Gay Men Will Not Make You Friends

I have posted about the fallacy of the gay best friend before, but since then I discovered this article from the Huffington Post, so I want to remind everyone: gay men do not make good friends.

Let me backtrack. Gay men may make good friends. But this article – which I read as a parody at first because of its awfulness – assumes that all gay men share ten key characteristics. This article assumes that every gay male “can introduce you to tons of single nice ladies.” This article thinks that just because someone prefers a partner of the same sex, that they also “can help you outfit your wardrobe” and “be there for you if you ever need a hug.” This article stereotypes gay men as paragons of kindness, fashion, warmth, and comfort. Sure, some gay guys might exemplify all of those traits. But not all gay guys do, and this article discriminates against gay men by assuming that we all feel comfortable labeling ourselves under one umbrella personality type, a bland background wallpaper for straight people to walk over whenever they want.

The topic of straight people brings me to my next point – this article objectifies gay men and turns them into accessories that straight men should use for their benefit. The article reads that “there is a very limited supply of available gay men,” as if Amazon sells us in pairs for $9.99, as if people can purchase us as gifts during their Christmas shopping. The author of this article feels “amazed with how open minded and non-judgmental many straight men have become,” and then says that “maybe straight men have become so used to having gay men flirt and flatter them that they have become comfortable with same-sex admiration and friendship.” As a gay male myself, I would rather throw myself off a cliff into a sea full of sharks have zero friends than a boat full of straight men who want my friendship because it makes them feel good about themselves.

A few reminders about friendship, for those who need them: friendship should entail compassion, listening, and respect. Friendship means more than just going to the gym together or acting as mutual ego boosts. Not every two people can form a solid friendship together, otherwise friendship itself would serve no purpose.

So stop assuming that gay men need your friendship. I cannot speak for other gay men, but I know that although my sexuality remains an integral part of myself, it does not define me. I define myself and my friendships through my actions – through my commitment to and passion for mental health, through my dedication to unrecognized and unrequited good deeds, through my desire to improve myself and the lives of those around me.

Being human entails having multiple layers, conflicting dreams and desires,  and complex passions and interests. Guess what? Gay men are human too. We have layers, so get used to them.

I actually spent a lot of time trying to determine if this article was a parody, but other people appeared upset, so there you have it.

Facebook reactions to the article. I actually spent a lot of time trying to determine if it was a parody, but other people appeared upset, so there you have it.

What are your thoughts on the original article, or the idea of the “gay best friend” in general? Do you agree or disagree with my ideas about friendship? I wrote this instead of working on finals, so I apologize again if the original article was actually just a poorly-labeled parody. Also, if you want, you can check out my reviews of Wickedness by Ron Hansen, Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story by Russell Banks, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel here, here, and here respectively. I hope you all have a great weekend!

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18 Comments

Filed under Society

18 responses to “Gay Men Will Not Make You Friends

  1. As always, love your insights!

  2. eliaSamuels

    It is so true how poorly our portray in popular culture is. We are just the reliable friend who doesn’t have a life. So sad! But we haven’t done anything to change this conception about us. Liked your post

  3. If I ever have to start adding adjectives before the word ‘friend’ I’m boycotting the word. 😉 I hear you Thomas. And like how you say it.

  4. Hear, hear. It’s objectifying and exoticizing, much like the “my gay boyfriend” trope that straight women used to use.

  5. Rick

    When I read the subject I thought this would be about women wanting us as best friends. I had never thought that men eant a gay best friend. I think some men may want to say they have a gay friend as a token to show others they are “open-minded.”

    I agree about the stereotypes. Just like straight guys, gay men are all different. I am an introvert. I like nice clothes but my husband says he is way more fashionable. I don’t scream. I have never said “you go girl”. We don’t go to bars or clubs. I don’t have a 6 pack ( though I would love to have one). I am not even a Democrat. (Shock!) …not Republican either.

    Saying all gays are the same is some kind of -ism. ( I don’t like the word homophobia because it is ignorance or hatred, not fear). Like saying all black people like fried chicken, it’s wrong and ignorant. We are not all fun-loving queer-eye-for-the-straight-guy men.

    • Yes, I appreciate your logical and cohesive thought process here, Rick. I agree that gay men all have their own personalities, features, attitudes, hobbies, etc. and that if someone wants to befriend one of us, that action should stem from compassion and curiosity and understanding as opposed to an assumed ingratiation. We have our own lives, and those lives differ from one another.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  6. Yes, the article you referenced was truly, truly awful! :p
    I completely agree with your point that friendship should entail compassion, listening and respect. The article does not seem to bring up any of these important aspects. Instead it confirms stereotypes and binary thinking.

    Have you ever noticed how often the term ‘LGBT’ (and variants) is used synonymously with the term ‘gay men’? (though not in this article I realise, but it brings up this topic). As one of those fb responses above points out, sexuality (and gender for that matter) is a spectrum. This is not a binary system. People are not entirely defined by where they happen to fall on these spectra, nor can you tick off ten personality traits based on where they should fall on these spectra.

    Articles like this Huffington Post one are not helpful. Thank you very much for your counter-post Thomas 🙂

    • Yes I agree with you, in particular about the “binary thinking” too – not only does this article stereotype gay men, but it establishes gay men as the paragon of friendship, which distances them from other individuals who identify within the LGBT spectrum as a whole. Glad that we have people like you who possess the ability to articulate how we should strive to open our arms and our minds in ways that will show compassion and understanding as opposed to bigotry.

      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment!

  7. Kev

    Yeah, I hope it isn’t serious. I personally don’t relate to any of those stereotypes. Even if it is a joke, it’s certainly not a very original piece of writing. Very lazy and doesn’t really help move things along. Oh dear.

    • Agreed, it does the opposite of move things along. Let us hope that people within the queer community continue to dismantle society’s stereotyped views of us.

  8. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Fall 2014 – Movies, TV Shows, Senior Year, And An Awful Lot Of Reading | Musings From Neville's Navel

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