People from the LGBT community thrive when they have supportive friends. A study published by the Pennsylvania State University states that having one gay or lesbian friend can make you more likely to be supportive of same-sex marriage.
Support of your peer group is critical when society is constantly judging the LGBT community. They say friends are family you choose. When the world is against you, your friends’ support can help you get through tough times.
Glad the LGBT community is not as diverse as the cast of Friends.
But what if you’re close friends turn out to be homophobic? One respondent answers this question from her experience, “My girlfriend and I ended ties with a lot of homophobic friends. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that my own childhood friends had turned on me. They couldn’t stand anyone who belonged to the LGBT community. They even tried to keep us apart. I had never experienced such malice, and that, too, from people who were close to me. We reevaluated our friendships. It really affected me as most of my homophobic friends were my family friends, neighbours and it was difficult to avoid confrontation. Thankfully, my partner and I salvaged our relationship from the clutches of our “friends”. We found newer, better friends, who not only accepted us but also showed us empathy. However, that did teach us a thing or two and we’ll be overtly cautious of our friends from now on.”
Mental health awareness becomes important when your friends turn on you. Ishita Gupta, a vocal member of the LGBT community, also had a similar story, “I realised the importance of mental health as it affected by friendships and my relationships. I didn’t want to be depended on anyone for my mental health and happiness. I resort to casual sex and stray away from any serious relationship as my needs just end up ruining the relationship. Attachment, at this point in my life, scared me.”
Ankita Dash had a very different experience growing up as a bisexual. “I was 11-12-years-old when I realised I’m attracted to boys as well as girls. But I was the only one who identified with the LGBT community. I saw everyone around me was straight. So, I pretended to be straight for as long as I could. I would pretend to not feel anything for a girl even though I was head over heels for her. To make matters worse, I even had a gay friend who was severely bullied and although I was there for him, I never wanted to be in his shoes. I was thankful for the fact that I’m not “completely gay” and at least I like men too. It’s very sad.”
In a poll conducted by Pride in London from 1000 members of the LGBT community, it was revealed that over 74% of people hide their sexual orientation or gender identity. One of our respondents were also a part of the 74% growing up.
“My friends started dating at the age of 13-14. I was the only one who wasn’t dating anyone. My friends tried to console me by telling me “I’m not pretty” and someone will like me, eventually. I started dating a guy and it took me a long time to realise my predicament, so I broke up with him. I’m glad I left those toxic people from my life.”
Piggybacking on Mikesh’s quote from Permanent Roommates, I’d say “Homophobic, transphobic aur anda khaane wale vegetarians, kisi ke sage nahi hote.”