The friendship between straight and queer people is one of the favorite topics of today’s pop culture. Women find gay men emotionally supportive, understanding, and giving them advice about their love life and fashion. The portrayal of this phenomenon in modern-day TV shows and movies is becoming increasingly common. Interestingly, some gay men find allies in straight women because they’re able to be comfortable around each other with no judgment, as opposed to befriending straight cis-gendered males which can sometimes lead to sexism, homophobia, and blatant ignorance. However, with society’s changing attitude towards the LGBTQ community, it has become all the more important to build a holistic understanding of the relationships between gay and straight people. This gives us insights about the obsession women have for gay best friends.
I want a gay best friend tbh 🥺
— Rafa (@ohsorafa) June 8, 2020
Let us explore some of the reasons that are leading today’s straight women to find their gay best friend.
The way their gay best friends gets them
They just get it. Gay men provide their straight women friends with a friendship that is based upon the absence of male-female sexual interest. Thus, this permits feelings of honesty, trust, security, and comfort to form between the parties. Gay men are warm, give women sound advice, and emotionally understand them the way no straight men do. This gives women the ideal friendship that they strive for.
Safe Haven for the mistreated
With patriarchy reigning our cultures for ages, women continue to suffer mental and physical abuse. This shuns women from seeking guidance or building emotional ties with straight men. On top of this, it does not help that heterosexual men find women sexually attractive – even the ones who are platonic friends. Thus the process of forming close friendship is longer and potentially more fraught. This is because men may be grappling with their own sexual impulses. Thus, women feel a certain level of comfort with gay men, and the process of forming a close friendship can occur relatively quickly. In other words, because gay men are attracted to their own gender. This makes them a “safe bet” for women – at least, from a sociobiological standpoint.
The experiments, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, demonstrate that straight women and gay men perceived one another to be trustworthy sources of relationship and dating advice. Thus, when it came to dating-related matters, there was an almost instantaneous level of implicit trust.
No Competition for Attractive Women
Attractive women feel insecure about their relationship with their partners. As per a study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington, extremely interesting observations were made. The research sheds light on how in order to confide about their lives, women prefer to choose a gay best friend rather than straight men and women friends. As per women, straight men may sexually exploit and may more likely to deceive and want to bed attractive women. In contrast, the most attractive females were unpopular with other women. Other, less attractive women felt threatened, or feared they would steal their boyfriends, researchers found.
“Taken together these findings provide converging support for the idea that the women’s own level of physical attractiveness play an important role in their willingness to have gay best friends. These findings suggest that befriending gay men may be an important feature of women’s mating strategies, especially among attractive women who face greater mating threats from heterosexual individuals.”
– Professor Eric Russell, one of the reasearchers, University of Texas at Arlington
TV’s gay friend obsession
The obsession started with Will and Grace, a sitcom focusing on the friendship of a straight woman and her gay best friend. This is one of those shows that showcased that requesting someone be your gay sidekick should be seen as complementary — or even a kind of acceptance — rather than ignorant or insensitive. It’s not that there isn’t some truth to the cliché. The friendship between a gay man and a straight woman can be a unique and special thing. It is because this friendship is arising from a commonality of experience. But this is no way to solely base a friendship on their sexual orientation.
Similarly, two of the most popular films of recent times, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians are rightfully being applauded for reframing the quintessential rom-com from a more diverse perspective and centering the kinds of Asian-American characters who are rarely presented as romantic leads in studio pictures. However, they also both fall into a classic rom-com trap: the underwritten gay best friend. The portrayal of a queer character’s existence in the fictional ecosystem remains limited. Queer characters are more than just responding to the emotional or sartorial needs of a straight protagonist.
It may take us long to change the society’s preconceived notions about gay best friends. A self-conscious queer teenager might feel upset about the behavior our society exhibits towards the LGBTQ community. After all, everyone is fighting their own battles, why add on another stereotype?
If, as a white gay man, you can’t understand the offence of fetishising black men and their “BBC’s”, think about how offended you get when girls get really excited and want you to be their “gay best friend”
— Nick (@BelowTheNote) June 8, 2020
In essence, friendship is not something to do with checkboxes of any kind. It is a bond that comes from within. Straight or not, no friendship is determined by one’s perception. So let’s stop placing expectations and enforcing stereotypes on gay men and move on with our lives. Make friends with the ones who click best with you.