In finding one’s way out of the closet, there are many landmines of which to be wary. As any woman will tell you, men can be pigs, and gay men may have the same failings these women bemoan. Maybe watch Dr. Phil to learn how to deal with that; me, I just recommend having the luck of finding a good guy from the start :-). But, in my observations, gay men seem to have a couple unique sorts of bad actors, due to our place in society and the trials of coming out. So, in accordance with broadcasting standards, I offer this psa. Newly out gay men, be on the look out for:
The Gay Samaritan -- This guy knows you’re confused, sexually pressurized, and looking for help. He’ll use that to take advantage of you. He’s like the creepy guy at a bar ready to dump a roofie in some girl’s drink, but, for this guy, his target doesn’t need to be drugged; they come vulnerable and confused from the stress of coming out. I’ve been hit on by such a creature; I’ve seen him switch from a selfless savior to horney sailor in the middle of a sentence. I gratefully never went for it, probably due to the fact that I had a large network of platonic help in my coming out from friends to family, but I do know a number of gay men who fell for the tricks of the Gay Samaritan. The newly out be warned.
Now, I don’t want to spread too much suspicion :-); of the helpful gays in the community I’m sure only a small fraction has ulterior motives. I know this may also sound like I’m saying that people should be suspicious of my attempts to help newly-out gay men, and, really, they should. Just as I encourage the clerk to verify the signature on my credit card, I think such suspicion is healthy. I know my motivations. I know they are to help and that I’d want another man in my bed as much as a woman (which is to say not at all :-)), but you can’t really know another’s motivation and, when you are coming out, you are vulnerable. Simply, all help coming out should be platonic help; after that’s done and your world has stopped shaking, then find a man :-). Along the way, trust a helping hand; just don’t follow it into a bedroom, or back alley, or what have you.
The Prodigal Gay -- This guy is addicted to repentance, even for false sins. Do not fall for a Prodigal Gay. He will cycle back into a “gay is evil, and I’m a repentant sinner” mode. This will break your heart. I’ve known a guy who’s waited decades for his prodigal gay to stop oscillating, even after his lover married a woman and took a relatively high position in the LDS church. Last we spoke this out gay guy was still periodically letting his lover into his heart and home. Don’t think you can save a prodigal gay from himself either; he knows what he’s doing at each cycle, even though he feels sincere about it. It simply pleases him.
The Prodigal Gay Samaritan -- This guy will hook up with another just coming out, and use the romantic love that develops to pull his target into his prodigal gay cycle when he decides to become the repentant sinner again. This is doubly dangerous. Simply, never have a romantic relationship of any sort while you are coming out or with a person who will feel guilty about it. It’s the law. Just say no, and so on.
The Crazy Gay -- Let’s face it. Some folks don’t exit the closet with all they went in with. It can leave some… um… a couple eggs short of a quiche. It’s unfortunate, but you can’t save these folks either. They’ve been hurt deeply by people who they thought they could trust and they have a lot to work out with those people before they should be considered marriage material. Before that, if you try to make a relationship with them, you’ll spend your time battling demons meant for their parents, friends, and so on. It’s great to be their friend, and love them as a friend, but, in my observations, romantic love and trust with such a damaged person will be more of a chore than a blessing.
The Machiavellian Gay -- This guy wants’ power and the microcosm of the gay community is as fine a place as any to get it. He’ll not look to you for romance. He’s more of a Nixon than a Bill Clinton. These folks aren’t in charge of the gay community in Utah anymore, but they were when I was coming out and I still butt heads with them. It’s the same in many minority groups, though. They’ll eat their own, try to pull others down so that they can get higher, and, once in control, punish dissent. Of the gays I’d warn about though, these are men to be confronted, not avoided.
Of course, there are many great people in the gay community; just as in any other. I hope I wasn’t too negative, and didn’t give ammo to enemies here :-). But, in a society that is resistive to gay relationships, there are certain characteristics created in this minority group that lead to some unique pitfalls and bad actors. The newly out should take care.