Thursday, February 9, 2012

Be My Friend, Not Just My Shopping Buddy

Stereotype: A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. (
One could argue that our society tends to oversimplify things. We like clear, concise, and compartmentalized ideas, people, groups, and communities, etc. Thus, stereotypes exist. And people subscribe to stereotypes because it’s easier to group people or things into more umbrella categories. Shallow us? Perhaps. But in reality, it’s just the natural, judgmental tendencies of humankind.
If you identify as someone who is ethnically, racially, sexually, or religiously a minority (or some combination of these), there is likely a stereotype for you. Lucky me, I’ve had many stereotypes associated with me over the years, but most recently, of course, there is the fact that I am gay. And that’s what I wanted to dedicate this blog posting to.
You know, just because I came out of the closet and am now openly gay does not mean that I know all of Lady Gaga’s Lyrics, or that I am obsessed with RENT, or that I am a good shopper, or that I “should know these things” about fashion, or that I am up for sale as a gay best friend. Those of you who have thought this or spoken to me about this, don’t worry – you have done absolutely nothing wrong!! Our society has created these stereotypes and you have subscribed to something that is very broadly expressed in our culture.
However, I urge to look past these stereotypes just for a minute. I am more than just the stereotypical gay man and many of my true friends can tell you that. In fact, many gays lack the stereotypical labels that our culture has created for us. If those girls who just see us a gay best friends, or a shopping buddy, or someone to get fashion advice from actually got to know us and treated us like everyone else, maybe those girls could see past the stereotypes, past the negative labeling, and become true allies (True Allies!) of us gay individuals. True allies are great. They make no distinction between their straight and gay friends. And those are the individuals that don’t subscribe to stereotypes. They are rare, but they are great.
So, no. I don’t like froyo. I don’t even know who Liz Lemons is. And I have yet to have a “Wednesday Girls Night Out.” But I hope you ladies have fun. Maybe I can do your makeup before you leave? Just kidding.
This video is very humorous, but reflects this posting quite accurately: