J&J Chats: My boyfriend has homophobic friends

the image states, J and J chats, my boyfriend has homophobic friends.

Welcome to J&J Chats! A series of advice and discourse discussions from J (Jess) & J (Jas, aka, my girlfriend). Topics sent anonymously via curious cat. Current topic: [Gay man] has a boyfriend who is friends with people who make homophobic comments.

The anonymous question states the following. I'm a guy and I have a boyfriend. Recently I found out that he hangs out with homophobic people. They have said homophobic things in front of him and he says that he respects their views because of their religion, catholics, and it makes me really really upset. They don't know that he has a boyfriend and that he's gay, by the way. It just made me lose so much respect for him and I don't know what to do.

[Jas] I don’t know if this is controversial to say, but I don’t think religion’s an excuse.

[Jess] I think that’s probably part of the problem in this scenario because his boyfriend sees it as an excuse, but he doesn’t. It’s hard because I feel like the boyfriend isn’t saying anything to his homophobic friends because he doesn’t want to accidentally out himself. Maybe he’s not ready to be out of the closet and that’s why this whole situation is happening.

[Jas] If he’s out to his parents, for example—

Well he’s not out to his religious friends, so maybe we can assume he’s really not out to many people.

[Jas] Yeah, but, is the reason he’s not out to these friends because they’re religious? He could be out to his parents, but not these friends. Like when I was in college, I had very religious friends, and I never told them I was gay for that reason, but I was still out to a lot of other people.

[Jess] Okay true, I get what you mean. I wonder if the boyfriend is also religious. Actually, probably not because the request said, “I recently found out that he hangs out with these people.” So, I wonder if the boyfriend is out to most people, but not these religious friends. Either way, I feel like you shouldn’t have to put up with it.

[Jas] No, and I think you should talk to your boyfriend about it. Not in an accusatory way, but just be like, “I’m kind of uncomfortable with you being friends with these people and them not knowing about us.” See if you can come up with a solution or some kind of plan.

[Jess] Yeah, and even if he’s not going to do it right away, but it could at least be something you’re both aware of and know that this is causing a problem. Because if you don’t say anything, it’s definitely going to cause a problem at some point.

[Jas] Even if he doesn’t come out right away, he could initiate conversations that are about gay people just to push that he is okay with it. I always say this to people who are trying to come out to their parents, even though they aren’t scared their parents are going to hate them, but they don’t know how to do it. Recommend TV shows with gay characters and see how they react to it. If they say like, “Gays deserve to die,” then probably it’s not safe to come out. But if they’re treating the character like any other character like, “I feel sorry for this guys,” then it’s definitely a safer situation.

[Jess] I wonder if you could all hang out together. If you all hang together and the friends got to know both of you and your dynamic (even if you aren’t out as a couple).

[Jas] Yeah your boyfriend could just introduce you as a friend.

[Jess] That does come with i’s own problems though. If you are already out, you’re probably not going to want to get into situations where you have to be back in the closet.

[Jas] That’s true. And that’s why I said why you should talk first to be able to come up with a solution you’re both comfortable with. Maybe this is something you can do for now, to find a compromise in the meantime and that’s up to you both to find a middle ground.

[Jess] It is very hard though. I mean, Jas, our situation just happened to work out where we were both coming out around the same time, both in the closet when we met pretty much. But if something happened and we broke up, I don’t think I could get into a relationship with somebody who wasn’t out yet. I feel bad for people, but I couldn’t go back into the closet for somebody.

[Jas] For me, it would depend on the situation the other person is in. If they are in a situation where their parents are abusive or it’s unsafe, then I would rather go back into the closet at least for the time being until we came up with a new plan. Like if we had a date, until she was able to move out in the next year or something. Either way, I think I would be fine simply because I like to please people. And it’s not as much a part of me as it is for you. Like, I’m not out to everyone at work. If it comes up, yeah. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t and I won’t go out of my way to be out to people.

[Jess] This is a tough one. I feel like, you are going to have to sacrifice part of your morals. That’s the whole reason it’s a hard situation. You have to sacrifice a little bit of yourself to be okay with it. Obviously, a conversation needs to happen. The best thing to do when you’re having that conversation is to make it about you not your boyfriend. Don’t be like, “You’re doing this, and it’s causing me a lot of problems.” Say something more like, “I’m upset because of this situation.” And not because of what your boyfriend is doing, but because of the situation that he is in. That’s all you can do is try to make a plan from there.

Our advice summary: Initiate a discussion about this and explain how it makes you feel without blaming your boyfriend for these feelings. Try to consider that there could be more of a reason he’s letting homophobic comments slide other than “respecting their religion.” Try to be patient when looking for a compromise.

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