My friend has identified himself as gay and is in high school. He told some people that he was gay. He thought he came out to people who would respect him and support him, but unfortunately they now avoid him or treat him differently because of his sexual orientation. He is very hurt by this, especially since it was through these students that his parents found out before he was ready to personally tell them. He has been turning to me; maybe because he feels safe coming to me, or maybe for a different reason. As much as I am trying to help him out and support him, he feels down and says that he feels jealous of the popular kids at school because they have friends. I know older adults who are identify themselves in the LGBTQ community, but I am not sure if it would be appropriate to go up to them and ask their advice on how to help my friend. I just feel that what I am trying to do for him is not enough to help him since he still feels lonely and depressed, and I’m not sure what else I can do.
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Thank you for taking the time to write The Trevor Project! Please feel free to email us any questions or concerns that you have! We are more than happy to take the time to answer them and give you the very best advice that we can!
Coming out is one of the hardest things anyone can do in today’s society. It takes so much courage because of the negative reactions of so many. Unfortunately in your friend’s case, he is a victim of homophobia. The pain and hurt that he feels is no different than thousands of other LGBT youth across the world. All that you have to do to help him with his hurt is just to always be there for him. Just talk him through what he is thinking and try to get him to look at his issues differently. He is going to need people to lean on and you are obviously the right person to do that. You may feel as though you aren’t helping out or that your support isn’t working but trust me, he needs you and it will work.
One thing that I personally would suggest would be to have him write or create poems. When I have been struggling with issues and pain in life, and create short stories or poems to express those feelings, I am getting them out of my head. After writing them, I can think more clearly about the real issues behind the problems. I can see and analyze what is going on inside my mind. Another idea would be to have him watch the movie, ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower.’ It so importantly portrays why the unpopular and the introverted are so valuable! It helped changed my perspective on the role that I play in my friend’s lives and I think it will help to shake up his view of the importance of being popular. We all have major issues in our life, including the popular, just some of us are better at actors/actresses covering them up.
He can also get connected and meet others through TrevorSpace, an LGBT safe, bully-free online network much like facebook. Here he can meet others who are going through the same issues and talk to them to get advice. There is probably someone out there going through the same exact situation that he may meet and see how they are exactly dealing with the hurt and the pain. As far as asking any other older LGBT individuals, if you feel as though you are comfortable asking them that question and trust them, then I don’t think it would be a bad idea just to get their advice as well. They might have some valuable wisdom and insight already having been through these issues!
We become depressed and feel ‘down’ when we are focused on our own problems. Honestly, my best advice to give when you are feeling depressed, is to volunteer. Find a food bank and feed the hungry. Get involved in an after school program tutoring elementary kids. Go visit the elderly and entertain them at their retirement homes. Or just look for people who are hurting and lonely at school and help them feel more loved. It may not sound like a lot of fun to him, or quite frankly to anyone but it’s simply priceless. You are taking the focus off of your own problems and working toward helping others. It is a self-therapeutic method that works. Trust me, as a once severely depressed 23 year old, this is what has gotten me through it.
You’re friend needs you. He needs you to be there for him. He needs you to talk to. He needs your shoulder to lean on and hand to hold. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to have the absolute solution. All you need is the love for your friend that you have, and to let it show. It will get better. I promise. Always check up on him and make sure that he is okay and not in the process of hurting himself. But I can tell that I don’t have to tell you that. You are such an amazing friend. I can’t tell you how impressed and inspired I am by you. Why? Because you took the time to write The Trevor Project just to help out your friend. You care about your friend and are willing to do what it takes to help him out. That takes strength. Thanks for being such a great friend for him! Keep up the great work! And email us again any other questions that you have!