By Thomas Whitfield
It can be easy to get wrapped up in the drama of our own lives, or just NYC, but there are also simple ways we can help other LGBTQ people. Sometimes it’s your best friend that needs it, and sometimes it’s the community as a whole. We’re all in this together.
My best friend seems to hate a lot of things about being gay, even though he is gay. We will be walking down the street and he makes rude comments about feminine guys we pass, like “such a bottom,” “stupid queen” and even “fag.” I sort of just laugh and ignore it, but it does bother me. I think it’s mean and uncalled for, but I also wonder how he thinks of himself (he’s not the straightest-acting guy in the world either). How can I bring this up to him without it ruining our friendship? -Male, Gay, 23
It sounds like what you’re describing is a form of internalized homophobia. He likely feels poorly about himself being gay, is afraid of being associated with feminine things and then lashes out at others to cover his own insecurities. Sadly, this isn’t uncommon for a lot of LGBTQ people. Internalized phobias in general are prevalent among many minority populations. It also sounds like you really care about this person and your friendship, so I’d recommend you inquire about why he’s saying those things. The next time he does it, just ask, “What’s that all about?” or “Why does that bother you so much?” See if he opens up about how he feels. Also, let him know how you feel about it. I’m curious if it hurts your feelings when you hear him say these things. If so, let him know.
I’ve been living in NYC for the past four years, and it’s become home. I’m originally from a small town in the Midwest and hardly knew any LGBTQ people growing up, pretty much just people online. I’m finally at a place where I’m secure, and I’d like to give back to the community, because I feel like it’s been there for me so much. I don’t have money to donate, and I know this question isn’t about sex or anything, but are there places you know of where my help can make a difference?? – Male, Gay, 27
YES! I’m very glad you’ve found a place that feels like home—that’s a huge relief for so many LGBTQ people. There are a few different organizations around the city that benefit LGBTQ individuals, and New Alternatives is my absolute favorite. They work towards finding clothing, food and housing for homeless LGBTQ youth. Along with taking financial donations, they also accept clothing and volunteers! You could donate your time to their food kitchen or helping at events. They are a small organization doing great work, so anything you, or anyone else, can offer would make a huge difference. Check them out at NewAlternativesNYC.org.