A lot of gay men found their first true, unadulterated, non-judgmental friends in women. Perhaps that's why the media loves to play on the trope of the "gay best friend," showing a (usually white, usually flamboyant) gay male next to a (usually white, usually straight, usually the more prominent character) female in everything from television series to romantic comedies.
What the media has done, though, is created a lot of expectations for what a gay man is supposed to be or act like. Most of the time, that positions us to be the willing, compliant, and fashionable sidekick...kind of like how Paris Hilton acts with her pet dogs. This usually results in girls feeling instantly comfortable asking very intimate questions, most all of which have to do with either fashion, beauty, or being gay.
And then, there are a lot of gay guys who don't fit that role. They're not into fashion much, or if they are, they're not into ladies' fashion. They might not "seem gay," as straight people say, which presents its own, unique set of problems.
What you read below is partially meant to be funny, but it's also a list of truths known by plenty of gay men. (This list was crowdsourced from my social media platforms.) When the below things are said to us, we know it's usually not coming from a bad place. We know the intentions are good, so we smile politely and answer to the best we can without losing our minds. But frankly, the list below is a helpful and handy guide of things to avoid saying to the gay men you encounter in your life.
Oh, and please...if anyone has anything to add to this list, shout it out in the comments below.
1. "I never would have guessed you were gay!" or "You don't really seem gay!"
A lot of "masculine" gay men often get this from people, and it's almost always intended as a compliment. The alternative (when it's meant to be an insult) is usually, "But you're not, like, a real gay guy." Here's a friendly PSA: Gay men come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. If someone tells you they identify as gay, there's no need to say things like this. (Or the condescending "I knew it!) Simply thank them for letting you know and move on with the conversation—no judgment necessary.
2. "You should meet my other gay friend..."
The intention here is always good: You think because two people are the same, they should meet, because your assumption is that they'd have a lot in common. But I might actually have nothing in common with your friend! He might vote Republican or like hunting, for example, or he might think Britney Spears is better than Beyoncé. In any of those cases, we'd end up as arch enemies. Ask yourself: Why should these two people be friends? Then find a way to make an organic introduction.
3. "What's a twink?"
There's a certain "lingo" in the gay community that we use to (very loosely) identify one another. There are also other words we use that have to do with more...intimate details. Please do not expect every gay man to know what these words mean as if he is a walking Homosexual Encyclopedia. If you really want to know, try Google. (Though I'd suggest you make sure those Safe Search settings are on!)
4. "Wait, so who's the man in the relationship?"
AKA in my life: "Oh, so you're basically the girl." Why, dear straight people, do you feel the need to apply heteronormative gender roles—which are already limiting and archaic in and of themselves—to our relationships? Part of being in a gay relationship means you're attracted to the same sex. We're both men.
5. "So how does it work on dates?"
This also comes under the guise of "but who pays when the bill comes?" Every single situation is different, just like in the straight dating world. What do you want to know next, what kind of cards we're using?
6. "How did you come out?"
For some of us, coming out is easy. For others, it's hard. And for a lot of people, it's an excruciatingly painful process that has resulted in a lot of difficult conversations (or worse) with the people who are supposed to love us unconditionally. I think a lot of straight people ask for our coming out stories as a way to understand where we come from, but this is a chapter of a lot of gay peoples' lives that might be hard to explain. It's probably better to not ask, or to only ask in private when the time is right.
7. "If you were straight..."
What? What would happen?! We would be dating? Every time someone says that to me, they remind me of my father reminiscing on what could have been. I'd rather not.
8. "OMG! I love gay boys. Let's be friends."
You "love" gay boys? How many do you know? How many are your friends? How many do you see very regularly? Do you like gay boys, or do you like the idea of the stereotypical gay male playing dress-up with you and giving you love advice? The fact that I'm gay is not reason enough for us to be friends.
9. "I'm basically a gay man, right?"
Well, let's do a quick check: Are you a man who is attracted to other men? No? Then you're not a gay man. Your love of Broadway and your obsession with Lady Gaga does not make you a gay man.
10. "Gay guys just love me."
I'm a gay man. You know who I don't love? Every person who has ever said this sentence.
11. "What should I wear?"
A lot of girls assume that just because someone is gay, he knows everything there is about fashion and style and home décor and has all sorts of tips to give away like some magical fairy godmother. This puts pressure on plenty of boys who do not find themselves naturally interested in those topics to "perform." Not every gay man is going to want to dress you up or provide sartorial advice. (Though some of us will gladly do so if you ask politely and return the favor.)
12. "Will you help my boyfriend?"
The last graf doubly applies to your boyfriend. We are not Queer Eye IRL! Fix him up yourself.
13. "Why are all the hot guys gay?"
This is asinine on many levels. First, it's implying that all gay men are well-groomed and probably lean and muscular and fit a very stereotypical definition of male beauty. Second, you're probably only forming this opinion based on the ~10 gay men you've seen in your life. Open your eyes!
14. "Gay guys have it so easy with their apps."
There's a big misconception that all gay men are promiscuous and don't favor monogamy. Don't assume that every boy you meet is on Grindr, and also be careful with your assumptions about other peoples' sex lives! Furthermore, being gay and trying to date isn't exactly easy...we have a much smaller pool of selection than you do. It's harder than you think to meet someone valuable.
15. "You should know this [insert reference]. You're gay."
Not every gay guy has seen Clueless or The Sound of Music. There's no pop culture guidebook to being a homosexual.
16. "You're my gay best friend."
Why. Whyyyy. Why?! Why am I just a gay best friend? Why am I oddly inserted into another category of "friend" because of my sexual orientation? Do I call you my "straight" best friend?
17. "Are you sure?"
I have certainly never been asked this question before, but I do know a few guys who have. It is so beyond rude to ask someone about their own certainty of how they sexually identify, for one—it's none of your damn business. If someone tells you they're gay, you are not the sexuality police. You can't "sniff out" whether or not someone is a homosexual. Accept people as they are, and don't treat anyone any differently than you normally would. You'll be a lot happier once you do.
- ^ This Teen Used His Senior Quote to Let His Parents Know He's Gay (www.teenvogue.com)
- ^ How One Gay Teen and His Straight Best Friend Had the Best Prom Ever (www.teenvogue.com)
- ^ A Gay Girl's Guide to Coming Out in College (www.teenvogue.com)
Source : http://www.teenvogue.com/my-life/2015-06/things-you-shouldnt-say-to-gay-people
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