ireland word got out and everyone knew.
I prepared for the worst but in reality I was met with kind words and open arms. It seemed that my fellow members of society accepted me without much distress. However I began finding myself coming up against a new challenge after coming out. People had questions, many of which I welcomed, however it was the ignorance and complete lack of understanding that really baffled me.
I welcome people to ask me questions. That is usually how most people learn, but there are some things that people should just have common sense for. I have thus made it my mission to break down many of the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding gay people. So I’ve done all the hard work for you and made a list of all the do’s and don’ts that you can ask your gay friends and family members.
- Do your best to be supportive when they need relationship advice
- Do your best to be stop using derogatory words that may cause them offence
- Do ask questions regarding LGBTI+ topics
- Do stick up for them in public when they’re getting homophobic abuse
- Do call out homophobia when you see it
- Do your best to correct people when they use incorrect terms or slang
- Do treat them the exact same as anyone else
- Do show your support for your friend by attending LGBTI+ events eg. Gay Pride
- Do your best to share pro-LGBTI+ articles online
- Asking someone will they be your GBF (gay best friend)
- Asking someone if there are sure that they are gay
- Asking someone if they think that they are going through a phase
- Asking who the stereotypical girl/boy in the relationship is
- Telling someone that they don’t look gay enough
- Telling someone that they sound gay
- Telling someone that being gay is a lifestyle choice
- Describing something as gay