FamilyFriendship

My Best Friend Is Gay — He’s Not My Gay Best Friend

There’s an entire acronym for it: GBF. The apparent equivalent of BFF but, you know, for gays.

So why is it than I am more than less of a fan of this phrase? Well, this is where it gets complex.

My best friend is like my brother. He has seen me at my best of times, and the times I ugly cried in the back of my car. I helped him when he frantically, decided to last-minute move to Vegas, and I was there with open arms when he came back two weeks later because he couldn’t stand the heat — literally.

I love him more than words can describe and out of all of my friends we are the closest.

Now, what if when he referred to me, he instead called me his “blonde best friend” or his “straight best friend.” Instead of just referring to me as a person, I was attributed to a particular characteristic of my personality or appearance.

Well, that would kind of suck. And that’s why I don’t call him my gay best friend.

Because he is my absolute best friend simply because he’s himself; not because he’s gay.

Identifying him by that one part of himself is belittling what we have and attributing him to a particular stereotype.

I mean, there’s a whole damn movie called GBF in which the popular girls befriend and a gay guy at their school. Cue all stereotypical behaviors people would think of from this situation.

Sleepovers! Painting each other’s nails! Doing pretend fashion shows together!

Now, enough about my personal dislike for this term — let’s get to the real reason I’m bringing this all up.

If we choose to label people, we are setting them into narrow constraints. And when it comes to minority groups or people with a long history of hate shown towards them — that can be extremely damaging for their growth. Not just them as a person, but also for that whole community.

People are finally quitting the who bullshit that comes with terms like “my token black friend” or my “token Asian friend.”

Because just like race, sexual orientation should not be used to identify a person. Same goes with other appearance-based characteristics. Same goes for any other narrow aspects to a person’s being.

Perpetuating stereotypes of a “gay best friend” being the one that will help you pick out the oh so perfect outfit for your juicy date with Ricky is totally uncool anymore.

I live in Los Angeles, and I have a seemingly endless amount of friends that are gay. Some of them — and I know this is a shocker — you would never guess are gay! Because they don’t run around with painted nails and saying things like “Yasssss girl!”, it makes them harder to spot.

And that’s exactly why I don’t like labels, especially ones that come with heavily embedded stereotypes.

People that are gay come in all shapes and form. Same goes for people who are black. And the same goes to people of any color, sexual orientation, or walk of life.

So why would we identify all people who share a common trait by the same adjective when everyone is so damn unique?

We as humans are not defined by one aspect; we are multifaceted beings.

And if you’re thinking, “well, yea I say that. But I didn’t mean any harm,” then that’s OK — because the first step is awareness.

I don’t want to make anyone feel bad or less than. I’ve definitely had some mistakes to make and learning to do. But now that I realize the impact of these kinds of words, I want to help create some awareness and hopefully change.

So let’s stop referring to our loved ones as anything less than their essence or simply, their name. My best friend is not my gay best friend. He is simply my best friend. TC mark

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Writer and advice columnist for relationships Follow Kirstie on Instagram or read more articles from Kirstie on Thought Catalog.