, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“I’m in college and just overheard my roommate telling her friend she doesn’t support marriage equality or parents telling their children it’s ok for girls to kiss girls. We’re friends but she doesn’t know I’m bisexual because I have a long term boyfriend, but this really got to me. I want to assert my pride and values but at the same time don’t want to ruin our friendship. Any advice?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Here’s the deal, your friendship is already kinda screwy. You ALREADY feel weird about the situation. Not saying something is only making you feel a little bit worse and it’s not making your friendship any better.

I would say something, but be kind in doing so. These kinds of conversations can go sour pretty fast if you’re trying to tell someone their beliefs are wrong. Being away at college is complicated, too, because you’re finally in an environment where you aren’t completely clouded by the thoughts / opinions of your parents and your parents friends, etc. You finally have a chance to start learning about the world in a different light, you finally get to meet people who are different from you, you finally get to experience life as your own and come to understand the way you truly feel.

Say to your friend, “Hey, I overheard you saying some stuff and I wanted to have a conversation. I do identify as bisexual and I know that you might not be totally okay with that, but we are friends and I do value our relationship. I just kind of wanted to talk to you about those things because what you said hurt my feelings and I just wanted to clear the air a little bit.”

I guess I sounded a little bit like a robot, but like YOU GET THE GIST. Be kind, recognize that people opinions can change, take into account that she was saying a bunch of things back when she had no idea that it would affect one of her close friends.


Kristin Says:

Hm. Well, in my opinion the key word in this question is “roommate.”

If this was a friend of yours, period, I would say one MILLION percent follow Dannielle’s advice above and have a respectful conversation with your friend. In that scenario, generally one of two things will happen: 1) Your friend will have a meaningful dialogue with you, both parties will feel mutually respected, and the friendship will deepen, or 2) Your friend will respond poorly to your words and reject your identity or make you feel disrespected in some way, and the friendship will wane. These are both excellent outcomes, because, as Dannielle already stated, you don’t want to deepen a relationship with someone who won’t respect your identity.

However, you have the added complication where, if the latter happens, you still are living with this person for the balance of the year.

With that in mind, I want to say:

It is March, which means you likely only have a couple more months of living in the same space. In this light, I think you should have that conversation as soon as you feel comfortable and ready.

Also, it issss March, so if you want to wait until the end of the semester and have the conversation when you are legit done living with this person, that is totally cool.

But again, it iiiiiisssss March. Just kidding, I don’t have another point that hinges on March …that just started to feel fun.

SO. The long and short of it all is: you have to navigate this situation as you see fit for yourself, and your comfortability. Your question is phrased in a way that makes me think you are worried about your friend’s feelings more than your own While I appreciate your big heart, that should not be your central focus. Your friend has said words and expressed views that invalidate you as a person. Your feelings are hurt, and they matter more than enough to be spoken, regardless of what that means for your friendship.

I agree with Dannielle that you expressing your position doesn’t need to automatically throw her in the “wrong” bin as this will likely make her defensive, but she has to learn that her opinions and words affect other people around her. Maybe you will be the first bisexual person she knows, and maybe hearing how her words affected you will open her eyes to the real, lived experience of so many people around her.

Hi! Our advice is always free for all to read & watch. Help us keep this gay ship chuggin’ by donating as little as $1/month over here on Patreon. xo


, , , , , , , , , ,

"Sometimes I feel like I am a bad activist. The other day at school, this boy was making sexist and racist comments about one of my classmates to her face. I was standing right there. I could have stepped in and stood up for her, but I didn’t. It was the same boy who has followed me home multiple times yelling “faggot” the whole way there. I guess my question is how do I not be afraid? I hate how much a stranger has scared me into not sticking up for what I believe in. What should I do?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Sara Kyle as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Sara Says:

Hi Anonymous,

This is a tough question, and let me tell you, you’re not the only one who has ever felt this way. I’m going to respond to your specific situation first, give you some general tactics that I use, and then we’ll talk about “bad” activism.

First of all, I can very much empathize with feeling like you know what you believe in, firmly, but then running into a hostile situation like this and not speaking up—and then feeling bad about not speaking up! But an important element of your question and the situation you’ve described is that it sounds like the boy who was bullying your classmate and you is an active, repeat offender. He didn’t just say something passively that may have been offensive, and you didn’t just miss a simple “teaching moment.” This person seems to habitually use biased language to intimidate others, and in a situation like this, my first instinct is that you do need to consider your safety before speaking up. I’m not saying you should fear words alone, or that you should never say anything, but if this specific person has followed you home while harassing you, I would be a bit wary, too.

I’ve run into some similar situations recently. In one case I was home from college, hanging out with old high school acquaintances, and started hearing things coming out of their mouths that made me want to launch myself across the table at them. But I had to consider that there was alcohol involved, there was no way for me to get home that night, and I was really outnumbered. As offended as I was, I didn’t feel safe speaking up to them in that situation. It bothered me every day for quite some time that I didn’t say something to “teach them all a lesson,” but I did what I could in the moment and tried to move forward with intention—more on that later.

If you weigh the risks of a given situation and find that you feel safe speaking directly to the offender, one of the most important things is to stay calm. The other person may raise their voice, pigeonhole your arguments, and do whatever they need to do to prove that you’re in the wrong. These reactions can be really upsetting, but even when your blood is boiling, I’d advise speaking as calmly and rationally as possible. Let me be clear—your emotions are valid. You should give yourself the time to embrace and digest them fully. However, when we fight with emotions, people in defense-mode are quick to declare us hysterical and ignore all of our words. So. Try to avoid pettiness, ask questions, and speak from your own experience if you can. For example, if I think someone would be receptive to constructive criticism from me, I might say something along the lines of, “So-and-So, what makes you think X? … I used to think X too, but I learned ABC and now I believe Y…” and move on from there.

Sometimes, you won’t feel safe speaking up. That’s okay. There are other things you can do to help the situation. If you hear someone using the terrible language you’ve described loudly, publicly, and often, they’re probably trying to draw some sort of attention. Whether they’re fully aware of the meanings of and damage caused by the words they’re using, or they’re just ignorant, they’re flexing their muscles and trying to show that they have power over you and others. This doesn’t mean you’re a “bad activist,” it means that this person is good at making other people feel bad. One of my rules of thumb: disengage to disarm. Don’t laugh at their joke, don’t antagonize, and remove yourself from the conversation if you need to and if you can. I also think one of the most important things you can do is offer your support to the other victim. Even if you can’t change the bully’s mind forever, right now, by yourself, you can still make a positive impact on another human by letting them know that you heard what he said, firmly believe that it’s wrong, and have their back. Maybe she’ll say the same to you.

Finding allies within and across communities is super important to affecting change. No one can do it alone, and unfortunately, the oppressor seldom listens to the voice of the oppressed. However, when the voices of the oppressed come together, incredible change becomes possible. Your classmate can be your first ally in this, maybe there’s a student organization you two could join to grow your support network and voice your concerns. Perhaps you can find a teacher and/or counselor to keep an eye on things and help discipline the bully at school. If your school isn’t supportive, maybe someone’s parents, a coach, or some adult person can, at the very least, try to help protect you and catalyze change. Find likeminded people, engage with them about this, and I can almost guarantee you’ll feel more empowered than you did on your own.

When I ran into similar hostility at the high-school-reunion-gone-bad, I was really frustrated with myself at first for not speaking up. In the moment, I stepped out of the room to collect myself and think about what I was feeling and what I would even say. I found someone else who was hurt by what was being said downstairs, and we approached our friend who was hosting the get-together to explain why we were uncomfortable and opened up a dialogue with her so that in the future, she can stand up to her other friends on behalf of us, or at the very least we can go into another scenario like this knowing we have her support. It didn’t cure the problem, but it helped. I still felt like a “bad activist” for days on end because I didn’t fix the problem I saw. But I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ll tell you how I’ve made peace with it.

I think that it’s easy to fall into thinking we’re not good at activism because we can’t always immediately fix the problems we see, even when it seems so simple. But there are SO MANY PROBLEMS in the world, and one person can’t solve all of them. One person can rarely solve one of them. It’s so daunting. To set yourself up for more success and less fear, I would start by throwing out the term “bad activist,” and thinking about what it means to be a “good activist.” I think that “good activism” is a lifelong pursuit.

You may not overthrow the bully or revolutionize the system overnight, and you may not be immediately or widely recognized for your work. I think, though, that there are certain elements that will help you stay on a “good activist” path for life. Be passionate about a cause, listen to the experiences of others, educate yourself constantly, take small actions in your own life and local community first, and align yourself with likeminded people. Don’t feel like you have to shoulder entire movements by yourself, but be intentional and purposeful every day. Keep humanity and justice in the front of your mind, and just keep going. If you can touch one life, that’s worth it.


Click through to read more about Sara and our other Second Opinions Panelists!


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"Hi guys. I have feelings for my friend... but her best friend is a bully. I want to tell her how I feel but I am afraid that if I tell her she will tell her best friend and then, well, I will get bullied. My town and my school are pretty conservative, too. What should I do?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

This is a bummer for a few reasons.

(1) You feel like you can’t talk to your friend about something personal, regardless of the thing. If you had an intense feeling about something that you wanted to be kept private, you wouldn’t feel safe telling your friend, and that blows.

(2) Your friend’s BFF was brought up in a household or community environment that taught them the way to feel best about who they are was to make others feel like horse shit. It’s super sad and it’s unfair to folks like you.

(3) You have intense feelings for someone who might not return them.

The (1) sucks so so so much. If you have a good enough relationship with your friend to be like ‘listen, I get some flak from your BFF sometimes and I would love to tell you a thing that maybe won’t make it’s way back to them?? So, I don’t have to think about how to protect myself?” Some people aren’t close enough to someone to say that though, and perhaps you’re afraid it’ll backfire and you’ll lose your friend. I totally get that. The (2) sucks because there isn’t much you can do about it. You can absolutely ask the BFF to leave you alone, or talk to an advisor about how to handle the sitch, or ignore it, but if we’re all being honest, there is a huge possibility doing those things will make the whole thing worse! So, you have to follow your gut. I don’t know your environment nearly as well as you do, so keep yourself safe and make decisions based on what feels right.

Now, the (3), I think you wouldn’t be nervous for one single second if you knew your friend was into you, too. A lot of this fear is based on what MIGHT happen. You could tell your friend about your feels and she could think you’re soooo weeeeiiirdd and then tell everyone about hooowww weeeiiirrdd you are and then everyone is making fun of you and her BFF is calling you ‘super gaywad fart breath’ and your friend doesn’t want to hang out with you and everyone at school starts ignoring you, etc… HOWEVER, if this gal is your friend, I don’t think that will happen. If she is really your friend, and you tell her your feels (coupled with the fact that you are not yet comfortable with everyone knowing), she should have the decency to respect you and your wishes. Regardless of whether or not she wants to make mouths with you. She will want to keep your feels to herself because she loves you as a friend. You know? Maybe evaluate your friendship in your mind. DO you think she’ll blab, or can you trust her? Start there, and best of luck!

Kristin Says:

Personally, I would take this in stages.

I think your concerns are valid, and we certainly don’t want to get you in a situation where you feel threatened in any way — emotionally, physically, or otherwise. So, we have to go to the root of this problem, and the root is your friend, not the bully.

I imagine that you are not friends with this bully, or, if you are, you keep a distance. Personally I have a lot of trouble with the term ‘bully,’ because I think it is much easier to put people in categories of ‘bad’ and ‘good,’ when in reality we are all struggling in different ways with what the world has taught us as tiny people — but that is another essay for another day. For now, I am going to put this person who bullies others on the shelf, and hone in on your friend.

You have to talk to her, and that doesn’t mean (at all) that you have to tell her about your feelings. Your first step is to talk to her about your feelings on this bullying. You’ve noticed it, so she must notice it too! Tell her that it has been making you uncomfortable, and that you want to know how it makes her feel. Tell her that you believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally, and that spouting off negative shit about gay or trans or bisexual people isn’t something you agree with. Any person, queer or not, can stand firmly in the opinion that making other people feel like shit is not cool.

Then, gauge her reaction. Is she immediately receptive? Does she say, “OH MY GOD I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO SAY SOMETHING THANK GOD, YES IT MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE TOO!”?? Is she hesitant, agreeing with you but unsure of how she feels?? Or, does she automatically make you feel weird for sharing your feelings, by saying something like, “Wow, what are you GAY or something??”

The first response is a great sign that you can trust her, in tiny steps, with your own feelings. Start with equality, work your way toward coming out to her, and then, if you still feel safe and trust her, you can tell her how you feel towards her. It’s a risk, of course, because perhaps she won’t return the feelings — but at least we’ve got you covered in this video! The second response will mean that you take even tinier steps on the same path, and just check in as you go. This is, truly, about your gut on whether she is trustworthy. The third response means that you should evaluate your friendship with this person. While we don’t have the opportunity to choose our families, we can choose our friends. It is so, so important to surround ourselves with friends who believe in us, who allow us to be ourselves, and who we can trust. If this girl can’t be trusted and won’t allow you the space to be you, it is time to walk away.


Hi! Our advice is always free for all to read & watch. Help us keep this gay ship chuggin’ by donating as little as $1/month over here on Patreon. xo


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"My dad is really homophobic and says queer boys are bad but queer girls are okay because they’re hot. I’m struggling with whether to come out or not as bisexual because of him. I don’t want to come out because I don’t want my dad to see me as hot plz respond"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

OH GOD. I HATE THIS. For so many reasons. First of all, saying queer boys are bad and queer girls are hot makes me cringe. Second of all, he’s creating an environment in which NO HUMAN WOULD FEEL COMFORTABLE COMING OUT.

If I were you I’d not-come-out-come-out. Hopefully you automatically understand what I mean and I don’t have to explain. Good luck! BYE!


What I mean by that is: I’d say “Here’s the thing, saying that makes me sort of uncomfortable because I feel like if I had a queer male friend you’d hate him / think he’s gross and then also if I were queer you’d think it was okay only because it’s ‘hot,’ and not because you think love is love and/or you are respectful of meORMYFRIENDS identities” … It’s kind of a mouthful (thatswhatshesaidOHGODIMSORRY), but it expresses what (i think) is a big part of the issue. It’s like, not about “queer girls are hot” as much as it is about that being THE ONLY thing, you know? There’s no respect or understanding or support, it’s just like “I’ll deal with it bc I like boobs and that’s extra boobs..”  Which is hella troubling.

It’s a much larger conversation, and I think if you have it in you, you should try to talk to him about it, or at least let him know what it makes you uncomfortable (on a larger scale). It sounds to me like he’s spouting a bunch of half-hearted feelings and not considering the feels of those around him, at ALL. Hopefully a little dialogue will help him become more understanding and open.

Kristin Says:

Ooph. This is a toughie. First of all, I don’t understand why your dad would want to share with you that he thinks ‘queer girls are hot’ in the first place. What does that even do? What is the point in even sharing that sort of thing with your kid? However, I can’t figure out the motives and reasons behind all the things that come out of your dad’s mouth, so I am just going to work with the facts at hand.

It’s totally fucked up to base your judgement of other human beings based on what gives you a personal boner. I am so sorry that I am now referencing your dad’s boner. This is going horribly. Let me try again.

Your dad is basically saying that anything that he PERSONALLY likes to look at is MORALLY or SOCIETALLY okay. Which makes him some kind of god-like figure who can point his finger willy-nilly at human beings and decide what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ based on how they make his insides feel. I am saying all of this because this is core of the discussion I would have with him, in your own words. If he says, “I like women together so that’s fine,” I would say something like, “I think that the identities of other human beings don’t get to be cast aside based on just what you like to personally think about, Dad.” Let him chew on that for a hot minute, you know?

Onto the next point: your dad has made you TOTALLY uncomfortable coming out to him because he has boiled your entire identity down to a sex act and, as you well know, your identity is way more complex than that. So, perhaps that is your second point of conversation. “Hey, Dad, you know there is a lot more to being queer than just people having sex, and I don’t know why you would reduce someone’s entire identity to one tiny thing.”

These little nuggets are good ways to start cracking open that ignorance that your dad is spouting before navigating into personal territory.

Which, brings me to my last point: your dad’s view of his daughter. I can’t promise you anything, but I have a pretty good idea that his tiny little bucket of girl-on-girl images is going to get turned on it’s motherfucking head when one of those girls happens to be someone he knows and loves, and not just a body. The likelihood is much more that, rather than thinking you are ‘just another hot queer woman,’ your dad is going to go through a serious process that undoes a lot of that fantasy-space in his head. AND WELL HE SHOULD, IT’S TOTALLY NOT COOL TO REDUCE HUMAN BEINGS TO SEX ACTS, YALL.

Do these things on your own time. Don’t feel you have to come out to him before your ready, or ever, for that matter. I would take small steps with conversations and just follow your heart. When we know someone close to us who comes out as LGBTQ, it has a way of changing perspectives enormously.

Good luck, and sorry about all that nonsense you have to sift through.


Everyone Is Gay has started a new project to help parents who have LGBTQ kids: Check out The Parents Project!


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"Hey, I’m a young FtM transgender guy and I just got called "it" for the first time. The person who said it meant it as a joke after my friends were explaining the pronoun thing, and they immediately addressed it and we all moved on. But now I can’t get it out of my head and I’m feeling down. I don’t hold it against him, because he didn’t know and he was just trying to be funny (he’s new around here too), but I just can’t seem to leave it alone. I’ve never felt this way before. How do I move on?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Liam Lowery as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Liam Says:

Oh, my friend. My heart aches for you. This is such a familiar feeling for me.

So many times in my life, a fun evening has been soured by someone saying something stupid about my gender identity. That person will forget what they said almost immediately, but hours later I’ll still be sitting up in bed, reeling from disappointment.

From your letter, I get the sense you can relate.

We’re not crazy, by the way. There is a reason it hurt so terribly to be called “it.” These comments are more than faux pas, or a failed joke. This is one of a list of slurs that have been the last words heard by those of our trans siblings who have been killed. Slurs like these are acts of violence unto themselves.

We are too valuable to be used for a cheap laugh.

Therefore, you need to come up with a plan: A first aid kit for those emergency moments.

First, you need to exit the situation safely. Why exit?

Think back to the night you described in your letter. The name-caller wasn’t trying to be mean. Your friends stood up for you in the moment (yay, friends!), and everyone moved on. Yet you still feel raw and hurt now.

I’ve found that by staying in that situation, I keep feeling dehumanized—even if it was said in a joking way, even if my friends stand up for me, even if I say it’s okay. By hanging around, it makes it seem as though disrespecting me isn’t that big of a deal. And I regret it later.

I also regret times I’ve engaged with the name-caller in the moment. I try to explain why the comment was hurtful, but instead of listening, the perpetrator gets defensive. This stinks, but it makes sense….I am calling him out in front of our mutual friends, and expressing why what they said was transphobic and hurtful to them, and an audience. And while it feels gratifying to call someone transphobic after they’ve hurt me, it ultimately shuts down the conversation and makes me seem brash. Jay Smooth, of Race Forward and Ill Doctrine, has a really helpful video  on how to call people out on racist comments. The same strategy can be very helpful in talking to someone about transphobic comments.

Right when the incident happens is not the best time to engage in a Transgender Identities 101 lecture with this person. Instead, you need to prioritize taking care of yourself.

When this happens to me, I say, “That’s not funny. I don’t appreciate hearing that, so I am going to head out.” Usually I can leave the location, but if you have to stay—like if your ride isn’t coming for another hour, or if you are at your family’s house and your sibling is the culprit—you might want to head to another room, or go take a walk around the block.

In the aftermath, address the three parties involved: your friends, the culprit, and yourself.

Let your friends know that you appreciated their support. This is, of course, what everyone should do, but the sad fact is many people don’t. And it never hurts to tell someone you appreciate them. But you also need to let them know that these comments are unacceptable, and that you will continue to leave the group hangout if you are disrespected, because there needs to be a consequence for making transphobic comments.

Next, there’s the perpetrator. If this person is going to keep hanging around, it’s worth it to take some time and address what happened. So contact the person—this can range from a text to an email. You don’t want to give them an out to start trying to defend themselves—or as Jay Smooth says in the video linked above, you don’t want to twist a conversation about what they did into a conversation about what they are.

If you decide to talk to this person, be clear: this is not a discussion. This is not two people on equal footing expressing their feelings. This is an intervention, because this person majorly messed up. So be clear: tell them never to call you, or anyone else, “it.” Tell them to back off of any “jokes” about trans folks. Tell them that the trans community is languishing in poverty, depression, and violence because many cis people think our identities are jokes.

Don’t get too deep, though. Though you are a beacon of light, there is a dark side at play here. Trans people, especially those of us who are open and communicative about our identities, are heirs to a legacy of faux-guruism. Often, we are treated like we exist to make cis people really think about gender for the first time. We are our own people. We don’t exist to teach anyone else. Don’t be part of toxic ecosystem. You are not getting paid to be this person’s Gender 101 professor. So in closing, suggest that this person read a book like Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, or check out online resources to get more information.

Then there’s you. Be proud for standing up for yourself. You don’t know what will happen, but you can feel hope. Hope that this person will come around. Hope that your friends will continue to support you in your journey. Hope that the small actions we take with great love can better our world for everyone in it.


Click through to read more about Liam and our other Second Opinions panelists!

Everyone Is Gay has started a new project to help parents who have LGBTQ kids: Check out The Parents Project!