You can start by thinking about how you feel about your own sexual orientation, and learning more about the discrimination that gay people face. Be open to hearing other people’s stories, and think of it as a learning experience.
Straight allies help teach others to be more open and accepting. You don’t have to be an activist to be an ally: just be a good friend if you know someone who is gay, lesbian or bisexual.
My friend is gay. Now what?
Has someone come out to you? It can be difficult to know what to say when someone trusts you enough to come out. Don’t worry, just be honest about your feelings.
- Thank them for trusting you with such personal information.
- Respect their confidentiality and don’t ‘out’ them to others. They need time to come out to people on their own terms.
- Learn more about the lesbian, gay and bisexual community. It’s hard to support someone if you don’t understand them.
- Offer support if they are coming out to others.
- Change the way you treat them. They are the same person they were yesterday and last week.
- Judge them. They don’t choose to be gay any more than you choose to be straight. It’s just the way you are.
- Worry about saying the wrong thing. Maybe you feel a bit shocked and aren’t sure what to say, but it’s OK to admit that you’re learning. Just be honest, and explain that you’re trying to understand.
- Let your friend become isolated. Make sure you’re there to support them.