“When a Friend Denies He Is Gay”
Dear Bearded Confidant,
Hi again Bearded Confidant!
1. He's actually not gay, even if rather effeminate. (This is a possibility.)
2. He's uncomfortable being labeled. (This is surely true of your friend.)
3. He's not 100% sure about his sexuality. (This is very, very likely of your friend, as it is with a stunning percentage of the world's male population.)
4. He's careful about who knows his private business. (This is also surely true of your friend, as it is with any man who looks out for his own well-being.)
The way I do the math, it would have been highly unusual for your friend to have come out to you after being asked a point-blank question like that.
When he answered your question with another question, "Why, are you interested?" then the honest thing for you to have answered was, "Yes, I'm interested." You countered a possible falsehood on your friend's part with a falsehood of your own, making an awkward situation even more awkward. The inconvenient truth here is that if you weren't willing to be honest with your friend about your own sexual interests, you shouldn't have put him on the spot about his sexuality.
So is there a way to get your friend to be honest about his orientation? You can probably guess the answer now: it takes two to create an atmosphere of trust.
Since your friend answered "no" to being gay, it's pointless to ask him again. He might currently think he's not gay but will later come to terms with being homosexual (like a million other guys), meaning that he's technically not qualified to give an accurate answer. He might be afraid or otherwise unready to announce his homosexuality, so again his answer would be invalid. What your friend needs is to feel comfortable being his true self around his friends. He'll announce or not announce his sexuality as he deems appropriate. If he has good role models, questions will tend to answer themselves.