The Problem With Fag Hags and Gay Men

Let me preface this with saying that the relationship between a gay man and a straight woman is a truly magical and special dynamic. The relationships I have with my girlfriends are incredibly rich, nuanced, and incomparable to anything else. That’s why on the rare occasion a girlfriend of mine will refer to herself as my fag hag, I want to shake her and say, “You are not a hag! You are a powerful goddess who gets laid way more than I do. Don’t ever use that term again!” Let’s face it: Fag hags are a different kind of beast. They’re the girls who avoid romantic entanglements with straight men, and dedicate all of their energy into the relationships they have with their gay friends. The affection they receive fills a void and almost feels like “the real thing.” Sometimes they even harbor feelings for their gay BFF—a fact that is known and sometimes alluded to by both parties, but never truly discussed.

Here’s a situation I’ve seen all too often: A narcissistic attractive gay man being a total dick to his frumpy # 1 fag hag who has pudding for a backbone. It’s a sad relationship. The gay guy uses her to feel beautiful and get his ego fed while the fag hag has little self-worth and feels special just by being in the presence of a hot gay man. When I see a relationship like this, I just want to slap the gay dude for being such a little turd and tell the fag hag to build up her self-esteem and find a gay man who will treat her right.

I’ve never had a relationship like this. I avoid them like the plague mostly because it’s a bullshit premise for a friendship. I would feel fetishized by them, like I’m being used for my sexual orientation, and I would also feel like I’m enabling whatever insecurities they have with straight men. Granted, I feel like every gay man/straight woman friendship has their Will & Grace moments of co-dependency. There can be times when it can get to a level of intensity that’s uncomfortable for both parties. But that can also be a natural by-product of any close friendship. It’s not exclusive to gay men and straight women.

A lot of my aversion to fag hags is also based on sheer annoyance and frustration. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had girls who don’t know me that well want to spark up a friendship mainly because I’m gay. They’ve been like, “Oh my god. I need a gay friend, and you’re so funny. Can we, like, go shopping together?’ I wish I was over exaggerating, but I’m not. Gay men have become the new Birkin to girls who have watched too many episodes of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. They think they’re being progressive by befriending a gay man, but they’re actually being completely offensive. Can you imagine someone going up to a black person and being like, “You’re black?! Ugh, I really need a black friend. Can we play basketball and eat soul food together?”

What’s grosser though is that some gay men feed into it. They’re more than willing to play the part of “The Gay Best Friend”, which I’ve never understood. What’s in it for them? Are they just taking their cues from the mainstream media on how to be gay? As I’ve said before, a lot of the depictions of homosexuality in pop culture have complicated the sexual identity of gay men. People have certain expectations for us on how to act and dress. And as much as gay men fight it, we sometimes fall into the roles we’re expected to play. I’m guilty of saying a bitchy comment out of some misguided sense of obligation.

I’m proud to say that none of my girlfriends are fag hags. They all have stable relationships with straight men and none of them want to sleep with me or make gross comments like, “I wish you were straight!” Even though my sexuality largely informs my identity, it’s not the reason why I have certain friendships. Listen up girlfriends: I’m here, I’m queer, and let’s not make a big fuss about it. TC mark

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image – Will & Grace

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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