Note: This post was post was originally published 2 years ago and in the wake of the Orlando shootings, I decided to republish it with the hopes that we as a community can establish a true bristerhood. Plus it’s LBGT month and we need something lighthearted.
Why are gay men so shady towards each other? That’s the question I often ask myself when I attend functions where there are gay men present. A gay function isn’t a gay function unless shade is being thrown or a read session occurs. With so much drama going on, you would think you were at a Real Housewives reunion taping instead of a gathering.
Admittedly, I’m guilty of participating in the shade throwing and the reading sessions(Forgive me, I have sinned). The reading sessions are intended to be harmless, however I wonder does any of the insults hit a nerve in the person being verbally assaulted.
What about not mingling outside of your clique at functions? I’ve been to several parties where no one mingles, but will stare at people and not speak, cackle with their good Judies or text on phone the whole time. Mind you, these are intimate gatherings at houses, not at a club.
Even on social media, the gays will read and shade over the most trivial details. If it’s not over their favorite diva, then it’s over their financial status(or lack thereof). Shade is even thrown over who is considered to be the “most famous on social media” and if you’re not popular, then you ain’t shit to them.
I’m guilty of participating in all three instances. However, I realized that my own insecurities played a major factor in my verbal assaults. As gay men, we often pretend our insecurities do not exist. Once our insecurities are exposed, rather than acknowledge and work on them, we verbally attack the person that reminds us of our insecurity. Instead of competing with each other, we should compliment each other as gay men.
For most of us, we have battled all of our lives. We have battled with family members. We have battled with society. We have battled with our identity. We have battled with our sexuality. You against the world. However, we may have different stories but we all have experience the same battles. So why battle each other?
In his article published on Huffington Post, “8 Things Gay Guys Should Start Saying to Each Other More Often,” life coach and fellow blogger Josh Hersh describes eight phrases that gay men should say to each other for encouragement. Hersh believes that if we say these to phrases to each other, Gayworld would be a pleasant place. I have listed some of my favorites with my interpretation of them.
1. I’m proud of who you are. Telling another person that you are proud of them for being just them goes along way. At times, we seek validation based on success or other superficial ideas. However, being a genuine good person or just being carefree is a few traits that you should acknowledge in each other as citizens of Gayworld.
2. Come join us. This goes back to attending functions where we only mingle and converse with people in our immediate circle or already acquainted with. If you see someone hanging out by themselves or feeling out of place, invite them over to join the group and conversation. We all want to accepted by our peers and plus meeting new people is fun. Hell, you might even get a date out of it(we’ll save that for another article).
3. What do you want from life? This is the question I usually ask the younger gays I mentor from time to time. Especially the ones who use social media as their personal diary. My reasoning for asking this question is because most of them spend their time on social media trying to impress people but will get depressed immediately when one of their follower call them on their bullshit. Instead of getting depressed over people they don’t even know, I asked them, “What do you want from life?”
I know asking that question can come across as shady. However, the purpose is to show the other person that you are truly interested in their goals and aspirations. We all have goals and aspirations that we like to share, especially with people who truly have our back.
4. Anything positive or encouraging. I know as gay men, it’s a sixth sense for us to read each other. Reading is fundamental I get that. However, encouragement and positivity is essential to the soul. Instead of reading someone for not reaching their potential, encourage them to become a better person and provide them with your positive energy.
5. How can I be a better friend? Asking this may bring your friendship closer because its gives your friend an opportunity to express how he feels about your friendship. It also expresses to him that you’re truly concern about his well being. At times, we are unaware of how our friendships may impact each other until we express it. Be apologetic and sympathetic, not confrontational when your friend expresses their expectations for your friendship.
Understand there is nothing wrong with joking and kiki-ing with your judies from time to time. However, make sure you encourage them as well. Also encourage a gay man that’s not in your friend circle, but you sense that he’s going through a rough patch. Let him know that you have back if he needs it. If we all make the effort to encourage each other, it will prevent the dynamic duo of Bitterness and Jaded from showing up at every gay function (and we ALL know those two bitches can ruining a party). In the words of Iyanla, I’m not my brother’s keeper, I am my brother.
What are some ways you can encourage others? Share your tips below.