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by Corey Gray
Even though the gay stereotype has been broken down a bit over the years, there are still some aspects that persist. A lot of what I’m going to talk about aren’t negative stereotypes at all, they are just little things that have made me feel more and more like a fixture or accessory in people’s lives rather than an actual human being.
I can’t seem to go about my life without being called “fabulous” or “fierce” or being told that I “slay” at least once a day by a straight cisgirl. Of course, there’s also the now very prevalent exclamation “work”. At this point those words have lost all meaning to me. Back in high school I would gladly welcome them with a gleeful “YAAS” and maybe even a sassy finger snap, but over time I noticed that those were really the only quasi-compliments people would give me. I also caught wind that when my friend’s would tell their friend’s about me, the first thing they would say things along the lines of “Oh my god, Corey is a FAB-U-LOUS gay! Ugh, you would LOVE HIM.” At a point, it felt like I was nothing more than a gay to them who could be interchanged with any other and the dynamic wouldn’t change a bit. Of course, I know my friend’s didn’t mean any harm, but it’s like if I was telling one of my friend’s about one of the girls who talked about me like that and said something like “Oh my god, she is so WHITE! You’d LOVE her!” So, before you call another gay person “fierce”, “sickening”, “fabulous”, or anything else just because they're gay, just think of a different adjective. It’s not that I don’t love being gay, I honestly couldn’t even imagine life if I weren’t gay, but I’d also like to be my own individual person, not just the universal gay.
I noticed this a lot in high school, but I’m even still seeing it in college: girls wanting gay best friends. By “gay best friend”, they specifically want a sassy, fashion-obsessed, trendy, attractive in a traditional boy way gay. The fact this this is a desired, or accepted, type of gay in a lot of settings, means many gay kids try to fit into the role. I even squished myself into this box back in the day because that was, and still is, the popular gay. By girls seeking that kind of gay, they are in a way oppressing the other gays. You can’t just want a gay best friend if they act like the stereotype.
Stereotypes are nasty little buggers that will never go away, so it’s just important to be aware of them so you don’t enforce them. No, don’t try to set me up with you’re one gay friend. There’s more to a gay person than just being gay. I know this is very much an article you would’ve seen five years ago, but I think people need a reminder. Just because you’re accepting and try your hardest to be a good ally doesn’t mean you aren’t still holding onto some of the stereotypes. Even just little things like these can’t negatively impact your queer friends, so I just want you all to be more aware of how ingrained stereotypes are influencing your interactions.