Guest post: Why my gay brother and I are friends
I know what you’re thinking. Am I really getting to the stage where I don’t even write my own posts? Is it about to get all Britney-esque, my contributions reduced to a bit of lip-synching and backing vocals? Well, no. Of course not. But here is a post about that age-old partnership that can withstand even the biggest tremors life can throw at it: a girl and the gay best friend. Sure, it’s a stereotype, but stereotypes exist for a reason.
The author of this guest post, Miranda Santiago, is a psychology major and freelance writer. She enjoys writing about dating topics, appealing specifically to relationships involving Latin women. Apart from writing, Miranda enjoys windsurfing, playing the piano and cheering on her favourite baseball teams.
There’s a new study that’s been published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology that claims it has explained the reason that straight women and gay men are friends.
If you’re like me, you probably cocked your head a bit when you read that. I was browsing the web when I saw this study making news all over the place. I didn’t know at first what it was, but something about the headlines made me uncomfortable, like a silent tugging on the back of my mind. I filed it away.
For those not in-the-know, Texas Christian University’s research essentially based itself around dating advice and trust. Their conclusion was that gay men are generally friends with straight women because it’s more conducive to their dating lives—straight men don’t work for them as friends because they only know how to give advice about women, and the same goes for lesbian women.
Apparently gay men are not friends with other gay men because they will inevitably betray each other while selecting from the same dating pool, or will just form a relationship with them. Women are perceived to be the perfect companions for gay males because they can give and receive dating advice from them without worrying about the threat of betrayal because, while they are both selecting from the male dating pool, one is selecting from gay males while the other is selecting from straight ones.
More recently, I spoke with my younger brother about the study, deciding to probe him and see what he thought about the subject. The more I thought about it, the more it was bothering me, so I decided to go right to the source.
“Why do you think we’re such good friends?” I asked him.
“Because you’re my sister,” he replied behind a mouthful of bagel.
“But besides that,” I continued, “why do you think that you and I, a straight woman and a gay man, why do you think that we are friends?
He stared blankly at me. “I don’t see what you’re getting at.”
I took the opportunity to explain the study to him. All of this over a cup of copy with my little brother.
“I don’t know what it is,” I said to him, “but the study just rubs me the wrong way.”
“Well, yeah,” he replied between sips of coffee, “because it’s bullshit. I have plenty of straight and gay friends both, male and female.” He paused. “The way I see it, in our day and age, there’s a new eye opening up on the LGBTQA community, and it’s one that wants to understand and accept what it has feared for years. Unfortunately, when studies like this come out they do more harm than good, I think.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, I mean, look at it. This study is attempting to ‘explain’ how and why gay people ‘are the way they are’. There are two problems with that. The first is that no explanation is needed. Studies about straight male/straight male friendships don’t make headlines, because they don’t need explanation, and the same goes for straight female/straight female relationships. Why didn’t you read an article about why Latin men always go for white women?”
I had to laugh at that point. I could see where he was going.
“Because it’s a stereotype,” he continued. “Sure, it happens, gay men and straight women are friends sometimes, just like sometimes Latin men go for white women—but to say that it happens all the time? To paint the picture that gay men are always paired up with some fashionista best friend? That’s the second problem. There is no such thing as ‘the gay man’. We are all just what we are; we’re just people.”
I had to give it to him. He’d pinpointed what had made me uneasy about the article.
“I’ll give them credit for one thing,” he said. “It’s an interesting study into human sexuality. It’s idiotic of them to pretend like the study is about friendship though.”
My little brother—mi hermanito—is the best at what he does. Nobody can help clear my mind like him. He has a voice that I respect and love, and I was glad that he intuitively felt the same way I did about the issue (even if I didn’t know exactly how I felt at first). And I suppose that’s why we are friends; not because I am straight or he is gay, or even because I am his sister and he is my brother. We’re friends because we can communicate, and because we trust each other about much more than just dating advice.
We’re friends because we make each other laugh, and because we like the same movies and the same foods. When it comes straight down to it, we’re friends for the same reasons as anybody else in the world; we just are.