The Etiquette Of Gay Debate

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Coming out of the closet once doesn’t mean you’ll be out forever.

We gay folk are constantly having to come out to new friends, colleagues and other random associates. And, when we don’t, can often be confused for a – gasp! – heterosexual, which can lead to some sticky situations.

Take, for example, the following query in the NY Times‘ new etiquette section: “You’re at someone’s house who starts talking about how wrong gay marriage is. You are gay. What do you do?”

Now, before you answer “punch them in the face,” consider homo-journo and etiquette columnist Philip Galanes’ more measured reply

Assuming you’re an advocate of gay marriage, you should calmly make your best argument for equal treatment. Your host may not have heard a persuasive case before – at least not by a gay man sitting in his living room. If, after a period of give and take, he persists in his view of “Adam and Eve,” not “Adam and Steve,” tell him you’ll have to agree to disagree, and leave it at that.

You may be annoyed for the rest of the evening, but the ability to differ in a civilized way speaks volumes to your character. Plus, there are so many excellent cleaning products on the market these days that spilling your boeuf bourguignon all over his sofa won’t leave permanent stains anyway.

Sly bitchery aside, it seems to us that Galanes offered some pretty good advice. No need to ruin a perfectly good party with something nasty like politics. Besides, why waste your evening trying to change one person’s mind?

Next week’s lesson: how to politely tell a trick they need to clean their shit.