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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I am gay and my best friend doesn't know.

    I am a gay male and my best friend is homophobic. He has no idea about my sexual identity but he's like a brother to me so I have to tell him. I'm so afraid of how he will treat me afterward because he always makes gay jokes and talks about how it is wrong. What should I do?
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  • 1


    Dr Margaret Redelman

    GP (General Practitioner)

    I come from a general practice background and have over 30 years experience in sexual health. I am an accredited Clinical Psychosexual Therapist with the … View Profile

    Hi, you have a very difficult dilemma - do you gradually lose your best friend as you withdraw from him to protect your sexual identity or do you take a risk being true to yourself which can go one of two ways. That is, he can respect you for taking the big risk of being truly intimate and trusting him with something so personal and important and your relationship deepens or he withdraws from you as he struggles with being able to let you truly be yourself without it detracting from himself.

    This is the problem everyone who has a ‘secret’ faces. Ultimately being with people who don't know you and you fear will not like you if they did, will only lower your self-esteem and joy in life.

    This is not to say it will be easy. Think about how you want to express yourself beforehand, practice with someone who loves you, chose a time when best for you and don't put yourself down. The more confident and ‘right’ you feel , the better things will go. 

    I wonder if your friend does know on some level? I also wonder if he has some issues which he is dealing with by his gay jokes and criticism of being gay?

    Another aspect is to give people time to come to terms with the information. He may be shocked initially but with some reflection realise that you are the same person he has always liked. You will then have the opportunity to convert him from homophobia which is a useless negative waste of energy.

    The Gay Helpline in your area will give you access to discussing your situation confidentially in more detail.

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