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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SL Letter of the Day: Gay Space

Posted by Dan Savage on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I am a newly out eighteen year old gay man. Because I am only recently revealing myself, I was wondering if there was something I could wear on my clothes or something I could do that would signify to other gay men that I am gay as well so they don't fear approaching me. I am a very tall and very built and I fear my appearance may be a little overwhelming or intimidating.

Muscling Out Now

My response after the jump...

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You're not old enough to get into gay bars, MON, and you may not be interested in the bar scene. It's also possible that you'll be disappointed and/or repulsed by the bar scene once you're old enough/fake-ID'd enough to get into the bars. But walking into a gay bar is a pretty efficient way to "signify to other gay men" that you're gay yourself—once you're old/ID'd enough—and rest assured that gay bars are full of gay men looking for that one special guy that they'll never have to go to another gay bar with ever again.

In the meantime... gay bars aren't the only gay spaces.

In college? There are queer student groups on most campuses. Not in college? There are queer youth groups and organizations in all major and many minor cities. Interested in politics? You should be, WON, because politics is interested in you. Go and volunteer for a gay political group or a liberal org or politician. There are coffee shops that are popular with gay people, you don't have to be 21 to join a gym in a gay neighborhood, and there are social organizations for gay men who are into the team/winter/water sports that built you. Get Googling. And you don't have to be 21 to enter the gay alternative/online universe: DudesNude, Grindr, Recon, etc. If you're not looking for a hookup—if you're looking to make some gay friends and maybe find a guy who wants to date—say exactly that in your profile, WON, and don't waste your time on guys who can't read.

And if you want to wear something that signifies your gayness, I would suggest something tasteful—maybe something with a rainbow. Or a unicorn. Or, better yet, with both. Or rainbows. You're still a teenager, WON, so you can get away with rainbows and unicorns.

Also: use condoms. And no anal sex on the first date—or the second or third. And just because a guy is gay doesn't mean he's nicer, better, kinder, gentler, or deserving of the benefit of the doubt. Gay people—even gay people wearing rainbows and unicorns—can be total shits too.

Welcome out. Have fun. Be careful.

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