1. “I like you because you’re not one of those flamboyant gays.”
This is the most backhanded of straight compliments. When a straight person says this to me I hear “I like you because you’re not gay enough to make me uncomfortable or offend my traditional standards” and I not only feel as though you’re insulting a large portion of the LGBT community that face daily discrimination for their apparent outward “gayness,” but I also feel as though you’re conveying to me that you’re just a little bit homophobic. Usually after someone says this my gut reaction is to begin doing just what they fear: showing up to events naked except for a rainbow flag draped across my body as I sing a Village People song and throw glitter into the air. (Might I add: I am a multi-faceted human being and sometimes I am “one of those flamboyant gays.”)
2. “I’ve always wanted a gay best friend.”
(This statement is usually followed by a straight girl twirling around me and trying to repeatedly hug me.)
This is another backhanded compliment from an earnest straight person. I’ve always wanted an exotic shorthair cat or a million dollars, yet here we are and I don’t have either one. I am not your pet or your latest accessory. I’m not the bag you’ve been saving up to buy or the surprise Beyoncé album released on iTunes. Yes, maybe your life has felt empty without my presence in it, but to reduce me to simply a “gay best friend,” or a thing, as opposed to an actual individual human, is pretty frustrating. Maybe you just needed a best friend with his or her own individual insight and I so happened to fit the bill of what you were looking for, but you were not #blessed with a gay best friend to use as your personal sidekick.
3. “’Same Love’ is a really great song!”
Bless your heart! I really like ‘Anaconda’ by Nicki Minaj!!
‘Same Love’ is an adequate song by a well-meaning straight guy and I’m all for the increased visibility of the LGBT (though the “T” is pretty lacking in this specific song) community, BUT if I didn’t ask you whether or not you liked this song, then please don’t tell me. Seriously, I have had multiple people tell me they love this song without any prior mention of Macklemore and it freaks me out. I know you’re trying to let me know you support gay rights but I’d rather you just explicitly tell me that you do instead of letting Macklemore do it for you.
4. “I don’t think of you as a boy!”
Well, I identify as a male, so you should definitely start thinking of me as a boy. I don’t mind doing stereotypically “girly” things with my straight female friends, but at the end of the day I am happy being a gay male and not a female, and I do not need anyone to validate my gender expression and identification other than myself. I am glad we connect on a level free of the gender box/binary but please don’t try to turn me into somebody I am not.
5. “You don’t really look gay.”
Well, you see, I am actually a twink hiding in the skin suit of a large, bearded man, and once you get to know me I will unzip and exit and the dissonance of the stereotypical image in your mind’s eye and reality will disappear!!! I will emerge a toned, tanned, blonde gay possibly in a red jumpsuit à la Britney’s “Oops I Did It Again.”
This will actually not happen. I’m gay and I also look like a lumberjack or a linebacker. Not everyone in a community or culture of people looks a certain way or fits every stereotype.
6. “I love gay people but I am not for gay marriage/gay rights.”
Which basically means, “I love you but I wish you never left your attic.” Or, “I think you’re decent looking but please put a paper bag over your head because your blinding hideousness offends my eyes.” It’s the “not to be rude” of all rude offensive statements to gay people.
7. “So like, do you pee sitting down?”
High school was super fun for me.
I know I sound like a bitter gay, but I truly do enjoy connecting with straight people and bridging the gap between allies and the gay community. I think the important part of establishing friendships between straight people and gay people is in making sure we treat each other as people and talk to each other as just that: people.