So your friend/son/husband/brother comes out and then all of the sudden it is “gay” this and “queer” that. He starts watching HGTV, hosting dinner parties, and oh, geez, the tight t-shirts. Why is everything always about being gay so suddenly? Crap, straight guys don’t come out and are all in-your-face with their straightness.
Well, they do when they are thirteen.
Listen to the topics of conversation deacon and teacher’s quorums at Church and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what it is like to come out. Because, while gay guys went through adolescence, they didn’t quite do it like everyone else. When his straight counterparts were discovering their sexual identity through Baywatch and the intros to James Bond films, your local neighborhood gay kid was likely showing his respect for the opposite sex by avoiding dating and physical contact.
Once the kid finally does get the big, “holy crap…I’m gay?!” he is often transported back to thirteen, whether he be twenty-five or fifty-five and goes through “gay adolescence”. This is where a gay discovers his sexuality and the role it plays in his life (basically what every other kid did when they were a teenager).
A straight 15-year-old might explore his sexuality by conforming to the idea of straight man-ness that he perceives around him. (Why do you think they listen to rap all the time?) It can determine how he speaks, dresses, and interacts with those around him. He might go through several phases before he decides where he fits as a man in society.
With “gay adolescence” your newly-out loved one is discovering where he fits as a gay man in society. He may surround himself with gay friends, assume perceived gay stereotypes, and even start watching Ugly Betty. He is trying to find where he fits and he’ll probably talk about it…all the freaking time. Maybe he’ll even start and overly-introspective blog on the subject. (Isn’t that just the worst?)
Throw Mormonism into the mix and, like straight adolescence, you’ll never know what you are going to get. Where some guys might be content with a chaste self-discovery involving journal entries and scripture-study, others might throw themselves into a homo-whirlwind that involves a bottle-blonde named Chip and all the tackiest parts of a Gay Pride Parade. It’s a crap-shoot, that’s for sure. Reassuringly, like straight adolescence, gay adolescence does tend to tone down in its erraticness over time.
So if you look at your newly-out friend’s wardrobe and see the word “Lycra” all over the place, take a look at the shaggy haired kid passing the sacrament. In a relative few years, he’ll cut his hair, discover mellow indie rock, and get a job at a marketing firm. He’ll move on. So will your friend. He’ll still be gay, but he probably won’t feel the need to wear his “Gay Dumbledore” t-shirt anymore.