I just began coming out thanks in no small part to your encouraging videos. In the process, as I’m sure a lot of people do, I told two of my friends who are also gay. Now they don’t hang out together much so one of them (lets call him Y) and I were extremely surprised when given the opportunity to talk openly with other gay people the other (lets call him X) began spilling out secrets like a leaky pensieve. Now the other thing I didn’t mention is that I am in college and in a Fraternity, not a big deal everybody has been great and supportive and just the exact opposite of what everyone thinks a Fraternity would be like to a gay person coming out. The problem is that since X spilled the beans I now have to look a grand total of eleven of them in the eye at least once a week and pretend I don’t know they’ve been humping guys. Most of them this isn’t a problem because it sounded like drunken hook-ups that didn’t really mean anything and I am pretty sure they were just trying something out and are not really gay, one of them (Z) however has been doing this now for over a year. He also professes to be a homophobe but doesn’t act it and in fact acts more curious than anybody about gay bars but refuses to go despite many of our straight friends going. Now that you have the set-up the problem is this, he is about to get engaged to his girlfriend who is beyond clueless, about most things actually. Do we say something? It wouldn’t really be outing him considering that friend X keeps getting drunk and telling more people about their liaison it’s a massive open secret and the fact that no on has said anything to Z yet very surprising. Or do we just let it be and wait for years down the line when she catches him with the gardener? How would you approach it?
Well, for starters, I’m glad that you coming out journey has gone well thus far, and I’m especially glad that we helped you just a little bit down that road. No matter how many times we hear it, we’re still ecstatic whenever we hear about someone else being inspired to close their eyes and leap thanks, in part, to watching our videos. It’s a little off topic, yes, but it helps bring me to my first point.
One of the reasons why your coming out experience has gone so well thus far is that you yourself made the decision about when to do so and you made sure not to do so until you were ready. I’m also pretty sure that, in the meantime, you did a little bit of experimenting while you were still in the closet (I’m guessing, here, but I still think it’s a pretty educated guess). So how would you have felt if one of the guys who you fooled around with before you came out started spreading your secret around? Sure, its a free country, and there’s no law against someone chronicling their sexual exploits in public, but it is rather inappropriate, inconsiderate, not to mention tacky. Yes, we gays can be a very gossipy bunch at times (depending on which group you hang out with, of course), but I also believe in respecting certain boundaries. One of those boundaries is: you don’t ever out someone. It’s seen as a tremendously disrespectful thing to do. Sure, this guy “Z” may be digging his own grave by lying to people and getting engaged, but that’s his problem and his situation that he’s eventually going to have to deal with. Trust me when I say, too, that you don’t want to be anywhere near once that shitstorm hits.
Consider this, first, sexuality is not a binary. Just because someone enjoys fooling around with guys doesn’t mean that he also doesn’t enjoy having sex with women. Very few people are perfectly straight or perfectly gay. Most of us fall somewhere in the in-between area. So just because this guy is having sex with your friend doesn’t mean he isn’t attracted to his female fiancee, or that he doesn’t love her. Infidelity is still bad, but you don’t know their relationship or their situation. You also don’t know Z’s background. He could be in some sort of domestic situation where he might be threatened with violence if he ever admits to being gay. So perhaps he himself feels the need to pursue a “straighter” path for the sake of his own safety. I’m just listing off hypothetical situations, of course, but my point is that things always look simpler from the outside. It’s a whole different situation once you’re in it, and the minute you start blabbing this guy’s secret, you are involving yourself.
If you do involve yourself, then you’re setting yourself up for all kinds of drama that you don’t need. First of all, Z is going to be pissed at you. He’s going to be livid, actually, and there’s no telling what he might do in response. After all, even if you feel like you did the right thing, you wronged him. His fiancee will probably get upset at you, too, and there’s no telling who in your fraternity might align to his side if the situation blows up there at all (and it probably will). When it comes to love and sex and relationships and lies, those situations are always messy when they blow up. So I say that you should do yourself a favor and save yourself the grief of getting involved. Make no mistake, Z will eventually have to face the music, and every day that he continues his charade, the worse he’s making it for himself in the long run. But that’s not your problem, and trust me, you don’t want to make it your problem.
In the meantime, you and X and Y can still talk and gossip and much as you want. But I highly recommend that all three of you respect certain boundaries. Don’t out people. Don’t say that something is true if you don’t know it for a fact. Always make your sources known. Don’t discuss a secret unless someone else brings it up. If you’re ever confronted, never lie for someone. Thing is, when you respect said boundaries, you’re not protecting other people. You’re actually protecting yourselves. As I said before, these situations are always messy when they blow up. So if you want to keep your life as drama-free as possible, I highly suggest you keep your distance whenever you can.