Is the "Gay Best Friend" Trope Toxic?
In the days of intolerance towards the LGBT community, where having gay characters in TV shows and movies was taboo, queer people were left without a voice. During this time, straight girls became sacred defenders of their G.B.F (Gay Best Friend) from the Heterosexual Male: A being who is often noted as the villain.
Homophobic, rancid, and monstrous, the straight male terrorizes everything and everyone in sight with slurs, humour, and mental and physical abuse. Their top victims include: geeks, nerds, and gays (Good luck if you happen to be all 3). Attacks towards geeks and gamers go unnoticed to the straight female, but once a gay gets shoved, or yelled at, or someone even thinks about calling them the F word, a straight girl will always come running.
Gay Tiktok is a hub of Straight girls admiring their gay friends. They’re always there for makeup and outfit advice. Gays will let you know if you look like a hot mess, and girls are grateful. They won’t let you out of the house unless you look 100%. But Gays somehow look like celebrities when doing the bare minimum. Is it Admiration? Perhaps. Jealousy? Highly likely. But at the end of the day, we have each other’s backs.
But in reality, is this duo truly meant to be, or are they just taking advantage of each other?
Nowadays, while there is still a constant fight for everyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, bullying towards gay men isn’t as prominent as it used to be. Despite this, the long-standing relationship between gay men and straight women still stands as strong. There are a few reasons why a dynamic as common as this can work so well.
It’s common for gay men to be more in tune with their feminine side, and unafraid of exploring and expressing it. Women give men the safety for expressing their femininity however they’d like without judgement. Both can express their own personal interests, some which may resonate with each other. In return, women can have a male friend with similar interests who are not consistently trying to get in their pants. Both gay men and straight women offer a safe space for each other.
Additionally, a gay male does not threaten the heterosexual relationship dynamic. Today, men and women should have no problem being friends with each other no matter sexuality, however, it is still quite common for friendships between men and women to pose a threat to a heterosexual relationship. Gay men are able to offer that male-female dynamic without creating jealousy or doubt.
In some scenarios, the straight male is the enemy of both gay men and straight women. Bullying and teasing gay men, and objectifying and dismissing the straight women, straight men are constantly considered the gold standard. Gay men and straight women become allies in this setting, working towards overcoming their common enemy in various ways:
- While straight males often look down on women, women are usually able to speak in defense of the gay male without a physical threat being poised toward them.
- Gay men, without outwardly expressing their sexuality, can pose as a “boyfriend” or “husband” during times of day or settings where women become more vulnerable to advances from a straight male, which can often become aggressive or violent.
While, for many reasons, the Gay Male + Straight Female dynamic works and has a few added perks, underlying issues could bubble over and bring chaos into this relationship.
“I’m not homophobic, I have gay friends.” A tale as old as the 1960s. Having gay friends does not give anyone the excuse to be homophobic. Alternatively, being Gay doesn’t excuse someone from being misogynistic. Both women and gay men should be working together and informing each other on important issues rather than adding to the problem.
Maybe they’re just living their own personal fantasies though each other. Women in Gay Bars and Drag Clubs, as told by Drag Queens, are a menace. Sloppy, poor etiquette, and acting like they own everything. Is an over abundance of safety an excuse to come in and claim power or ownership of a space? No. Gays need to remember to give their straight girls the rules, regulations, and mannerisms when entering a gay space.
And girls, remind your gay friends that they cannot and will (most likely) not end up with your boyfriend or any other straight men they may be close with. They are straight for a reason. Growing up gay is (or at least, was) difficult, and crushes on straight guys are extremely common. As an adult, in this day and age, finding other gay men is not nearly as difficult, so stay in your own body of water. And if you ever break up with your boyfriend, your gay friend will not have a chance after.
There’s room for improvement on both ends, and flags can come up in your Gay Man x Straight Woman relationship, but overall, there’s so much that just works. We can enjoy each other’s company without intimidation, threats, romantic advances, or pressure. We both get to express ourselves freely and live unfiltered. We're all just wanting to find people we connect with. So Gays and Girls, hold each other tight and remind each other how important you are.