A Message to our Straight Friends:
First, I would like to thank most of you for finally accepting gay men and the rest of the LGBT community. It's hard to believe that just 20 years ago -- even 15 -- many of you told us we were sinners and deserved to die of AIDS. Just ten years ago, you said we didn't deserve to get married or serve in the military. Thank you for opening your minds, but there are some things you need to learn that would make our encounters more comfortable.
Playing 'Same Love' by Macklemore isn't an icebreaker that makes us feel comfortable
If you have us at a party or as passengers in your car, this is the worst thing you can possibly do. It's the equivalent of playing "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice in order to make your black guests more comfortable. Many consider the song a marketing ploy from a straight rapper who probably never cared about gay rights until he saw dollar signs.
Macklemore's 2013 gay rights anthem "Same Love" didn't hit the heart of the LGBT community like the media wants you to believe. Instead, it stabbed the hearts of a community that has been trying to work for decades to overcome discrimination. The song is one of the most condescending songs to ever hit the airwaves. We have a straight white boy telling the gay community how he thought he was gay just because he could draw and that he couldn't be gay because he is good at little league. Perhaps, if you want to be less insulting, there is a lot of music from Anita Bryant out there to play.
Don't tell us we don't look or act gay
This is not a compliment. Gay people come in all shapes, colors, and attitudes. Some are feminine and that's fine. But many of us actually fit the "macho" stereotype and telling us that we don't act or look gay makes us feel small, degraded, and inhuman. As a straight person, how would you feel if somebody tried to "compliment" you by telling you that you don't have the typical characteristics of a straight man or woman?
Don't randomly fix us up with another gay person and assume it will work
We aren't attracted to every person of the same sex, just like you aren't attracted to every person of the opposite sex. If you try and fix up a handsome muscular 25-year-old gay man with your 45-year-old out-of-shape gay cousin, there are chances the 25-year-old will be disgusted, insulted, and even call your cousin names. You see, many in the gay community are still ageist and, once in a while, even body shame each other. Just be safe and don't assume we are attracted to every single gay man.
Don't wash your bathroom within minutes after we use it
We don't have cooties and the chances of you acquiring a sexually transmitted disease after we use your bathroom are next to nothing. Even if you aren't convinced, scrambling to the bathroom right after we use it is not only unnecessary; it's also insulting, ignorant, and makes us feel like society has historically made us feel -- that we don't have a right to exist.
Don't repeatedly tell us that you support gay marriage
It's great that you support gay marriage, but you don't need to constantly tell us that every time we have a conversation. It makes your support seem more about you than it shows that you really care about us. Don't get me wrong: You should try and acknowledge you are a gay rights supporter to any gay person. Overkill, however, has the opposite effect.
Don't 'identify' with us by saying how much you like musical theater
Some of us don't like musical theater. At. All. Recently, I went to go see a doctor and thought he should know that I'm gay. The first thing he said was, "Oh, I love going to North Hollywood and all the musical shows." I felt like I was hit in the head with a baseball bat and the doctor couldn't figure out why; his intentions were to show respect. Good intentions don't necessarily transfer to good deeds.
Don't assume we always want to go to a gay bar
It's great that you want to go out and have a drink with us. But why would you assume that we want to go to a place like Mickey's or The Abbey in West Hollywood? There are some gay people who dislike gay bars and it's not because we are ashamed of ourselves. Some of us don't feel comfortable in an arena where people are constantly judging each other in a way they don't in straight bars. It's quite possible that we want to go to a sports bar. It's also possible that we don't want to go to a bar at all.