By Thomas Whitfield
Studies from the University of Rochester and University of Georgia have revealed clear links between homophobia in straight-identifying men and homosexual urges or arousal. This doesn’t mean that all guys who claim to hate gay people are actually closeted, but some of them might be. What if you found out someone who treated you poorly in the past was actually gay? Would you forgive them?
Last week I got a DM from this guy who used to torture me in high school. Seeing the name sent chills down my back, because it brought up so many bad memories. He just said “sup,” and I thought about not responding, but I did—I guess because I was curious. He started hitting on me hardcore, even though he lives across the country. He didn’t say he’s “gay,” but he was sending me D- pics and saying he always thought I was hot. I feel really conflicted. I’m sort of turned on, but also pissed about how he treated me before. Am I f-d up? – Male, Gay, 26
Our emotions get complicated when they are mixed with pain from the past. One of the reasons talking to this guy appeals to you is because, subconsciously, you’re thinking that if he likes you now, then maybe the shit he did to you before won’t matter. And him hitting you up with “sup” is insane given that he “tortured” you. He’s the equivalent of an ex who broke your heart who’s texting you at 1 a.m. for attention. It doesn’t even sound like this guy apologized for the things he did. You’re not f-d up, but don’t entertain him—it’s a waste of your time.
I’m from the south and recently went back to visit. I’m from a tiny town, and whenever I get on an app there, it’s a depressing four people, and all at least 30 miles away. This last time, I think I saw my uncle on there. He’s a huge homophobe though, like to the point that he won’t even look at me and hasn’t spoken to me in years. His face was covered up, but I instantly recognized the blue hat he always wears. My photo has my full face, and right after I saw his pic, he disappeared—I’m assuming he blocked me. I so badly want to “out” him because he’s such an asshole, but that’s probably not the best thing to do, right? – Male, Gay, 23
I can completely understand your urge to expose him, but he’s probably in the closet for good reason. Think about the reasons you left there. What would your life have been like if you stayed? That might be the reality he’s living. Of course, this doesn’t justify his treatment of you, but he probably has a pretty sad life being closeted, assuming it really was him. If you want to do something, you could attempt compassion and being his friend. I imagine he must have been nervous seeing you on there too. Or, do nothing—but don’t out him.