I was coming out of the grocery store in my neighborhood and bumped into a friend of a friend who, when telling her my evening plans, said she “couldn’t wait to meet my gay.”
Let me back up a bit. Growing up, I was familiar with homosexuality because of some of my family members. In college, a few of my classmates came out to me. Being involved in the performing arts, my comedy duo partner and I have performed in most of NYC’s gay bars and clubs. I have plenty of gay and lesbian friends and consider myself lucky for living in a city that is literally bursting with diversity. I am a generally liberal and open-minded person.
Now that we’ve gotten my history out of the way, let me say first that I understand the term “faghag” and if you don’t, here is the wikipedia entry. Because my comedy partner in crime, Jason, is both gay and one of my closest friends we’ve run into this stereotype before. Jason and I have been friends since college where we first performed together, and our on stage comedy chemistry translated into both a friendship and a musical duo. Despite hanging out and working together often we don’t fall into a lot of the other gay-male-straight-female stereotypes. I was never hopelessly in unrequited love for him. We didn’t date before he came out. We are not each others only close friends. He doesn’t pick out my clothes, hairstyle or makeup.
We’re friends. We respect each other. Onstage together we find ourselves hilarious. We do tell gay-themed jokes sometimes but he usually writes for me and I usually write for him. He doesn’t introduce me as his faghag. I tried once to say “my gays” recently and it felt both ridiculous and insulting although it did not insult the gay male I said it to.
In short, people are not property. He is not my gay. I am not his hag. If he were straight, would we still require labels for our friendship?
Some of you may be thinking, “Lighten up, it’s just slang and not usually meant to be offensive” and I know what you mean by that. When you’re out drinking and blowing off some steam sometimes it’s fun to just shout out stupid things. We’ve all been there. However, if we all really believe that equality is a human right, then why do we keep celebrating stereotypes? If I want my gay friends to have all of the rights that my straight friends have, that I have, than why do I have to label them at all? I’m not thrilled when heterosexuals are referred to as “breeders” either, for that matter. If your parents weren’t “breeders” you wouldn’t exist. Boom.
Furthermore, when did anyone else’s sexuality become my business at all? Frankly I could care less if someone sleeps with men or with women (or both.) If you’re anything like me you might have been introduced to a new group of people like this: “That’s Lisa, she’s an accountant, Maggie just sold her first painting, Jenny is the one from Jersey that I told you about, and that’s Brian and James, they’re gay.”
Oh really? That’s it? Brian and James don’t have jobs, talent, and aren’t from anywhere? The fact that someone is gay can easily be the least interesting thing about a person…and how did you expect me to start that conversation anyway? “Hey, I’m NotYourGuru, I hear you’re gay…how’s that going?” What all of this comes down to is that I love and respect the gay community and hope that members and supporters alike can be a little more open-minded as well. This is just my not-a-guru point of view. Thoughts? Leave me a comment below.