When a person comes out to you, keep in mind that the person has not changed. The relationship you established with that person stays the same. It’s just another label, and there are layers and layers of labels that we all put on ourselves and that we give to each other. So when you learn this new information about somebody, does it really change the soul of the relationship? Are your feelings rich enough and deep enough that you established a relationship because you love this person? Or were your feelings so superficial that now that you’ve learned this element about this person, it’s enough to cause you concern? It’s a personal question that you have to ask yourself. If you love a person, if you’re friends with a person, if you cherish a person, then those labels shouldn’t matter.
When it comes to Michael, he’s my brother. When he came out to me, my response was basically, “And? That doesn’t change who you are to me.” I think he expected there to be more to it, but there were no tears, no anger, no argument, and no confusion because it just was. If I argue with him, it’s because of sibling matters, not because of his sexuality. The first thing I think about my brother is not ‘gay man’ or ‘gay Black man.’ Instead I think of him as a driven professional, one of the smartest people I know, a strong man — both physically and mentally — who is supportive of his family and friends. Those are the kinds of things that come first. Those are the kinds of things that should come first.