I came out pretty late, at 21, and was lucky enough to come out to gay friends and this community that supported me. At the time it felt great to be part of a community and have friends who understood me, since we shared culture, religion and sexuality.
After the initial friendship turned sour, I met some more lesbians, but I realized that I couldn't quite fit in with them. And if I did fit in with them, there was a bit too much drama involved for my liking. I gave up on finding gay friends after that.
As time has passed, I have made some pretty amazing friends and have come out to the closest few that were already there. Now I am surrounded by people who don't treat me any different, where the fact that I'm gay is just a little fact, like I prefer contrasting colors and love music by bands no one has heard of.
It was a turning point for me, realizing that true friendship was not defined by whether they shared my sexuality or not. My troubles may be unique to me, but so are theirs and we find common ground. And even if we don't, we are empathetic, compassionate and understanding with one another. That's what friendship is really made of, I think. They don't need to be gay to understand me and I don't need to be straight to understand them.
Now if you're going to say, "Edel, it's easy for you to say. You may not have best friends who are gay but you do have a girlfriend" I'm going to tell you that if I had continued to believe that only people from the LGBTQ community can understand me AND had a girlfriend, I would have been lonelier for it. I can discuss my relationship with my friends just like they do theirs. We don't need matching sexualities to understand and form meaningful connections with people.
I know what it's like to feel different from everyone around us, so out of place, that we long to belong to a community or have like-minded friends so we don't feel alone. I think we bring that loneliness upon ourselves and it's not for a lack of friends who are like us.
Your sexuality is not all of who you are, it's just a part of you. There is so much more to you that you'll be selling yourself short if you only see yourself as LGBTQ.
So what I'm trying to say is that that you need to learn to accept yourself as you are and choose to surround yourself with people who accept you as you accept yourself, be they gay, straight or whatever.
Thanks for reading!