“Omg, you’re gay? I’ve always wanted a gay best friend!”
To preface, I am in no way speaking on the behalf of the entire gay male population. However, I am certain many gay men out there are privy to similar sentiments.
Throughout high school, college and even in the workplace, I’ve heard this statement spoken with an unsettling amount of awe and excitement.
While I am very flattered with your enthusiasm in getting to know me, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not the Cher-Loving, Fierce, Fabulous, “YASS BITCH” gay you were expecting.
I want you to befriend me based on my character and personality, not on the basis of stereotypes produced by movies and television. Get to know me from a blank slate perspective without already having an assumed idea of who I am.
Realize that I, along with many gay men out there, don’t fit into this pre-determined category. We are dynamic human beings, not a mold.
I could be your funny friend, your adventurous friend, your friend whose shoulder you cry on and even a compilation of all three.
What I don’t want to be is your gay friend because I am so much more than my sexual orientation. Although I may be gay, I am in no way defined by it.
When you meet someone new, you don’t think of his or her race or religion as a factor in your newfound relationship. So, why, then, would you consider my sexual orientation such a factor?
Many people out there don’t realize they’re being discriminatory, however, because many gay stereotypes are associated with complimentary adjectives, such as being well-dressed and having nice hair.
It’s similar to the thought that all Asians are good at math; it's considered “positive stereotyping.”
While this could be seen as typecasting in a positive light, it can consequently give those who aren’t good at math societal pressure to live up to this unfair standard. (Being Asian myself, trust me, we are not all good at math.)
Within the gay community, there is a multitude of individuals with different personality traits and attributes that differentiate them from any specific type.
And that is why it is so important to reduce the expectations of gay men. By not doing so, we are degrading the actual person to simply a label.
On this subject, I would like to address some misconceptions regarding my label as a gay man. For instance, no, I don’t know your gay friend, John.
Nor your gay friend Mike. Nor Ricky, Steven or your gay hair stylist, Pablo.
Please stop asking me to pick out your underwear from Victoria’s Secret. To me, they all look like colored crotch doilies.
Yes, I do like apple martinis and piña coladas. Who cares if they’re considered “girly drinks”? They’re f*cking delicious, and you’re lying to yourself if you disagree. And, for the last time, I do not like Madonna. Stop asking!
Ladies, please take this as a friendly reminder that gay men are not your poodles, nor something to carry around like a purse.
We are people, too, and just as I don’t base our friendship on your sexuality, I expect the same from you. As a gay man, I am very flattered you’re so enthusiastic in getting to know me, but move on from the assumed idea of whom you believe I am. Get to know the person I truly am.
You might realize that even though I’m not the fierce diva you expected, I'm an okay guy.