I have a friend whom I previously dated and now I think he is gay. He has all the stereotypical characteristicts of a gay male. He is only friends with girls, he doesn't like sports, he is involved with theatre, he seems like he is pretending to like girls just to please the people around him, and most of all he is really feminine. Mostly all the people I know and he knows think he is gay. Since we broke up we haven't been close but I really think he needs some advice. We had a talk and he said he had a big issue he is dealing with but he couldn't tell anyone. I really want to know how I can find out if he is gay without asking him up front. I really care about him and I think he is a wonderful person..... What should I do, he seems so unhappy?--Wanting to help
Your friend is fortunate to have you in his life. You clearly care for him very much.
Now, it's important to know, though, that there is not necessarily any specific way you can tell if someone is gay or not, short of them telling you. Although stereotypes abound, there are, in fact, many straight boys who don't like sports, or have girls as friends, too. Sometimes guys are feminine simply because that's how they've been raised. So your friend may be gay, or maybe he isn't.
But your closer to him than we are, obviously, and sometimes you just have to go with your gut feel. Add up everything you said and the fact that he says he has a big issue he's dealing with, but can't tell anyone, and it just may be that he's wrestling with his feelings, dealing with ther realization that he is gay.
If that's the case, then the best thing to do is exactly what you are doing -- being there for him.
Quite a few gay teens have told me that they wished someone -- a friend or family member -- would just come out and ask them if they're gay, because it would relieve the stress. But if you're uncomfortable doing that, there are a few approaches you might consider:
If he is, in fact, gay, then any of these approaches will let him know that you understand, even if he's not yet ready to talk to you about it. For many gay teens, the hardest thing can be admitting it to themselves first. There are just so many negative images thrown at us from all sides that it can often take some time to get past all that, particularly if one comes from a conservative or particularly religious upbringing. In time, however, he is likely to share with you whatever it is that's been troubling him. But it will probably take continued work on your part to get there.
I hope it goes well as you help him get through this; it's important that you're there, we all need a helping hand to pull us up sometimes.
Dr. Jay Nagdimon has been on the masthead of this column for the last two years, dispensing lots of caring advice along the way. With this issue of Oasis, he passes the baton to me, and I'm pleased to assume responsibility for continuing his good work. Ask Chris is your place to ask what's on your mind, whatever that might be -- wondering how to help your parents "get over it" already? -- looking for some way to get some cute guy or girl's attention? -- thinking that you might come out and searching for the right words to do it? Here's the place to voice your questions. Why wait, just click here and let me know what's on your mind.