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Gay teen feeling pressured to come out

DEAR AMY: I am a 17-year-old gay male, and I was raised in a Latter-day Saints family. A few months ago, I came out to my close friend "Renee." She took it well, and she continued to ask questions about my being gay in a Mormon family. She later told me that keeping my sexuality a secret because of my religion was "taking the easy way out." I was very offended, but I patiently explained to her that living with this secret is anything but easy. Since then, she has continued to make similar comments, and I cannot bear her negativity anymore. I have tried to ease out of this friendship, but it has proven difficult because we are involved in the same activities and work together as board members for some clubs. As I prepare to come out, I would like to only be surrounded by people who love and support me. How can I move out of this friendship?

-- Want to Exit

DEAR WANT: The best way to move out of this friendship is to (metaphorically, anyway) have your bags packed and the car idling, as you back away slowly and then basically beat feet down the driveway.

Eventually, and in retrospect, you may find this sort of busybody interference about your deepest motives endearing on some level because, well, "Renee" has really put a lot of thought and theorizing into your personal life. She cares, way too much.

The way to end a friendship is to stop sharing intimacies and behave politely when you are forced together. If she questions this, tell her you don't like her second-guessing your motives about something so deep, personal and important.

When you are ready to come out, you will. It would be nice to be only surrounded by loving and supportive people, but life doesn't always work that way, partly because the Renees of the world are out there throughout your life. If they cannot be avoided, then they must be endured -- at least every five years, at your high school reunion.

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