In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in that her girlfriend HATES that all her BFFs are gay men.
This baffles our dear reader who is confused at how her girlfriend can be a lesbian and discriminate against another person in her own community. Thank goodness for Hola Papi! and his sage (and glittery) words of advice.
If you want his advice, just email him email@example.com your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!
I’m a lesbian, but most of my friends are gay men. I have a really solid network of chosen family and consider myself really lucky! My girlfriend, on the other hand, says she is not a fan of hanging out with gay men and has never had a gay man friend because they are simply not into the same things. Writing off a whole group of people is disrespectful and ignorant on so many levels, but especially hurtful when my closest friends are included in that group and my entire career is based on dismantling that type of thinking.
We’ve had a few conversations about this, and she doesn’t seem to get it. She also doesn’t seem to want to get to know my friends past her stereotyped concepts of “gay men.” It’s becoming an issue because it not only makes my head explode every time we have these conversations, but also because my friends are aware of this line of thinking and not the biggest fans of her because of it.
What can I do to get her to understand why this way of thinking is a problem and also do damage control with my friends?
Gay and Not Okay
Hey, hey, Gay and Not Okay!
So, let me get this straight (no hetero): Your girlfriend has never met your friends. She just doesn’t want to meet them because they’re gay men? I’m throwing a flag on that play, Gay!
To be clear, there are ample reasons to avoid men. Men hand out reasons to avoid men like stingy people hand out bite-sized Tootsie Rolls on Halloween, or like I handed out condoms at my sadly under-attended quinceañera, which I held at the age of 23. If someone stopped me on the street, put a gun in my face and said, “Come up with ten reasons to avoid men or I’ll shoot,” my first thought would be, “Only ten?”
However, as reticent as I am to tell any living, breathing human being to be less judgmental of men in this, the Year of Our Lord 2017, I have to agree with your assessment that your girlfriend isn’t being fair. I also think there are bigger issues afoot.
So to begin, let’s get organized and separate this out into things I do understand and things I do not understand here. Ahem, things I do understand:
• Being a gay woman and being hesitant about entering gay male spaces.
• Being leery about gay men’s misogyny and their weird lesbian jokes.
• The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
• Having an instinctual distrust of men.
• Not wanting to leave the house to socialize or having social anxiety.
• Soviet era propaganda films from 1924 to 1952.
Things I do not understand:
• Not wanting to meet people without knowing anything about them other than their sexual orientation.
• Telling your partner “nah” when they invite you to meet the people they care about.
• Not explaining your “nah” with anything other than “they’re gay lol.”
• Carly Rae Jepsen not ascending to mainstream pop godhood.
• Assuming you’ll have nothing in common with a person because he’s a gay guy.
• Basic arithmetic. We’re talking fourth grade level and beyond here.
I don’t know if your girlfriend has given you any more specifics to work with. They would certainly help you in gaining a better understanding of her motives.
However, I think the bigger issue here is that your girlfriend doesn’t want to meet the people who are special to you. And that’s a problem. I also don’t think you can make peace between her and your gays until she’s willing to explain herself to you or actually meet them herself.
I’m not one to dismiss sexual orientation as a major factor in things, but let’s take it out of the equation for a second since we’re all “family” here. If my partner says he wants me to meet his friends, I’m going to meet his friends, and he’s going to meet mine. All two of them. Period. This is Relationship 101. The Spice Girls laid out these rules in the 90s as I’m sure you’re aware.
If I don’t get along with his friends or if they do something to make me uncomfortable, we can take it from there. But to not even give them a chance? It’s no wonder your crew is side-eyeing.
I’m also not on board with the stereotype that gay men and lesbian women have nothing in common because we are neither attracted to each other nor attracted to the same people. This is not only Jake Gyllenhaal erasure, but also ignorant of the fact that, at the end of the day, we are both gay, and therefore better.
So, were I you, I would say something like: Hey, it hurts that you don’t want to meet my friends. They’re special to me, and so are you. Is there anything beyond them being gay men that’s making you hesitate? If not, I have a problem with that, because it’s not fair to them.
I would also maybe try to arrange some sort of middle ground. Could you gays meet on a different home turf, so to speak? Somewhere your girlfriend is comfortable? Perhaps she’s just nervous about meeting new people. That’d certainly be a better scenario than, say, her being jealous that you have other people in your life, or a prejudice against gay men.
But alas, I can’t be sure what she’s thinking. Despite multiple rituals and one visit to a witch in a hut in the Sonoran desert that nearly cost me my life, I am not psychic. And, unless the lesbians are hiding something (which could very well be the case), you aren’t a mind reader either.
Which is why we need to what? C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-E!
That word is a lot longer than I remember.
But the bottom line is, there are questions you need answered, and she has to be willing to trust you with those answers. If she doesn’t, well, in the immortal words of the Spice Girls: Friendship never ends. Slam your body down and wind it all around. (Slam your body down and wind it all around).