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Feeling more isolated than ever from other queer people

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by lottaotter, Aug 28, 2022.

  1. lottaotter

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    Sorry to be posting here AGAIN.

    This weekend there was a Pride event in the city I live in. I didn't go. I told myself it was because I only came back from travelling home to visit friends and family on Sunday afternoon, but really it's because I just don't feel I deserve to attend.

    Seeing and hearing Pride going on just made me feel so sad for a few reasons:

    1.) I'm not really able to make the same references to gay pop culture or enjoy the same media as the other LGBTQ+ people I know (which is entirely through the sports group I was going to). I've never seen most of the TV programmes, films or theatre that they talk about and can quote. I've seen some of them, but none of them really clicked with me that much at all.

    2.) I don't have the same life trajectory. I only realised I was gay when I was 19, and only came out to my parents last year at 27. I'm still not out to my extended family beyond my parents. And I have no gay friends. I also don't have the life experience that other gay men have- barely dated, never done anything more than oral sex, never been in a long-term relationship, never done hookups, never tried poppers, never been to a gay spa, only been to a gay pub twice.

    3.) I don't exactly look photogenic. Last night I saw people leaving Pride and I thought it was just as well that I didn't go, since I would never have the confidence to wear anything like leather. I just don't have any suitable clothes I could have worn, nor the charisma to. I've been trying to wear more of the clothes I want to - ones that look 'gayer' - but twice when I visited my hometown last week I got guys making comments and even yelling stuff at me accross the street because of what I was wearing, and I really didn't think I was dressed that 'gay' at all.

    I really wish I could do all the stuff other people do, but I am torn between thinking "Why should I force myself to do stuff I hate" and "Maybe I'm just scared and I would enjoy it". Either way I feel inferior and worthless. Other people describe coming out and finding other queer people as a wonderful experience, but it's been anything but for me. It'd be great if I still felt accepted by the straight friends I have at home, but honestly one of them in particular is becoming more homophobic, and the others are less-than-comfortable with non-straight identities.

    Other queer people have networks of gay friends to talk to, but I don't. I've really tried with this sports group, and I was getting somewhere (some of them even ackowledge my existence now, yay) but seeing the warm and friendly welcome other new memebers get made me feel there must be something wrong with me as I didn't (and still haven't) had the same response.
     
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  2. chicodeoro

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    Hi LottaOtter, please don't feel sad. Being gay (or for that matter bi, trans or whatever) is not a matter of picking up an off the shelf gay 'lifestyle'.
    It's not a club where you have to apply for membership and are accepted/rejected by some gay committee. All it means is that you fancy people of your own gender. That's all.

    I think you need to focus on what makes YOU happy. Where do you find joy in life? What do you like to do in your spare time? Think about that and then work out how you can find new friends - whether they're gay, straight or somewhere in between - that like doing those same things. Then before you know it you will have knitted together a support structure, a group of people that accept you for being you.

    I've had to do this before and it can take a long time, years sometimes. But somewhere out there are your people. Be open-minded, open hearted but most importantly be tenacious. It will happen, eventually.

    Hugs, Beth x
     
  3. lottaotter

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    Thank you Beth. I was hoping so much that the sports group would have some nice people who are less into the club scene, that I feel really deflated since there weren't any. Not that it makes them bad people, but they aren't terribly welcoming to people who aren't into the same stuff (at least I think that's the reason... Maybe I have said something to upset someone). I had pinned all my hopes on it.

    And then there was the community garden project who didn't seem to want anyone who didn't follow the same diet or political ideas as them! I might try to find another group who do similar stuff.

    I'm finding people where I live now are too wrapped up in their VERY important, VERY busy lives to be able to squeeze time in to interact with anyone who isn't their iPhone :rolling_eyes:

    But I will keep trying to break through.

    Do you mind if I ask what kind of things you did to meet people? No worries if it's personal.
     
  4. bsg75apollo

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    There is no one way to be gay. There are some aspects of my personality which are very stereotypical and others that are not. I'm artistic, I watch HGTV, I enjoy Drag Race, hate sports, enjoy musical theater, and like Lady Gaga. I also don't enjoy shopping, live in t-shirts and cargo shorts, don't go to the gym or clubbing, can't dance for shit, don't watch Queer as Folk, don't keep up with the Kardashians, and enjoy sci fi, Marvel, and disaster movies.

    I've been to Chicago Pride twice. Although it was a welcoming atmosphere, I felt like a poser. I fretted beforehand about what to wear. Eventually deciding that I had nothing cool to wear and that the gayest thing I owned was a Golden Girls t-shirt.

    I only came out at the age of 48. Have virtually no circle of friends. I had never been on a date with a guy until recently. That is actually going well.

    In short, I don't try to be anything other than me. I can't be anybody else. Cut yourself some slack and just do you.
     
  5. CL1990

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    hello!! i use to be like you!! no gay friends and really struggled to feel like I belonged whenever i met. I tried clubbing, sports, support groups and no luck. Then i stopped trying and i stopped drinking so clubbing which is what ithought would make me make friends easier was off the table but then something wonderful happened..

    by chance i had to swap the venue where i played soccer and in this new place i found a lovely bunch of women (gay and straight) who are super suportive. Ive always struggled and still do to feel like i belong inthe lesbian community because im more femenine than the stereotype but ive found it superheart warming to find support in a group that in the past i thought i would never feel like i belonged to.

    My advice if imay: focus on what you enjoyand not what gay people do AND try and gently push yourself… sometimes you might want to run away ofthese social interactions but if you are not in a dangerous position itmight be worth holding on and you might be surprised about what people present (sometimes ive realized im too judgemental of others!) best of luck yougotthis!!!
     
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  6. chicodeoro

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    Not at all. Well, my running club for starters, although it took me a long time to feel as if I was really friends with many of them. They have been really supportive since I lost my partner and came out. I also play football, both three-sided football here in South London and I also volunteer, running a football group for a mental health project.

    Other than that..well, there is a social group that started in the local area when one woman put a notice on a tree (and one on a local messageboard) asking if people were up for meeting up for pub quizzes/lunches/ other events. Out of this has grown a group that has been tremendously supportive to me.

    In addition to this, some friends have I just met by chance. One time in 2016 me and my partner went to a David Bowie tribute night in a local pub. We met some people, got chatting and six years on they're still amazing friends. Another I met at a comedy night, clicked with immediately and she's been just the most incredible ally to me. It annoys me when people spout cliches like 'London's so unfriendly'. Utter tosh.

    I think it helps enormously if you come over as relaxed and at ease with yourself. I was able to make friends easily during this time (2014 onwards) because it was by and large a happy time. It also helped that my partner was equally gregarious (like me she had a happy knack of picking up friends easily).

    Keep putting yourself out there though and don't be discouraged! A social support structure isn't knitted together overnight - it can take years of persistence.

    Beth xx
     
  7. lottaotter

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    Thank you. I feel quite similar- it wouldn't be so bad if I were one of those trendy 'straight-acting' gays who can be interested in all the stuff straight men love (or so they tell us), but like you there is some 'gay stuff' I enjoy (or at least try to enjoy).

    I'm glad dating is going well for you! Wishing you all the best!
     
  8. lottaotter

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    Thank you, that's good- I'm glad it worked out for you in the end.

    I just wish people would tell me if they didn't like me or want me around or felt uncomfortable around me, instead of keeping me guessing, or keeping me around out of pity. I think I am going to give this running group a rest and go to a different one that is open to everyone, not just LGBTQ+ people. The one I go to at the moment is quite clique-y. I've noticed the people who join who already know someone are welcomed with open arms whereas my experience is very different. I'd imagine it being less important that I'm not conventionally-attractive in a group that is also straight people.
     
  9. lottaotter

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    Thanks Beth. I'm so sorry- I am sure you've mentioned it before now thinking back, but I hadn't really realised that you'd lost your partner. I'm so sorry.

    I think this is the main stumbling block I am coming across. I was told as a teenager by a lot of the people who bullied me in school that they "Don't get me" because they "can't tell what I'm thinking". I am quiet and I suppose it unnverves people. If only they'd give me a chance, I do sometimes have stuff to offer, but I often worry it'll be silly so I keep my mouth shut. Plus I don't really know much about the conversation topics my running group have: using hookup apps, seeing drag performances, live music, running. Like I said to another poster, I think I might be better off looking at a running group who don't specify LGBTQ+ members. I know I'd feel more at ease around straight people and would be able to let my personality shine through.

    I will keep trying anyway. Sorry to be so negative but I am starting to think I'm not a friendly person by nature. I am still feeling nervous around the new housemate (who doesn't know I'm gay). I am forcing myself to spend time with him but I am useless compared to my other housemate who is all over him and is great friends with him already. I don't understand it, because i absolutely love talking to everyone at work- I can just relax and say whatever thought comes into my head. We're always having a good laugh. I've felt relaxed around my colleagues since day one, but I'm not sure what the difference is. I've always got on better with people much older than me (most of my colleagues are 25-30 years my senior).
     
  10. Cinnamoon

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    I relate to a lot of what you've said in your last post. I often get on with older people (although not always), am super quiet and shy to the point of appearing unapproachable unless I make a ton of effort to make conversation - which I can do sometimes but it's absolutely draining.

    You're shy. Which is totally okay. I still think you're doing the right things and taking the right steps. It's okay to worry and feel low on your journey, but you're walking your path nonetheless, even though it's painful, and not giving up, which is so admirable.

    I know it might not feel it, but I can tell you're making progress. Keep it up, keep posting, and above all, be you.
     
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  11. lottaotter

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    Yes yes yes! I also think I must come across as unapproachable. Sometimes I wish there was a badge (or a massive neon sign...) I could wear above my head saying "I'm shy, not standoffish, I'm trying-honestly!". It sucks because I put so much effort in to change my personality and not be shy anymore, but I'm still not normal.

    I try to remind myself I am on a journey, even though I seem to be a thousand steps behind everyone else. I just hope one day I can catch up and also that people are willing to see past their first impression of me.
     
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  12. Cinnamoon

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    Exactly!! It's not personal, I'm really not trying to be rude. I actually really like you, but I'm just very very shy =P

    A lot of what you write also describes me, but I know there's a way out of it. Not that it's a competition, but by going to these groups and trying as hard as you are you're doing much better than I am already!

    You are on a journey, yes, but you're not "behind". I don't think such a thing exists. Everyone has their own path, and most of the reasons we are the way we are are beyond our control. Not that we have no power - we do, but aspects like high anxiety, depression in my case, experiences growing up etc, can really affect how we are as people. You can take back control, you can absolutely make all the friends you want to make. And it's okay if it's not easy. But you're being so strong, as patronising as that sounds, but doing all the things you're already doing so far. Keep going!

    I would say though, no need to change your personality unless you want to. Nothing wrong with you, you just need a bit more confidence that's all.

    Like me!
     
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  13. lottaotter

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    Thank you again. Actually it has convinced me to go back to the running group this week. I was going to leave it for a few more weeks, or quit it completely. I know I'll feel a bit disappointed if people don't notice I've been gone for three weeks but I have to trust myself that I have the mental resolve to endure that.

    At the moment I am seeing a new therapist. I want to work out who the real me is, because I feel like I've been pretending different things for so long.

    Do you ever feel stuck between feeling too gay around straight friends and not up to the standard in looks and personality and life journey around other gay people?

    I definitely want to make some more friends. My friends at home seem more uncomfortable than ever about my sexuality, and we're moving apart too.

    Thank you for always saying such nice stuff! I feel like I should repay the favour so please let me know if you need to rant about anything at some time!
     
  14. Cinnamoon

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    You're welcome, I'm happy I helped even a little bit! Even if most people don't notice you've been gone, there may be one or two people who do. And even if nobody does, it might be for other reasons. They may just be busy with their own lives, or occupied with their own worries. I'm sure you do have the mental resolve to endure it though, and remember you're doing this running group for you more than for anyone else.

    I know that feeling though. Is your new therapist helping so far?

    To be honest, I do. I only have one straight friend, more of an acquaintance really, at work. I really like him, but I don't admit I'm gay around him and hide certain aspects of my personality from him because I worry what he'll think of the real me. And I definitely don't feel up to standard around other gay people. There's various aspects of myself I'm not happy with at all, and while I work on myself as hard as I can, I still don't feel good enough myself to be honest. So you're not alone in perhaps feeling insecure.

    I'm sorry you're going through issues with your friends. I need more friends too, for slightly different reasons but being this way can be very isolating can't it.

    And that's okay! You don't need to repay the favour at all, although I really appreciate you saying that. Focus on getting you to a better place for now, not me or anyone else. Once you're okay, then you can think about other things if you want to. But right now, all that matters here is you.
     
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  15. lottaotter

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    That's the way I should be looking at it; that I'm going because I run, not because I'm desperate to make friends and prove myself as worthy to other gay men. And actually the running part is going very well.

    I've only seen him once so far but I have a good feeling about him. I am also getting better at being more honets and open with therapists and not just telling them what I think they want to hear ("Yes I'm fine, I'm great, definitely don't want to end it all, all good here!"). It's good to get practice telling people about childhood abuse and about being gay. It's supposed to reduce the shame. On that same note my housemate/friend outed me to our other new housemate yesterday. I don't know if he got it (she was a bit more subtle) but he seems OK with me still. I wonder if he still would be if I let my guard down and was more feminine? I also feel a bit annoyed as it's not her news to share, but on the other hand maybe I would never have come out to him myself? I feel a bit pathetic that I didn't 'man up' and do it myself.

    It's hard being stuck between that feeling that maybe opening up more could make him dislike you, but also it could very well help him see more of the real you and deepen the connection. Yeah, there is a limit to how much we can change about ourselves (and how much we should). Since I was 11 years old I had saved money secretly to have a nose job. I went throught the initial consultations but in the end I cancelled and have only thought about it briefly since. I had this very strong, very unusual (for me) feeling of "If you [society] don't like it, that's your problem. I'm the only person who doesn't have to see my nose (apart from looking in mirrors), so I don't care)".

    Thank you. I have to make progress this time. It's gone on for too long. Although I've also said that plenty of times before.
     
  16. Cinnamoon

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    Exactly, you're going for all the right reasons then =) if you make friends out of it all the better, but if not, think of how good you'll be at running!

    Most people these days are accepting of people being gay, I can understand why you might be a bit frustrated at your housemate, but it sounds like the situation has ended up okay. If you want to be a bit more feminine, I don't see why you can't be. To be honest I've never liked the phrase man up. At the end of the day men and women share the same feelings and we're all people, so why should gender come into it at all? Like I said before, you be you =)

    What's wrong with your nose, if you don't mind me asking? I'm sure it's not as bad as you think. We all have our insecurities, after all.

    And hey, you don't have to do anything. It's not a race and there's no real pressure. Baby steps are okay, life isn't linear. Everyone struggles in their own ways, and that's okay. It sounds like you're doing better than you think to me already.
     
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  17. chicodeoro

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    I know what you mean. I've had something similar in the past where I've felt too weird for my so-called 'straight' friends and too straight round my 'alternative' friends. But these days I'm more settled in my own skin - to quote that good ol' LGTBQ+ anthem, I am what I am.

    And if people don't like me, f*** 'em.

    Oh and whilst we're about it, f*** the whole concept of 'manning up'. Last year asked a friend of mine to reveal my secret to a whole load of acquaintances in our running club. So what? Sometimes it's just easier.

    Beth x
     
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  18. lottaotter

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    Yeah, my only concern is/was that he is not from the UK but a country where it isn't so accepted. I hate the phrase too, and interestingly of all the times it's been said to me, it's always been by straight women. Makes sense why I always feel this need to impress women and get their approval even though I'm 100% exclusively attracted to men. To an extent when i realised I was gay it took some of the pressure off to be masculine, at least until I found out that gay men worship 'masculinity' (our society's idea of masculinity anyway: being big and muscular, being grumpy and unfriendly etc. etc.) even more than the rest of the population. Yeah... I have a lot of issues around masculinity. I suppose I look fairly 'straight-passing' (ugh... that term too) but then my interests aren't stereotypically masculine at all. I tried so hard from childhood to not like or do the things I wanted to do. And now I don't know who the real me actually is.

    I do think everyone hates their nose to some extent, although mine is something that's specifically been pointed out again and again as a bad thing. It's too big, extremely crooked, not straight. Basically everything is wrong with it.

    Thank you.
     
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  19. lottaotter

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    I really want to get to this stage. Maybe some of it will come with age.

    OK that's good. There are a lot of expectations about coming out and I've only ever done it 1.) while drunk or 2.) slipped it into a conversation so subtly that people don't realise.