For my Queer Men Thrive group this week, we discussed what it means to be authentic as a queer man and as a person. Many men on the apps and online are not entirely authentic. We discussed what they might be hiding. Is there shame in some aspects of their identity? Are there insecurities that prevent them from being honest?
We also discussed what it means to live authentically, to live your truth day in and day out. An interesting point that was made revolved around being "less queer" in spaces where we weren't sure of the acceptance level, like with family members or heterosexual male colleagues and friends. Are we still genuinely authentic by changing our focus to traditionally straight topics and toning down our queerness? Or perhaps this is a necessary protective mechanism so we can survive.
Authenticity can also be sticking up for what you believe in. Members talked about sometimes being disagreeable to assert your needs or opinion and not being afraid to stand up for yourself. We also discussed when to pick your battles as not everything needs to be a conversation. It is essential to help colleagues and friends understand when they did something wrong or miscommunication. This was highly favored over going to our boss or other higher-ups before confronting the problem head-on first.
Overall, being authentic allows us to form more extraordinary friendships and collegial and romantic connections in our lives. We should assert our needs and be proud of our queer identity. We can't always choose our family, but we can choose friends who share our values, and we should never be afraid to ask for what we want.