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What Makes Queer Friendship Special?

January 24, 2024 Daniel Lyons

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about queer friendship and how special and wonderful it can be. Part of why I am thinking about this is that when I came out as transgender four years ago, I lost a lot of my non-queer friends. It was really painful. They just couldn't show up for me as I transitioned more fully into my life as Daniel. While it was painful and hard to lose so many friends (and even some family members), this loss paved the way for me to make new queer friends. In these queer relationships, I started to see I could be myself. There was a layer of authenticity to my queer friendships that was missing in my previous life. Today, I'll break down a few of the elements that make queer friendship so affirming. At the end of this post, I will also share tips on how to make new queer friends if you find yourself wanting more in the queer friendship department. 

4 Elements of Queer Friendship I Love

  1. Queer friendships can be healing. For so many queer folks, we come from backgrounds that have not been affirming of our identities and who we are. Many queer folks I know have had to break ties with their families of origin or churches of origin due to a lack of acceptance and conditional love. Queer friendships can provide a space to heal from these dynamics and to be ourselves without the worry of retaliation. Many of us experience unconditional love in queer friendships where we are just allowed to show up as we are without an expectation we will change or go back to our previous selves. This is where the healing comes in. For me, after leaving the church when I came out, queer friendships have allowed me a space to heal and reclaim who I am, which leads me to my next point. 
  2. Queer friendships are authentic. In healthy queer friendships, there is room to be yourself truly. Many of us are accustomed to having to wear masks of inauthenticity in our relationships, but queer friendships allow room for us just to be us and to drop the masks. For me, this has meant space to try on new pronouns and even new names as my gender evolves and shifts. For those of us who have had to hide parts of ourselves in other relationships, this is one of the ways that healing can happen by authentically being ourselves. 
  3. Queer friendships are fun. From pride events to drag shows to queer bars and our strong community events, there is never a lack of fun things to do (although I do want to acknowledge that access to these events can depend on where you live and if it's an urban or rural space). Queer friendships can be really fun. I'll talk more below in the video about spaces where you can make new queer friends and access fun events like the ones I've mentioned here. 
  4. Queer friendships allow space for personal growth and evolution. One of the things I've loved about my queer friendships is that there is room to grow. I don't feel I have to be static or stay the same in my queer relationships. If my gender or my sexuality shifts, I don't feel I have to explain myself. A healthy queer friendship embraces fluidity and growth. 

Tips to Make Queer Friendships

Are you reading this and wishing you had more queer friends? It's okay — I've been there, too. In the below video, I will share some tips for making new friends in the queer community. 

There are two final things I want to note. Not all queer friendships are healthy and perfect, and not all fit the above descriptions. I have certainly had queer friendships that I had to end because of unhealthy dynamics or because one of the above elements wasn't present. We are not perfect and queer friendships are subject to unhealthy dynamics just like any other relationship system. 

Also, while most of my friends are queer these days, not all of them are. I don't want to imply that queer folk can't have happy and healthy relationships with people who are not queer. Of course, we can. One of my dearest friends has been by my side since long before I came out as Daniel, and our relationship is many of the above things, too, even though our identities are quite different. 

APA Reference
Lyons, D. (2024, January 24). What Makes Queer Friendship Special?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2024/1/what-makes-queer-friendship-special



Author: Daniel Lyons

Daniel Lyons (they/he) is a writer and mental health therapist who is passionate about the intersections of gender, sexuality, and mental health, and he lives in Oakland, California, with his service dog Noche. Find Daniel on Instagram and Medium.

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