Disclaimer: I apologize in advance for what sounds like stereotyping of gays in this post. That’s not my intention! However, the stereotypes exist in our culture, and these cultural influences can have an effect on how a symbol appears in our dreams. The purpose of this post is only to illuminate a dream symbol, not to promote gay stereotypes!

If you’re gay then it’s natural for you to dream of gay people because they’re part of your life. But even straight people dream occasionally of gays. Let’s set aside the times when a gay person represents a real person in your life. Symbolically, gays in dreams have something to tell us about the “male” and “female” within us*, as you’ll see from a dream I had with a lesbian.

The Dream

I’m on the roof of a shopping center. I have to go down some steep stairs to get to the ground. This is rather scary. Behind me is a lesbian with short hair. She invites me to her place for a party. I’m attracted to her but also don’t want to be disappointed if she has a partner. I tell her I’d like to go but am hesitant. She urges me to come.

I’m then at her party with a friend. My friend and I wander into the bathroom. She tells me she wants to leave, which upsets me because I like being here with these relaxed people who let you be who you want to be.

The Male/Female Balance in Dreams

The gender of a dream character can refer to “male” or “female” parts of us. I’ve written elsewhere extensively about what these concepts represent, so I’ll just mention briefly the main characteristics that are traditionally associated with each:

  • Male: action, logical analysis, the intellect, creative manifestation, consciousness
  • Female: receptivity, intuition, emotions, creative gestation, the unconscious

An interesting thing happens with these when we’re dealing with gay characters in a dream. If you know anything about gay culture, you know that it challenges conventional ideas about “male” and “female.” The stereotype shows the gay man as emotional, sensitive, and catty, all characteristics traditionally associated with women. The stereotype of the gay woman shows her being aggressive, bossy, and physically strong, all associations to “male” characteristics.

Some cultures acknowledge these stereotypes but see them as a positive sign of internal balance. All human beings need to be active, rational, and manifest creative ideas but also emotional, intuitive, and receptive. A gay person in a dream can represent that integration of “male” and “female” characteristics, particularly if he or she looks or acts like the cultural stereotype.

Old photograph of a Native American male of the Zuni tribe dressed in female clothing.

Certain Native American tribes honor the two-spirit or berdache, who exhibit both “male” and “female” characteristics. We-Wa, a berdache of the Zuni tribe, circa 1871-1907. Photograph by John K. Hillers (1843-1905) from the National Archives and Records Administration. In the public domain.

Another way to see a gay person in a dream is the need to connect with a “male” or “female” part of yourself through “male” or “female” characteristics. If, for instance, you’re a guy and you dream of a gay man, this might be showing how you need to integrate conscious “male” characteristics with unconscious “male” characteristics. You might, for example, be taking action (a “male” characteristic) on some goal in the wrong way and need to change your actions, and the gay man is guiding you on why and how to do that.

Tip

When figuring out what a gay person in your dream is trying to tell you, consider these things:

  • How you interact with them: Are you attracted to them, as I was to the lesbian in my dream, or are you repulsed by them? Setting aside the idea that your reaction to a gay person in a dream simply reflects how you feel about gays in real life, this tells you something about how comfortable you are or aren’t with the “male/female” characteristics that the gay person represents.
  • The real-life situation of the dream: Figure out what the dream is guiding you on in your real life and see how that relates to “male/”female” characteristics. If, for example, you dream of a gay man who exhibits some “feminine” qualities and you know the situation is about a work project then the dream could be talking to you about balancing your actions with what you feel is right and wrong rather than relying solely on logical analysis to drive your decisions.

In my dream, the lesbian is a wise guide. I’m attracted to her because she represents two things:

  1. The balance of “male” and “female” or taking action on what feels right and what I really want to have in life.
  2. The bringing together of unconscious feelings with conscious feelings.

I hesitate to accept her offer of help and only do so after she encourages me not to be afraid. I’m also concerned in the dream that she has a partner, meaning I can’t have a closer relationship with her. My friend in the dream is a double, representing the part of me that feels uncomfortable doing this. The dream reflects conflicting feelings, wanting to get to know this part of me better and not wanting to get to know her better.

At the time I had this dream, I was working through a meditation program run by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra called Desire and Destiny. One of the biggest revelations I had during the meditation program was that I felt guilty about fulfilling my biggest life dreams. This dream was reflecting that conflict. The lesbian was the part of me that doesn’t feel guilty about fulfilling my desires, that knows that our satisfaction in life translates to us contributing to the world in the best way we can. I was being invited to embrace this part of me and liberate myself from this misplaced guilt.

Gay people in dreams have very important things to tell us about identity. They push us to question what we do and what we feel, how we think about things, and how we make decisions. As with all people who appear in dreams, they are both a part of us and guides that help us grow.

* I place “male” and “female” in quotation marks to emphasize that these are essentially placeholders for a group of certain characteristics. Traditionally these characteristics were identified with gender, but they actually apply to all of us. Frankly, I’d rather call them Group A Characteristics and Group B Characteristics, but that would be rather awkward, so I’ve stuck to the conventions.

June 19, 2014: I’ve had to close comments on this post as I’ve been getting too many juvenile ones from people who can’t discuss sexuality in a mature way.