A Gay's Best Friend: Enlightened Straight Guys Are Providing Solace and Understanding to a Growing Number of Young Male Queers

Article excerpt

Kevin Brewer is a popular, attractive, straight football star at Mt. Hebron High School in Maryland. And the 17-year-old senior is also a proud friend of classmate Luke Johnson, who just happens to be gay. "Gays should be treated no differently than anyone else in America," Brewer says. "We're exactly the same, right? Just a different preference."

As the latest generation embraces gay fights in a way their parents did not, many young queer males are finding it easier to come out and maintain friendships with their straight male friends.

"When I first decided to come out, I made a conscious decision to tell [Kevin] first," says Johnson. "I felt like I had to--he had been there for me so many times, and I would think that he would want me to tell him."

But the faith he had in his friend didn't come without fear. "Oh, God, was I terrified," Johnson admits. "Even though we didn't live in a really homophobic place, there was still that stigma."

But Brewer exceeded his expectations and continued to be the friend that Johnson had known him to be. "Nothing changed. The earth didn't explode, and the sky didn't collapse," Brewer says. "Luke was the exact same person, who happened to like guys. Big deal."

Greg Speck, 20, remembers when he first learned that his friend Alex Plaxen, also 20, is gay. "He actually mentioned it in casual conversation," Speck recalls. "And I'll admit it made him all the more interesting. …

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