7 Reasons to Stop "Outing" Your LGBTQ Best Friend
I absolutely love all of my straight/cisgender* best friends, but one thing that I get pretty irritated with is the fact that each time I meet one of their friends, this new person already knows that I'm queer.
Most of my friends don't understand why it bothers me that they tell others that I'm gay, because I've been out for years and have been politically active in queer issues for quite some time; frankly, it's a pretty defining characteristic of who I am. What bothers me isn't that others know that I'm queer; what bothers me is how quickly it becomes my only label.
the gay best friend
*cisgender - denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender
#1: Just Because They're "Out" to You Doesn't Mean They Are Ready to be "Out" to Everyone.
Your best friend is suave and cool and LGBTQ.
HOW EXCITING IS THAT?! Don't you just want to shout it from the rooftops that you are so proud?
If you want to remain a best friend, don't be that best friend.
#2: It Can Compromise Their Safety.
Sadly, we still live in a world that is discriminatory towards people who are LGBTQ, and trans* women and LGBTQ people of color are among the highest at risk for hate-violence. Don't subject your best friend to the haters in this world.
#2: It's Annoying.
It is a blast meeting your best friends new friends! After all, if these new people are cool enough to be friends with your best friend, they must be prettyyy cool.
What could possibly put a damper on that fun, you ask? Perhaps hearing the infamous "ohhh, you're that friend. I've heard a lot about you," or being asked shortly after the introduction, "do you have a partner?" or (for some friends of mine) "when did you start transitioning?"
GET OUT OF OUR FACES, COOL NEW FRIENDS.
#3: It's Simply Not Yours to Tell.
This is pretty basic. You shouldn't feel that you have the right to tell personal information about your best friend to people they haven't even met yet--it's just not yours to tell.
What if I want to tell a really funny joke to your new friend with the punchline being that I'm super-queer? .....I'll let you know when I think of a really great joke for this kind of situation.
Walking into a room of new people only to find out that they know a singular, personal characteristic about you can be pretty anxiety inducing.
#5: It's Alienating.
In the room above, --statistically comprised of straight, cisgender people--- being the only queer person can be alienating enough when you're the only one who knows you're queer, but when your best friend introduces you as their "L/G/B/T/Q best friend," the separation is so much harder to escape.
#6: People Often Think It's Okay to Ask Your LGBTQ Best Friend ANYTHING When It's the First Thing They Learn About Them.
I kind of touched on this above, but it can be so, very uncomfortable, especially when these people don't know too many LGBTQ people, and they don't know that there are questions that you simply don't ask people, especially the first time you meet them.
"Are you the girl or the boy in your relationship?" "So, have you uh...had 'the' surgery?" I can't speak from experience with the latter question, but far too many of my trans* identified friends have been asked this from mere strangers. Don't out us, best friends of ours...just don't.
#7: It's Not Your Best Friend's Most Interesting Quality.
Is your best friend also a paleontologist? Do they have a killer stamp collection? Are they from a family of twelve kids?
Lez-be-honest, there are so many other interesting qualities that your best friend exemplifies in their every day life. Try your best to stop automatically associating this person as your L/G/B/T/Q best friend, and give your new friends a better idea of who your best friend is.
© 2015 gay best friend