The Gay Best Friend Theory

For the millionth time, I detest writing about gay people. As Just Josh touches upon in this post, homosexuality should not be (and, it isn’t) such a big deal.

Yet, I love educating and enlightening people. The purpose of this post will be to clear up some of the misconceptions concerning what I like to call, the Gay Best Friend Theory. Clearly this theory doesn’t apply to me, as I’m gay, but I have no friends, so…

Unlike me, Chris Colfer is gay and has lots of fans and followers. He even published a book! A man of many talents. Image via timeinc.net.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard someone on TV or someone in your school say something along the lines of “Oh my gosh, I need a gay best friend” or “Ugh, girls are so stupid, I wish I had a gay best friend.” There’s an idea in pop culture and in contemporary society that straight girls just need a (stereotypically male) gay best friend. Heck, Teen Vogue told its readers that “GBFs” are the new hottest accessory.

I like to logically think about things before I tear them apart. I can see why the stereotype of the “gay best friend” is so prevalent, excluding the effect of the media. Maybe girls assume that all gay guys have supreme fashion sense and will help them with their outfits. Maybe girls assume that gay guys won’t get involved in drama like other girls do and won’t compete for the boys they’re interested in. Maybe girls assume that every gay guy needs a shoulder to cry on and that they can shower the gay guy in “it’s okay to be gay!” sympathy in exchange for someone who will listen to their life stories.

If you yourself believed in any of the stereotypes that I wrote in that previous paragraph – not including the first sentence – listen up. I have a thought that may blow your mind, irrespective of whether you are a straight female or a gay hippopotamus.

Not all gay guys will want to be your friend. In addition, you will not want to be friends with every gay guy you meet.

I’m pretty sure most of you reading this post are shaking your heads right now and thinking: that’s it? I know, it’s an extraordinarily simple concept, yet you would be surprised how often girls (and occasionally guys) miss this.

There are gay people out there who have horrid fashion sense. There are gay people out there who are jerks. There are gay people out there who love playing football and getting drunk with the guys and want nothing to do with “Glee” or Madonna or purple nail polish.

This is a random Cyanide and Happiness comic I found regarding gays. I think. I’m not sure what to think of it, actually.

The most horrible and pathetic funniest thing is when girls who supposedly support gay people believe that there is something advantageous to having a gay best friend solely based on the fact that he’s gay. In fact, that’s the reason I’m writing this post. I know how girls hates to be objectified. Contrary to my self-deprecating comment above, I have quite a few female friends. They hate it when people think that they want to be thinner because they’re female. They hate it when people think that they have to wear makeup. And yet, some girls who claim to be accepting of gays objectify them and further perpetuate society’s stereotypes by flinging around labels like the “gay best friend.” Unintentional hypocrisy at its finest.

The point I’m trying to make is similar to the one I made in my post about why high school relationships fail. You aren’t friends with someone because of his or her sexuality or because of what other people think – you’re friends with someone because you have similar interests, you genuinely care about each other, etc. And if you have a gay best friend who shares your love of fashion or Lady Gaga, that’s fine! There’s nothing wrong with that.

Just know that there’s nothing that differentiates straight best friends from gay best friends, besides the obvious. Perhaps I’ll start randomly labeling my friends. “Totally Attractive Fictional Best Friend”, “Imaginary Best Friend From Second Grade”, “Best Friend Who I Paid to Associate With Me in Public”, all come to mind.

Here’s a picture I posted on Twitter of me and some of my best friends. Yes, I know they’re inanimate objects. Don’t judge me.

Any thoughts? Do you have a homosexual best friend, friend, or acquaintance? Do you know anyone who objectifies gays by using the “gay best friend” label? Do you have friends at all? Because I don’t, and it would be great to hear what having friends feels like… until next post!

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28 Comments

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28 responses to “The Gay Best Friend Theory

  1. justxJosh

    Thanks for the mention in your post! I cannot emphasise enough how much I hate the GBF idea. When I go out to clubs and stuff I always love meeting and chatting to new people, and if anyone says I can be their Gay Best Friend I just turn and walk away from them. It’s infuriating.

    The whole shopping idea is annoying as well. Yes I enjoy fashion, and yes I have particular tastes, but those only count for me. Why would I want to spend all day waiting outside a dressing room while you try on sixteen dresses? Because I like men?

    I blame society for making us this funny, stylish, quick-witted stereotype. I am not Jack from Will & Grace, nor do I want to be. End of rant.

    • You’re welcome! I admire that you have the audacity to turn away from people who say stupid things like that.

      I agree – like Tina Fey wrote in her autobiography, gay people aren’t born to serve the whims of straight females or people who assume that being gay is their most salient feature. Society can be quite frustrating sometimes.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. (:

  2. Wow, I wasn’t actually conscious of this. I mean, I’m aware of the gay stereotype – the witty, wise-cracking fashion guru image is kind of prevalent – but I didn’t realise people went around saying “Oh, I so need a gay best friend”. Though I can’t say I’m surprised. Media has a way of unhealthily influencing our mindset. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say we *allow* media to influence our mindset.

    I don’t go around declaring my need for gay best friends but at the same time I don’t question the image either in the shows I watch (which is only Ugly Betty atm, and the guy in it IS working in the fashion industry so I think he can be excused :P)

    I don’t actually know any gay guys, only girls, but even they don’t fit the stereotypical lesbian image.

    Good post – it was indeed enlightening. And love the last pic – I have similar best friends, and they are undeniably The Best.

    • I feel like the stereotype is more prevalent in certain areas than others. And I agree that we allow media to influence our mindset – some of us need to become more aware of its biases and its influences so that we can become more educated and free-willed.

      I think it’s good enough that you know of the stereotype (or that the image that you see in the show you watch) is a stereotype, even if you didn’t question it beforehand.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, and I’m glad that you’re a fellow book lover!

  3. Man, you don’t help me with any of my outfits. I need a new gay best friend.
    (kidding, obviously)
    This post, as always, equals perfection. This one sentence completely hit the nail on the head: “You aren’t friends with someone because of his or her sexuality or because of what other people think – you’re friends with someone because you have similar interests, you genuinely care about each other, etc.”
    By the way I was looking for my label amongst the friend titles, and started to worry when I didn’t see it…but then I did! “Best Friend Who I Paid to Associate With Me in Public”. Yup, that’s it. Ahhhhh
    😉

    • At least I make up for it by helping you with schoolwork… (: And sh, you’re not supposed to let people know about that! Then again, I doubt anyone who thinks we’re friends would read the comments of this post anyway. So I forgive you.

      • Hehe this is Batol reminding you that in the background somewhere I’m always present; silently reading your posts with raging nods of approval. Guys, the cats out of the bag. No need to pay for friends Thomas. 😉

        • Ha ha Batol, I have missed talking to you! “silently reading your posts with raging nods of approval – that’s too good. I hope we have classes together this upcoming school year!

          • Hopefully we do! It’s definitely possible! I think we overlap in Lit, Comp gov, advanced comp, and maybe, possibly you’re taking euro? Wow.. I know half the classes you’re taking…dang I creep hard.

  4. Eugine

    Ugh, I’m reminded of the “squealing gay sidekick” stereotype in YA literature (e.g. Evermore by Alyson Noel, or better yet, House of Night series) – that’s so annoying. As if all young gay guys were feminine and faint at the sight of blood. It’s as if the author thought “Hmm, I need a veriety in my book, and I want to show my readers that I’m gay-friendly, so I’ll make one of my minor characters gay! Now the hero/heroine has a funny, hip, squeal-y gay friend!”
    Goodness no. Pleeeeease no.
    I actually know a few people who are gay, bisexual (meself included) or transgender even though they haven’t really come out yet. One of my friends is gay and is crushing hard on a guy who doesn’t like him back. Yeah, he is the artistic, hyper-active, always-cheerful type, but he’s just who he is – I used to forget quite often that he is gay. (Nowadays it’s impossible not to notice b/c of his crush.)
    My other friend is transgender, and he has it hardest, I think. Amazingly, my school is very accepting of this – he changed his name to a male name, and the principal held a staff meeting and told all the teachers that my friend now has to be addressed by his new name, and with the pronoun “he”.
    I’m pretty sure there are other people who are gay or bi, but hey, it’s their business not mine.

    Oh, and Thomas? I don’t believe you. You know, that you have no friends. And if it’s a joke, sorry, I’m not laughing…

    • I read the first House of Night book… yeah, that wasn’t fun. I agree that authors who include gay characters in their book solely because of their sexuality are not doing a service for the GBLT population. Some authors do a great job, like Cassandra Clare, because she actually develops her non-straight (and straight) characters beyond their sexualities.

      I understand about the crush thing. And it’s so great that your transgender friend is receiving support from the superiors of your school! That sounds like a fairytale compared to what would happen at my school if their was a transgender student. And I agree, people being straight or gay isn’t a big deal and individuals can keep that information to themselves if they wish to.

      I’m sorry! It is a running joke, but I will try to dial it down. Thanks for reading and commenting, as always. (:

      • Eugine

        I’m sorry too. My friends tell me all the time that I react waaay too serious to what they say *rolls eyes*
        It’s just that I’m afraid you were only half-joking, and that made me mad – you might not have soul-friends (the so-called “anam cara”) but you certainly have people who feel comfortable in your presence. In my experience, that’s enough for high school years where everything is instabil anyway.

        • No it’s okay, you’re not the first person who’s pointed it out and it can be hard to tell when someone is joking over the internet. I agree that simple acquaintances can make a big difference in high school.

  5. Well. Apparently I need to get a gay best friend myself since my fashion sense /sucks/. Are you taking application, Thomas? =P

    I wish a lot of people (particularly females) would understand that just because a guy is guy it doesn’t mean he’s simply a chick with a dick. Gay guys are still guys. There are tons of them that are sports obsessed jerks, just like the straight ones.Just like there are straight guys who like fashion and shopping. Just because a guy is gay it doesn’t mean he wants to spend all day at the mall looking at clothes and gossiping.

    Great post, Thomas! ❤

    • It’s unfortunate because my fashion sense is lacking as well… 😦

      And yes, all the stereotypes about gays should be refuted! They may be true about some gay guys, but definitely not all gay guys.

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my posts, William!

  6. I can’t shake the image of Paris Hilton carrying her pet gay in a design by prada GBF bag!!!! 🙂

  7. Dan Collier

    While I agree with what you discuss in your article, I believe there’s another side to the gay best friend thing.As I’ve gotten older, more and more of my friends are women, most of the men have fallen by the wayside. These women are straight and I, a gay man, in many ways am the best friend.of several of these straight women. I am fully aware of why this has happened. We are in close synch, emotionally and intellectually. Have similar tastes in movies, books, music, etc., and politically. Emotionally we are in similar rhythm. This is not so with men, those few with whom I’m still vaguely close, that is. I enjoy hanging out with these women, doing things (rarely shopping, I am no fashionista, nor sassy or sharp-tongued), together. There is, natch, no hassle about sex, never rears its complex and messy head. I am the best friend, in fact, I’m their gay best friend. There are times when one or other of the women will refer to me as her GBF. It’s not meant as a mock, nor am I offended by it.

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong or politically incorrect with your connection to these women – of course there are probably several gay men who have several female friends and share interests/emotional similarities/etc. And I don’t think it’s offensive that they call you their GBF, because that’s what you are in this scenario, they’re gay best friend. I only think it’s degrading when people expect all homosexuals to behave or act in the exact same way and are disappointed when in fact all gay people are different. But it’s great that you have such wonderful female friends – I too have a myriad of them! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  8. Adi

    I stumbled across ur page when I went to google to find that exact comic strip….on purpose. I saw it yesterday and the little cartoon with the tiny speedo was adorable. o.0 but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. my extra 2 cents aren’t worth anything but I would love for people to understand what you wrote. Yes there are homosexuals out there who love fashion and im sure theres plenty who do the besties thing with straight chicks and for some reason when I see that on tv it throws me off. lol I have plenty of lesbian friends and a couple gay friends and none of them have a lick of fashion sense! course I don’t either …but… still. out of all my gay friends only one of them is really feminine and loves to be fabulous. its just another stereotype and im sorry for that. The crap they put on TV doesn’t help. Anyways love the post and im glad I saw it.

    • It makes me happy that you stumbled upon my post through searching for that comic! And you have a diverse cast of friends – it’s great to see that stereotypes should not be taken for granted, and your acquaintances are living proof of that. Hopefully as time progresses these biased beliefs will not be so prevalent in society. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Adi!

  9. GeoGirl

    Loved the post, dislike the shallowness of societal stereotype of the gay guy/straight girl friendship. Just don’t assume that all girls are shallow fag hags…some of us love our (gay) male friends because they’re awesome people…who just happen to be gay, not because they are gay 🙂

    • You’re definitely right, of course not all girls (or even most girls, most likely) are shallow and have gay friends just because they’re gay. You can’t generalize any group and straight girls are no exception!

  10. Lanie

    I hate to say it, but I *was* one of those girls who wanted to have gbf just because they’re gay.
    But just the simple act of reading your post made me realize how simple minded and shallow that was.
    All of your posts are so thoughtful and clear! I love them.

  11. Kyle's World

    I’m actually considering doing my undergrad thesis on this ‘GBF’ trend. This is an incredible article and literally reaches so many valid points. I’m so interested in exploring the topic (mostly because I experience the stereotypes myself and am rather annoyed) and hope to make people in my area aware of how stupid it is to replicate it.

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