Most Influential Gay Man/Men In Your Life

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    Aug 19, 2013 4:20 AM GMT
    This topic in another thread has been derailed by a flame war there, but I thought it deserved another chance.

    Who would you propose as the most influential gay man or men in your own life? Some famous figure you never met or a guy you grew up with? Your first gay lover, BF, partner, family member, who?

    My own is the guy who brought me out, through our online chats and emails. And after I had come out he met me in person and offered to be my mentor, to teach me about the gay world.

    First he shared his great knowledge about HIV/AIDS and safe sex, insisting I always practice it (though he & I never had sex together). He introduced me to the gay club scene and became my wingman, keeping me out of trouble and avoiding stupid beginner's mistakes. I also learned from him about the importance of HIV/AIDS charity work like he himself did, and which I continue doing today.

    Because of him I finally came out. And I came out healthy & happy, which I remain 18 years later, that have been the best of my life thanks to him. And hardly a day goes by that I don't think about what he did for me, how he got me started out so well, how he really gave me this new life I love so much. No one has been more influential than him, because he made it all happen for me.
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    Aug 19, 2013 4:59 AM GMT
    My best (platonic) friend. He came into my life when I was at my lowest and firmly planted himself next to me. We've shared the most vulnerable parts of our lives without judgement or scorn. He'll always stop whatever he's doing if he senses I need a shoulder to cry on. We can sit for hours and talk about ANYTHING. He always greets me with a hug, and we never part company without telling each other "I love you" (and mean it.)

    There is no one in my life that I am closer to than him. He's my best drinking buddy, my best wingman, my closest confidant, my BEST friend. It's a rare and special thing to find someone who will remain your friend forever. I count my blessings that I have that friend in him.
  • AMoonHawk

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    Aug 19, 2013 5:27 AM GMT
    A guy 20 years my senior I lived with for 4 years. Not because he was a good influence, but because living with him made me realize how screwed up I had allowed my life to become.
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    Aug 19, 2013 5:28 AM GMT
    My friend Zach even though he now lives in New Mexico he was the best gay figure in my life and my best friend. He made coming out in high school so much easier for me. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 19, 2013 5:34 AM GMT
    I was fortunate growing up around the San Francisco Bay Area to have known some outstanding gay couples while growing up - men and women. People of true kindness, accomplishment, and with a sense of style and adventure. I looked up to them all as a kid - especially when I figured I noticed guys much more than girls when out & about. I saw these couples as smart, full of style & savoir faire, and saw how well they integrated into social settings. I knew I'd have a similar life someday - and here it is.
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    Aug 19, 2013 5:43 AM GMT
    I haven't met him, but John Waters and his movies have had quite the effect on me. I could see my own weirdness and humor reflected through his characters. He basically confirmed for me that life is a bizarre and alienating experience full of grotesques.

    john_waters.jpg
  • heyom

    Posts: 389

    Aug 19, 2013 6:50 AM GMT
    Probably one of my high school classmates,. who went on to cross-dressing, started a gay rights-organisation in my country, and began to throw gay parties.

    besides that also, my lesbian sister of course.
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    Aug 19, 2013 6:51 AM GMT
    BlackCat
  • ATLANTIS7

    Posts: 1213

    Aug 19, 2013 6:52 AM GMT
    Myself!
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    Aug 19, 2013 7:27 AM GMT
    alg-johnny-weir-jpg.jpg
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    Aug 19, 2013 10:48 AM GMT
    My cousin Seppe and his live-in boyfriend Manny pretty much taught me how to be gay and retain my current goals. Seppe is was a green beret and Manny is a navy seal currently. Not that I wanted to go military, but they taught me that stereotypes don't matter and that I can be/do anything. Whether you're fem or masculine, don't change just because you think society expects you to.
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    Aug 19, 2013 11:04 AM GMT
    My friend Nick, who's close to my parents' age. I met him on Pride weekend in NY in 2012 only a year after I came out. He's been the most unbelievable mentor and friend whom I could approach with anything. Not to mention the funniest person I know, and someone I have startling similarities with.

    Maybe I'll get him to join the site!
  • IAmTheOneWhoK...

    Posts: 154

    Aug 19, 2013 12:29 PM GMT
    Ellen Degeneres Xp
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    Aug 19, 2013 12:42 PM GMT
    Alistair Griffiths, but influence can be negative as well as positive....lol
  • Amelorn

    Posts: 231

    Aug 19, 2013 1:03 PM GMT
    It occurred to me that I don't have a personal contact in this regard.

    I have a gay uncle who I am not on speaking terms with. My family (other side of the world), including this uncle, do not know about my sexuality. This uncle experienced a near-fatal brain infection as a consequence of AIDS, the effects of his medications, in addition to other stresses, and as a result, is a very different person psychologically today versus the uncle I knew as a child. A taciturn, but humorous man from the year 2000 is now vocal, cynical, embittered, hypocritical, and "off." Breaking contact has been easier than fighting.

    It's something I lack, and it's part of the reason I feel cut-off from the "community."
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    Aug 19, 2013 1:14 PM GMT
    Impressive answers, guys, and obviously sincere, thanks.

    BTW, interesting that some of you mentioned women, like Ellen (perhaps ironically but love her, and she's had some influence on me). I was just following the outline of that preexisting thread I mentioned, plus I thought deliberately limiting this to men would confine answers more to the classic male mentoring and role models, transposed to the gay community.

    But all answers are good, please post whatever is the right one for you.
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    Aug 19, 2013 2:31 PM GMT
    I was supposed to let people influence me? I must have fucked up. Oh now I feel bad.

    I know I'm affected by people around me, that they trigger different responses but influence to me indicates some change, that I would be someone different were it not for them and I just don't see that in myself. I'm pretty much the same kid I always was. Some people never learn and some of them always knew. I'm one or the other of those.
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    Aug 19, 2013 3:13 PM GMT
    My mentor who I did not know was gay until I told him I was gay and he admitted that he was gay too, and I was struck dumb, but I had learned a lot from him...but he is one of the two guys in my life that are coolest people in my world icon_smile.gif.
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    Aug 19, 2013 3:24 PM GMT
    He's straight but he's one of my good friends from college. Very good guy. Always looking out for people and being kind, even when he had his own moments with depression. He really put it into perspective that I should live my life with positivity and honor. To top it off he left one of the most touching letters in my yearbook that sealed the deal lol.
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    Aug 19, 2013 9:43 PM GMT
    TheJester saidMy mentor who I did not know was gay until I told him I was gay and he admitted that he was gay too, and I was struck dumb, but I had learned a lot from him...but he is one of the two guys in my life that are coolest people in my world icon_smile.gif.

    Something along those lines also happened with my future mentor. I did know he was gay, and we emailed about gay topics.

    He refuted as myth that most gay men are effeminate, but they can be fully masculine, and successfully occupy every stereotypical male career field, including sports and the military. That understanding is what broke down my own denial mechanism, that had prevented me from accepting the truth of my own orientation. I had honestly believed in order to be gay you had to be a total fem who liked to wear women's clothing, and since I didn't do that I couldn't be gay, in spite of how I felt about men.

    So OK, I email back to him that I now realize I'm gay myself, always have been but wouldn't believe it before, because of those same male stereotypes. And he emails me back to reconsider, because I seemed too masculine to be gay! HUH??? TOO masculine? What have you just been telling me?

    He was really afraid of the thought that he had inadvertently "recruited" me, and told me that maybe I was going through a mid-life crisis at 45. In a way I was kinda hurt, I thought he'd be excited and happy for me.

    But I countered by listing all the tangible evidence of my being gay, many years before I ever contacted him, that I had been alternately suppressing & rationalizing in my mind. I think my buying Playgirl magazines beginning in the 1970s to beat-off with finally convinced him, because after he got that email he sent back a 1-word reply: "OPPPS!" LMAO!

    That's when we agreed to finally meet in person, and his mentoring relationship with me began. I count myself so lucky to have found that guy, and had his wisdom & support as I was coming out. icon_biggrin.gif
  • samlenon

    Posts: 62

    Aug 19, 2013 9:51 PM GMT
    What a good topic..far better than all those shit threads keeping us update about the last hairstyle of Beyonce!

    There were 2 guys in my life I have been so lucky for having them ..there were my 2 ex-bfs who really taught me ,unconsciously, how to discover myself & the new aspects of my life, my capabilities. .
    I know u both will never read this but Tnx R for all those details we always talked and talked about .For ur patience,care, devotion & being a wonderful listener to all my confesses and shits and u 've never judged & for all those details we discovered in our life,our characters, people, music & all wonderful places. and you P ,u were the guy who did it; like a change of skin..u taught me to how important it is to give & receive "love" and the joy of sharing moments and life.
    Tnx 4 ur being.
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    Aug 19, 2013 10:10 PM GMT
    No single person influenced me as much as myself.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 19, 2013 10:20 PM GMT
    There's no one who really stands out. I don't know many gay people personally and have never really followed any famous gay people. I guess my uncle sort of fits the bill though: it's because of him that I grew up thinking that being gay was no big deal, thus making it relatively easy for me to come to terms with my sexuality. I call him about once a month to chat and also when I need advice about being gay.
  • nomad4life

    Posts: 332

    Aug 19, 2013 11:08 PM GMT
    ART_DECO saidImpressive answers, guys, and obviously sincere, thanks.

    BTW, interesting that some of you mentioned women, like Ellen (perhaps ironically but love her, and she's had some influence on me). I was just following the outline of that preexisting thread I mentioned, plus I thought deliberately limiting this to men would confine answers more to the classic male mentoring and role models, transposed to the gay community.

    But all answers are good, please post whatever is the right one for you.


    So we're allowed to use women? Because the most influential (one of the most of ANY person in my life) was Abigail. She taught me that a person's sexuality didn't have to define them. That it could nonchalantly be said in conversation and most of the people we were friends with wouldn't care. She gave me the strength I needed to finally start coming out and single handedly changed my life. I made sure to tell her this on the last night I saw her when she graduated a year ahead of me.

    If we keep to men, then James. He's the guy who took me to my first couple of nightclubs and introduced a whole new world to me. He's also one of the first two people to come running to the hospital when word got out about my accident.
  • nomad4life

    Posts: 332

    Aug 19, 2013 11:09 PM GMT
    samlenon saidWhat a good topic..far better than all those shit threads keeping us update about the last hairstyle of Beyonce!

    There were 2 guys in my life I have been so lucky for having them ..there were my 2 ex-bfs who really taught me ,unconsciously, how to discover myself & the new aspects of my life, my capabilities. .
    I know u both will never read this but Tnx R for all those details we always talked and talked about .For ur patience,care, devotion & being a wonderful listener to all my confesses and shits and u 've never judged & for all those details we discovered in our life,our characters, people, music & all wonderful places. and you P ,u were the guy who did it; like a change of skin..u taught me to how important it is to give & receive "love" and the joy of sharing moments and life.
    Tnx 4 ur being.


    You should tell R and P. Make sure they know what they meant to you