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.
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!