Shout-out To My Straight Buddies

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I do believe that what you feed grows. So tonight, just before bed, I’d like to feed a little gratitude.

For much of my early life I felt like I was not welcome among the confederacy of men in the world. There was a lot of evidence to support my belief in that I actually wasn’t made to feel welcome around most boys and men in Walker County, Alabama when I was growing up. So for a long time most of my male friends were other gay men. The friendships I’ve had with gay men throughout the years saved me. I will always be grateful for other men who had similar experiences of oppression and being ostracized and offered me their friendship and camaraderie.

Because of societal changes around the treatment and image of gay people (and because I happen to have come in contact with a lot of incredible straight men), I can now say that the truth of my youth regarding this issue is simply not the truth of my life now. Although I didn’t plan it that way, a large majority of my close male friends are straight. And other than with respect to how living under the oppression has shaped me and strengthened me, most of them couldn’t really give a shit that I’m gay.

It’s not like I have to switch pronouns or anything ridiculous like that anymore, but my sexuality just isn’t a central topic of our discussions. It’s mostly just a secondary fact about me that doesn’t seem to have a great bearing on how this men seem to think and feel about me. I will say that, because gay people are forced into introspection much earlier in life (by circumstance), my straight buddies have benefited from my having (as I believe most gay men do) a more refined sensibility around women. Whereas straight men are also injured by the ridiculous paradigm around male-female heterosexual relationship and gay men get to (for the most part) escape all that—often, when my bros are simply befuddled by something a woman has said or done to him, I’m able to help him understand it better. I think it would be hyperbolic to say that all gay men have this gift or that the dynamics of my relationships with my straight buddies are universal— but I can see where the Native People of this continent came up with the idea of “two spiritedness.” I can flow more easily between feminine and masculine states of consciousness —although I will say that the more I meditate on these concepts of “masculine and feminine,” the more I find them problematic. If the species doesn’t self-destruct, I think it would be very interesting to travel a hundred years into the future and see what the state of these signifiers is.

I don’t want to go too far down the philosophical rabbit hole with all this sense it is getting very late and I’d like to hit the slopes tomorrow. I’ll just close with restating my gratitude that I am very grateful for all my straight buddies and for the incredible gifts our friendships offer to them and to me.

See y’all tomorrow.


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