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I’ve recently discovered that the clubs aren’t where all the gay men are. We’re more spread out than that. There are gay men out there who just don’t do "gay things," like go clubbing, or help the local gay rights campaign, or run around gay chats all day. But how does one go about finding these hidden men? Note: my gaydar is as precise as a Florida ballot count.
–No Stone Unturned
Honey, if a gay man wants to remain hidden you will have little luck finding him. Short of scouring the monastery, I am not sure how you would go about this rather illusive task. Perhaps run an ad. Something like: "Queen seeking man with no social skills to spend long evenings at home reading boring novels. Likes walks on the beach (as long as there is no crowd, woodwork, and dusting). Must be a non-smoker, and have a life goal of world peace."
I believe what you’re looking for is a man who doesn’t participate in what you consider "typically gay" activities. "Typically gay" is, of course, in the eye of the beholder — there’s a world of difference between hanging out all night in a bar and spending all day hanging wallpaper in your fixer-upper, but both can be thought of as "gay" activities if you’re so inclined.
The solution is obvious. If you want to meet gay men who spend their time doing non-gay things, you need to do some non-gay things yourself. If you’re not interested in meeting men who spend all there time clubbing, don’t go to clubs (or don’t spend all your free time in them). What activities do you enjoy? Chances are, if you enjoy doing it, other gay guys enjoy doing it and have probably formed a club to facilitate doing it. Focus on spending your time doing the things you truly enjoy, and you will find some of those ever-elusive men.
I am a gay teenager still in school, and I’m having a great deal of trouble finding other guys like me. I don’t know whether and which clubs are for me. Should I just wait for college or start discreetly asking kids I like/suspect of being gay? I wouldn’t care except all my straight friends seem to be pairing off and I’m really jealous and lonely after witnessing the kind of simpatico they all seem to share. I don’t know what to do and I feel really lost and almost abandoned at points. How do I have a relationship without painting a bright red target on my back for every homophobe in the Midwest?
I do not encourage you to just start asking kids you suspect, given your location in the Midwest. Here in Washington, D.C., we have SMYAL (the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League) to offer support and information to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth (you can find out more about them at www.smyal.org). Similar resources are scarce, particularly outside of heavily urban areas, and that lack of support can leave you feeling quite alone.
Being a gay teen can be a delicate balance. While you may accurately suspect that certain of your classmates share your situation, it’s difficult to know how comfortable they are or how ready they may be to be asked directly about their sexual orientation. Do not allow yourself to be rushed into coming out or forming relationships simply because you see your straight friends pairing off. Do not judge yourself by the progress of others. You are the only standard by which you need to measure.
Although things may be more difficult for a gay teen, your letter also screams, "I am ready to start this adventure!" Perhaps one of your close straight friends would be interested in helping start a gay/straight alliance at your school. Or, given that you found me through the web, you can begin finding others like yourself through the vast resources available online. Another great resource for you is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), at www.glsen.org. You can find hotlines, websites and other resources, and search for gay/straight alliances and other resources in your area. Remember, even if things get tough, never give in to despair. Lay a firm foundation for a long and happy gay life by getting some help from these organizations, and remember: You are not alone.
Lonely hearted? Hardly lonely? Just plain hard up? Lena will solve your problem at the cost of a question. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org