DEAR ABBY: I spent my high school years chasing girls and participating in sports. I made good grades and was popular with peers and faculty.
I have since graduated and entered college. I have also come out of the closet as gay. Due to popular sites such as Facebook, I have reunited with old friends who are interested to hear about my "new life."
With those not "in the know," I feel uncomfortable having to come out of the closet again and again. I don't feel ashamed about myself or my boyfriend, but I feel a certain discomfort when my former and present lives meet.
I have many friends, old and new, gay and straight, who I care about. But I feel some anxiety over the reactions I get from some of those people, even though they no longer hold a prominent place in my life. I'd greatly appreciate it if you could tell me how to handle and deal with such situations. -- BETWIXT AND BETWEEN IN SAN ANTONIO
DEAR BETWIXT: I understand your anxiety, but the reaction you're getting from some of your old friends is a direct result of how effectively you hid your homosexuality behind chasing girls and the misperception that being a talented athlete has anything to do with a person's sexual orientation.
You need to accept the fact that people will be surprised because they assumed you were straight like they are. Some of them will be accepting; others won't. But the people who count will get beyond it. The way to handle this is with the same humor and compassion you would like from others. It may take some practice and coming to terms with your own feelings, but I have every confidence that you'll do it as thousands of other people have.