When your friend is gay

Shakira Sison

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You cannot claim you love gay people when you mock their lifetime struggles and their childhood taunts

So you have gay friends. You have them because they make you laugh. You love them because they compliment your outfit and your make-up and you can do girly things with them. Like shop. And whine about boys. And get drunk without worrying you’ll end up carrying an embryo the next day. 

You love your gay boys because unlike your catty girlfriends, they don’t compete with you in beauty, or for men, or for airtime. You love the brazen ones you call funny for calling out what’s wrong with that approaching girl’s attire. You love the promiscuous ones who can graphically describe without shame the fellatio you also performed last night.

So you love to chill with your lesbian friends because they don’t have man drama. Especially in couples, all they do is cook and nest, or make improvements to their house. Or you like their edginess and their defiance, you’re enamored by their strength.

You want to wear their clothes but you don’t want to be called a dyke. You give them girly fashion advice, and think it’s great they can play ball with your boy-toy but they won’t steal his heart.

You blush when a guy says you’d be hot making out with your lesbian friends. You like it when a lesbian has a crush on you, even if you’ll never reciprocate. But you won’t tell either misguided soul to stop. 

Mindful of the minority?

So you have gay friends, and that makes you cool and progressive. In your eyes, you’re mindful of that minority. You support them, meaning you hang out and you don’t mind sharing a laugh.

You’ve been friends for years, and they’ve seen you through your ups and downs. But they know better than to mention to you their troubles at home and at work, unless they want to hear you say, “Maybe you should man up.” Or worse, you’ll try to set up a lifelong lesbian with a guy. 

When pushed to define your stand on an LGBTQ issue, you begin with “Hey, I have gay friends,” like a qualifier to show you’re not as hateful as the venomous “BUT” you’re about to drop  —  “BUT marriage is only between a man and a woman, ” or “I’m Catholic/Christian. The bible says homosexuality is wrong.” 

Conveniently you forget that the Bible also prohibits many things you already do, like have sex before marriage, or masturbate, or let your boyfie touch your breasts when you make out.

Unlike you, your gay friends don’t throw that irony back in your face. Unlike you, your gay friends don’t quote the Bible when they’re asked how they feel about your rights. They believe you should have the same rights as everyone else. You don’t doubt they would fight for your right to healthcare, your access to contraception, and the right to marry the person you want. 

“But it’s society,” you say, “homosexuality has always been wrong,” forgetting that it’s also been taboo to marry outside your race or your religion, but we don’t outlaw that.

“Ang sagwa lang tignan,” you’ll say about two men or two women kissing. (It’s hard on the eyes.) Never mind if your odd-looking boyfriend is much, much harder on the eyes. Your gay friends know better than to get in the way of who and how you love. 

“Why do we have to be so serious, why can’t we just have fun?” You’ll say this if there’s even a mention of the glaring reality of discrimination against your gay friends and their kind. You believe they’re already accepted, because you see Vice Ganda on TV as the token funny bakla, and hey, you and your gays and lesbians all get along! They’re accepted, see? They’re not getting hurt. That should be all they want!

Not that your gay friends will complain. Watch them nod when you say, “We’re really friends naman, di ba?” Most of them hang around you because it’s as familiar as the rhetoric they’ve heard all their lives. They’ll adapt and conform so they won’t get hurt, and they won’t stir the pot.

They will allow the straight girl to shine. She’ll get the boy he wants because he’s unlovable, and even if he does become loved he can’t get married. Even his best girl friend says it’s against the law of God.

But you, you’re the fag hag and your besties are trannies! You boast this fact as if you and your friends are inseparable. Except that as soon as you can, you pray: Please dear God, don’t let that happen to my son. Right?

Where ‘opinion’ affects lives

Except you’re different! You’re open-minded and believe that friends can have differences in opinion. We can coexist without seeing eye to eye. That is true when opposing opinions are respected and not used to impact friends’ daily lives.

However, your “opinion” against same-sex marriage reaches past your own option to not marry the same sex. You’re fine with laws that prohibit your own friends from protecting their families and marrying the ones they love. Your “opinion” on homosexuality being a sin is allowing your own friends to be marginalized at work or at school, all while you sit down and wait for the next time you and your precious friends can hang out.

You say you love your friends. Unfortunately, love does not let you pick and choose at your convenience only the qualities you want. Love will not let you mock their lifetime struggles, their childhood taunts and their adolescent black eyes by dismissing their issues.

You cannot claim you love gay people when, on the day of their historic victory, you aroused men by kissing your first cousin, and then captioned it “Our take on gay rights. Haha.” 

Congratulations, you’ve just insulted and invalidated the happiness of your own friends for publicity. But of course they’ll never tell you that. They love you so much they don’t want to hurt your feelings. What could be more tragic than that?

A wake-up call

To you, straight friend, a wake up call: You haven’t accepted your friends. You’ve only accepted how the world treats them, and you want them to be fine with that.

Saying “I have gay friends” and wanting less for them is not friendship. You wouldn’t be fine with any other (straight) friend being denied the right to work, study, or marry. Prohibiting your gay friends from celebrating their love because your religion prohibits YOU from doing it does not make you holy. It makes you a bad friend, and a hypocrite. It also makes as much sense as scolding a Catholic for eating during Ramadan. 

The next time you mention your “gay friends,” think about whether you treat them and respect them the way you respect everyone else you call “friend.” If you’re friends with gay people because they make you laugh and entertain you, or go with you to your errands, but you’re fine with them not having the same rights as you, stop calling them friends. Call them clowns. Call them bodyguards. But don’t fool them with the term “friend” because friends aren’t fine with their friends having different rights.

In the meantime, your gay friends should stop thinking you’re their friend, because you’ll sell them out anytime. No? Then say it out loud: I believe my gay friends should have absolutely everything that I have. See, I didn’t think so.

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr. – Rappler.com 


Shakira Andrea Sison currently works in the financial industry while dabbling in several unrelated projects and interests. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002. Follow her on Twitter: @shakirasison (Link:http://twitter.com/shakirasison)


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