Not Your G.B.F.

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Not Your G.B.F.

The

The "Gay Best Friend" has become a common trope, but it's time to call it quits.

The "Gay Best Friend" has become a common trope, but it's time to call it quits.

The "Gay Best Friend" has become a common trope, but it's time to call it quits.

Yardley Whaylen, Reporter

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For years I have stayed silent, only glaring and eye rolling, when these types of incidents occur. I see them every week when walking the halls, out for dinner, or shopping at the mall. I shut my mouth and grab their arm, pulling them away from the awkward scene. Every time it’s a different girl, same script. My stomach curls and I cannot help but feel uncomfortable. After watching these events occur every day to one friend or another, I stand on my soapbox to eagerly deliver an important message to straight girls: gay boys are not made to be your gay best friend.

I knew I belonged to the LGBTQ+ community ever since I was a little girl, and with the help and encouragement of my friends, I have recently come out to my parents who, to say the least, were not shocked. They understood that my passionate yet unusually quiet vocality on queer issues had to be rooted in something, and they know of my openly gay friends, which clued my mother in as she told me “birds of a feather…” I know that beyond my inner circle of friends, not everyone has the diversity of sexualities in their friend groups. Yet, what differs is the way I see my friends versus how others view them. To me, they are my best friends, who I spend late nights snapchatting, weekends hanging out with, and constantly texting between (and during) class. To others, they are gay, and that is just about it. 

The position of the GBF, gay best friend, has become highly sought after. Widely adored TV shows and movies have created the trope quintessential to pop culture. Damien in Mean Girls, Oliver in Crazy Rich Asians, Will of Will & Grace, the list goes on. These cookie-cutter characters are always the same. Sassy, fashionable, catty, dramatic, and sweet comic relief. The GBF does not get a happy ending, mostly because they are not given a beginning. They are used purely to support the main character, a straight white girl, and used only for dramatic makeover scenes. The GBF is marketed solely to straight cisgender girls looking to spice up their inner circle.

This is only heightened with the rise of many male makeup artists, James Charles or Jefferee Star for instance, that have brought a culture of gay slang that has been consumed by their fanbase, mostly being straight girls. I have sat restlessly as girls attempt to swoon gay boys by their use of excessive slang. The forced conversation becomes peppered with “slay” “queen” “sister” and more. The lingo often goes unreciprocated. Not only do I find it cringey, but I can find it to be emasculating for the boys. When it comes down to it, gay boys are boys, not to be treated like an accessory.  

The saddest part of it all is the sexual harassment of them played up for girls enjoyment. Countless times I have seen my friends be groped, catcalled, and touched inappropriately by girls who think it’s okay just because they are guys. Sometimes these girls are self-proclaimed feminists who advocate for the end of rape culture and sexual harassment, yet are enablers and perpetrators of the same harassment to the gay community. These actions are reprehensible and quite dangerous to the safety of our boys. 

However there is an even deeper sense of hypocrisy in all this; why are gay boys adored and accessorized, yet gay girls are made to feel predatory and alienated? I have had to live through these experiences every day, and each time it breaks my heart. I have watched the same girls who obsess over my gay guy friends distance themselves from me in the locker room as if I am there to assault them, and the same girls who obsess over James Charles, slowly stop talking to me after I came out. Straight girls fear being sexualized by another girl, yet fetishize gay boys on a daily basis. 

I know that navigating this big gay world can be hard, and the gay best friend is a hard one to acquire, but I can suggest a few helpful hints to having a healthy and fulfilling relationship with a gay boy. First, acknowledge that he is a human, not an accessory. He has real feelings that are deeper than surface level, and needs to vent as well. Secondly, understand that you can still have fun together without touching him without his consent. Just because he’s gay, doesn’t mean that assult is okay. Next, talk to him for who he is, instead of trying to impress a certain aspect of him with unnecessary slang. It is important in any friendship to help build one another’s confidence, but do so without sexualizing them, not only is it inappropriate, but can be very disturbing for him. Lastly, make sure that you treat gay girls with the same love and attention that you give to gay boys. Make sure that you are being inclusive of the entire LGBTQ+ community, without picking and choosing. 

In conclusion, if you happen to be friends with someone who’s gay, thats great. If you are trying to become friends with someone only because they are gay, that’s not so great. Take time to reflect on yourself and put yourself into their shoes, imagine how you can improve your actions, then go forth into a world of allyship.