A friend's concern
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28-09-2013, 05:32 PM
A friend's concern
Hello everyone, it's good to have finally joined this community. That aside, I have an issue. Or rather not quite my issue, but my best friend's issue, but as the title demonstrates, I'm still concerned.
My best friend and I have known each other since second grade. We've done everything together, and are so close that it became a running joke in the school community to confuse our names. I almost consider him family (indeed our families have also been incredibly close) and there is almost nothing I wouldn't do for him. Even though he's moved two towns over since then, we still visit on weekends to hang out often.
One of the things, I think, that defines him the most and has made him such a popular person throughout the school years was his personality. He is incredibly compassionate and charitable, able to make a friend out of the most aloof and despicable of characters, and seems to forgive pretty much any transgression against him. He's also brimming with confidence and even has a pretty great sense of humor. I daresay (and I dare not use this word flippantly) he's Christlike, which brings on the topic of his religion. He's a Methodist, but I tend to describe him as a Red-letter Christian. He's also very freethinking, and has even admitted that the Bible is in itself flawed, having been written by the hands of mere men. That's something I wouldn't really expect of a Christian. All in all, he's been the greatest friend I've ever had (and I'm not exaggerating).

Oh, did I mention he's a homosexual?

I myself don't have a problem with this, and even admire him for coming out of the closet. I wouldn't imagine it to be too much of an issue in a blue state like New York, either. However, the real issue with this has to do with his family and his peers. Since he's moved, he's integrated into his new high school very well and has already made a multitude of friends. His new neighborhood is quite nice, being upper-middle class and all. However, his new neighborhood his very Christian (and not quite as tolerant as the ones back here). His school still lacks a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) chapter, and he fears the backlash were he to start one up. That's just his issue with peers though. His family issues are more...delicate. For example, he's very close to his grandma, and loves her to death. However, his grandmother is an Evangelical Christian, and a homophobic one at that. He says that the last time one of his relatives came out of the closet (his uncle, in this case), he was rejected by almost the entire family, and his grandmother even refused to acknowledge his existence. Only my friend's nuclear family kept in contact with him. In fact, my friend's mother thinks that contact with his uncle is what 'made' him gay.
So far, he's only come out to his nuclear family and his inner circle of friends, but the secret's starting to leak out of that inner circle into his high school community, and he fears the consequences. In short, he's caught in between a rock and a hard place. I want to help him. I truly do, but I have no idea what I could say or do to help him. What do we do?
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29-09-2013, 04:00 AM
RE: A friend's concern
I'm sorry, but I don't think there is any good advice to give. You're right. He is between a rock and a hard place. He has to make the choices that he feels is best. Just be there for him. I think that's the only thing you can do.

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29-09-2013, 05:32 AM
RE: A friend's concern
"Fear is the mind killer..."

Although there are parallels with coming out / being outed as an atheist, I think there are probably more apt sites than TTA, with many more people who might have had the same issues regarding homosexuality.

The situation, in this case, is not regarding the strategic question of "which position in my various social groups do I choose for myself?" but rather the tactical question of "how am I going to deal with it when it happens?"

Only your friend can know whether he has the courage / stamina etc. to cope with what's going to happen.

We can't answer that.

But, whatever happens, this is about a) damage limitation and b) choosing the right tactics for each social group... i.e. risk management.

Typical risk-countermeasures are:
Risk Avoidance
and if he can't do that:
Risk Acceptance
Risk Prevention
Risk Reduction
Risk Transfer
Risk Sharing
Contingency Planning.

If you look at an atheist equivalent example, Jessica Ahlquist, she experienced / chose, initially Acceptance, then Transfer (to the ACLU) and Sharing once she realised she was not alone.

Your friend may choose to be a pioneer and "bring it on" but that takes a special kinda balls. If he does, I am sure he will find he is not alone.

I'm pretty sure, however, that different tactics are needed for home i.e. a contingency plan of having a safe place to stay if things get too much regarding his grandmother (or just avoid her).

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