Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Crushing on My Homophobe Friend
First and foremost, I'm gay. Super gay. As gay as it gets. I've known that I like girls since the tender age of eight, and I've acted on it since the (slightly less) tender age of twelve. Recently, I've developed an enormous crush on a girl that I've been friends with for a while—for privacy's sake, let's call her A.
A and I have been close friends since sixth grade, and I've liked her for the past six months (to a year, it's debatable). She's gorgeous, smart, funny, kind, and a million other things I could list but won't because that's not the point of this letter.
I've tried to bring up the subject of gay rights to her as subtly and noncommittally as I possibly can, and she's always responded with something like, "Those people? Gross, I'd stay as far away from them as I possibly can, they might infect me," with a few homophobic slurs thrown in there for good measure, as if she wants to make completely sure that I know she hates flaming homosexuals such as myself.
I know I shouldn't like a girl that would hate me if I ever came out to her, and I know if I ever slipped up, she'd definitely cut off all contact with me, but she's such a nice person otherwise. She's been there for all my personal problems (other than this one, of course), and she's helped me with almost everything. I can't stop liking her, no matter how hard I try, so what do I do?
I'll be honest, Sparkler: I've no earthly idea. I mean, if the part where your friend is a virulent and unapologetic homophobe in addition to being "such a nice person" hasn't been enough on its own to stop your crush in its tracks or make you reconsider your relationship with her, then I doubt anything I say is going to change your mind on that front.
But maybe that's okay, and in fact, maybe it's even the heart of this issue. This girl is your friend, not mine, and whatever I or anyone else might think about her attitude toward gay rights and/or gay people, you evidently do not consider it a deal breaker. And maybe that's because you know something we don't, or maybe it's because you're in denial, but the point is, she already has your good opinion.
Perhaps it's time you gave her the opportunity to prove that she deserves it.
Or in other words, instead of dropping this subject, try pressing it: "Why do you have such a problem with LGBT people? What if I told you that I was gay; would you just stop being my friend?"
Which is a hard thing to ask, I know—not just because you're afraid to hear the answer, but because there won't be any going back once you do. But if the only way you can maintain a friendship with this girl is through a strict policy of don't-ask-don't-tell—keeping her in the dark about your orientation so that you can keep pretending ignorance about how she'd react if she knew—then all you're doing is delaying the inevitable at the expense of the truth. This is not a situation you can sustain long-term. And while you may not have reached the point yet at which something has to give, the fact that you've written to me about it suggests that you're at least at the point where something ought to. It's time to call your own bluff on the claim that your close, beloved friend would hate you if she knew you were gay. You deserve better than a BFF around whom you can't be your true, whole self, and if this girl is really so great and kind, then she deserves a chance to show that she's better than her prior crappy comments about the LGBT community suggest.
Of course, she may take that opportunity and blow it, big time, which is why I'm not suggesting that you necessarily go so far as to explicitly come out to her. If things get weird, or she reacts badly, then hey, you were just asking hypothetically, right? But while asking her what she'd do if you (or someone else close to her) were gay doesn't require you to come out, it does force her to think about the issue in more personal, practical terms, and if she's capable of changing her views, it's most likely to happen as a result of a conversation like this one. Realizing that someone you know and love is a member of the group you theoretically despise is, as always, a powerful motivator to stop being a prejudiced asshat.
Meanwhile, you may keep your fingers crossed that your friend has it in her to accept you for who you are (if not to reciprocate your feelings; that's almost definitely too much to hope for, which is why you're gonna have to get over this crush whether you continue the friendship or not.) But if this conversation confirms your worst fears, then please realize that all you've done is hasten a realization that was always inevitable; any friendship built on such rotten foundations will fall apart sooner or later. If nothing else, you will have wasted less time on the exhausting pretense that you're not who you are—and you'll be ready sooner to embrace the truth, mourn if you need to, and move on to more rewarding friendship with people who love you completely.
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