He may have better style than you, but he’s more than a breathing Calvin Klein mannequin.
Happy Pride Month! On the first day of June, I wished this to two of my closest friends. The celebrations during this month apply to all of us but especially to them. They are proud to be gay, and I am proud to have them as my friends. Many girls like me are proud to celebrate friendships like this – for some, however, the pride exists for all the wrong reasons.
We’ve all heard the squeal from that girl: “I just want a gay best friend!” That girl might even be you. It’s become the norm in our society: a girl’s desire to want a gay best friend. Some may even consider it a fad to be friends with a gay guy. Hey, endless shopping sprees, a fake boyfriend to yank over when you’re getting creepily hit on, and a harmless boy to compliment how good your boobs look in that top. Seems dreamy, right? Although this norm may seem endearing to the gay community, in reality, statements like the one above are degrading.
It’s worth noting that just to ensure I wasn’t over thinking things (and being defensive of my best friend), I wrote this post with the help of three out-and-proud men.
So, back to the squealing. We all know that girl who looks yearningly at a gay guy because he’s “practically a girl.” She says, “I’ve always wanted a gay best friend” the same way she would say, “I’ve always wanted a dog.” The problem here is clear: objectification. I’m sure this girl means no harm, but I hope she will learn that she is treating a potential friend like a pet. Her desire for friendship is based on assumption. Why does she want to be friends with him? Because he’s a fierce betch, of course! (I can’t make this stuff up.)
It’s not cool to assume things about your gay friend just because he’s gay. Furthermore, objectifying him as simply your “gay best friend” isn’t cool, either. Why can’t he just be your best friend?
The gays have been viewed as an object in many circumstances. Think bachelorette parties – many girls will go to a gay club for theirs. Hey, gay men are basically girls, right? Well, while drunk girls are raiding the club to have their fun, gay people are there to seek shelter from a cruel world outside. Gay clubs are a safe place for the LGBT community. It’s not right for girls to squeeze themselves into what others consider to be a sanctuary because they’re excited to bond over Beyoncé with a man wearing stilettos.
Also, have you noticed that obtaining a “gay best friend” isn’t only a desire, but a competition? No girl wants to share theirs – she wants a gay best friend all to herself. Take the movie GBF for example. The plot follows a high schooler who is outed and then becomes the title of “gay best friend” for three girls, except those girls are in competition for the boy’s “gay best friendship.” The scary thing is that this is a scenario in which many gay men find themselves. Girls often fight for them like a piece of bedazzled meat. They want their own GBF, not just a best friend to cherish.
Gay men are not trophies to drag into Victoria’s Secret with you. If you take one thing away from this blog post, I hope it’s the fact that not all gay men are the same. Some love to eat steak, drink beer, and play poker. Some love to watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Some are in the military. Some design wedding dresses. Some are athletes. Some are on Broadway.
All gay men are men, though. They aren’t to be equated with heterosexual women, used as the “flaming queen” stock character in Hollywood, or viewed as anything less than a straight man. Stop treating your best friend as simply your accessory. Masculinity shouldn’t be a yard stick for friendship – that’s what “ability to gossip with” is for.