I was at a restaurant with friends a few nights ago and our food was taking forever. We were starving and a friend turned around and said, ‘You wanna know why it’s taking so long? There are too many straight men working here. That’s the problem. They’re so slow.’
I laughed and added, ‘yeah, gay men don’t have time to fuck around. It’s because we all have AIDS: we don’t have that long left. We gotta get in, get the coin and get out!’
And it’s true. Gay men, like the small dogs that we parent instead of the children we aren’t allowed to have, are quick and snappy. Perhaps it’s a symptom of always being on the verge of a hate-crime, but ‘moving fast’ is part of the ‘queer package’; other features of the package include being the best dancer at any given party, having impeccable style and weird conversations about your asshole with close relatives.
I’ve never been one to be precious about being queer or my queerness and I’ve never been exceptionally bothered by jokes made at my expense. Self-acceptance is an act not dissimilar to coating yourself in Teflon: Only glitter sticks.
But every now and then, things happen that even I can’t shrug off. They stick, ironically, a lot like glitter. So, for my sanity and your much-needed education, here are five strategies you can employ to improve your relationships with your queer friends.
As a gay man who’s pretty unpleasant to be around and generally pretty unenthusiastic about a lot of things, it’s fair to say that I get asked the question, ‘Are you sure you’re even into guys?’ quite frequently. And there’s always the favourite, ‘have you ever tried just sleeping with a girl? Like, I just want you to try it!’
And I’m always like, Nah, mate, when I say ‘gay’, I didn’t mean ‘same sex attracted’ but the other use for the word, the acronym G.A.Y: Good At Yachting. I just love getting out on the open water, drinking a glass of champagne and eating pussy. It’s so freeing.
And while, yes, I do love a good sailor’s uniform, I can confidently say that I’m very homosexual. My wrists are so limp, that I’m surprised I even have the strength to type this very article. I maintain my homosexuality despite my unpleasantness (probably because of it, if we’re being real). Just because someone doesn’t fit your preconceived notion of something, doesn’t make their existence any less valid.
Example: the people who’ve asked me these questions are human and therefore came out of their mother’s vagina. But that doesn’t stop them from being a piece of shit.
2. Gaypril Fools
A friend of mine posted a status on April Fools Day about how straight people shouldn’t post statuses about coming out as jokes because they’re insensitive, to which about ten straight people responded with, ‘but it’s funny. And if we all talk about it and makes jokes about it, it’ll get accepted more.’
The problem with that logic is that it’s fucking stupid.
As a queer person, my feelings, body and expression (be it sexual, emotional, physical, verbal or anal), are regulated in ways that non-queer people will never experience. The problem isn’t that straight people aren’t talking about queer people, nor is it that they don’t accept that queers exist. People accept that we exist. The problem is that they hate us, and think so low of us that making jokes like that seems genuinely funny. The solution to this problem isn’t letting straight people continue speaking about us, or for us, its letting us speak for ourselves. Yes, yes I know it’s difficult because we all have those pesky lisps… it’s like steam escaping from a million kettles with dicks up their ass’ but try it. Try listening. It’ll actually make a fucking difference.
3. Anthony, can you not use the word ‘faggot’, it really offends me (My Mother, at least once a week)
Oh that’s really sweet, but also you don’t get to decide.
4. Good Intentions
What will come up when someone does something offensive to a queer person is that they meant well. That they had good intentions, and therefore they’re absolved of any wrongdoing. ‘Sure he laughed and called you a faggot, but he’s old school. He means well.’
The thing about intention, however, is that it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the effect. If I went to hug you, and in the process of opening my arms up, I punched you in the face, it really doesn’t matter that I meant to hug you at all. It doesn’t make it hurt any less. If you bake me a chocolate pie but make the pie with shit instead of chocolate, it doesn’t matter how badly you wanted me to enjoy it, or how much effort you’ve put in or how hard you’re trying, I don’t want to eat shit.
This isn’t The Help. You are not Octavia Spencer.
That movie was quite problematic.
And so are you.
5. You know, I really believe in gay marriage. I support it.
Thank you. Your support means everything to me.*
*It means literally nothing. Get out. Why are you telling me?
Being friends with queer people is exactly like being friends with straight people, in the sense that every relationship is different. But as a blanket rule, don’t go out of your way to belittle or insult us, don’t speak for us and for fuck sake stop expecting a medal for being understanding about queer issues. You should understand them. It’s called being a good person. What queer people want is to be treated like humans and for our fucking food to come already; it’s been thirty minutes…