Dear people who use the phrase “Gay Best Friend,”
I politely request that you not use this phrase.
To begin, I question where you came upon this phrase. If you got it from the movie "G.B.F." I don’t believe that you watched it through all the way. The message of the movie is that using the term “GBF” is insensitive, and frequently makes gay people feel uncomfortable, belittled, and commodified.
Frequently when I see the term “GBF” used, it is surrounded by gay stereotypes. Statements like “[my GBF] makes an excellent shopping partner,” “has an awesome sense of style,” and “leaves a giant trail of glitter when exiting a room,” are not only stereotypical, but are frequently untrue. Personally, I (a real life gay) have a terrible sense of fashion. Finals week this fall semester, I devolved into a world of daywear pajamas which wasn’t so different than the rest of the year. And when it comes to shopping or making any kind of decision, I would rather take my finals again.
The idea that the “Gay Best Friend” is a universal cookie cutter type of person is ridiculous. Some gays like to party; some gays sit at home and play video games (please see the queer slang term “gaymer”). The belief that there is an essential “GBF” just goes to show that there isn’t nearly enough queer representation in the media, or real life. Queer silence forces the most flamboyant representatives to be seen by society as the typical.
The truth is, being gay, being bisexual, being pansexual, asexual, graysexual, undefined, or anything else, does not determine who you are as a person. Your sexuality or gender identity is only a small part of your personality and is not a governing umbrella that wholly defines you. If you learned that your mailwoman was gay, would you suddenly expect something different of her? If your go-to "party friend" was asexual would your mind be blown? Your doctor could be trans, your elementary art school teacher could be lesbian, your parents could both be bisexual unless they’ve explicitly told you otherwise. Why should that make them any different?
Unless you’re trying to date me or are looking for advice because you’re sexually confused or something, there is almost no reason that you should care about my sexuality at all. My arbitrary label as homosexual does not affect you in any way, and barely affects me in any way. Calling a person who is gay a "GBF" reduces their entire being to a sexuality.
I am more than who I love. I am more than who I am attracted to. I am more than a minor part of my life that you frankly have nothing to do with.
Now it would be absurd for me to believe that everyone who uses that term is using it in a malicious, inherently evil way. Some people might think it’s cute. Some gay people might even find it rewarding. I have no way of knowing as my experiences are not universal. The main message I want to get across is to be careful of what you say and how you word things.
There’s a concept called “people-first language.” The idea is that you should state the personhood of an individual before a certain category into which they fall. Instead of saying “oh yeah, that’s the autistic kid,” one could opt to say “oh yeah, that’s the kid who has autism,” or better yet exclude the label unless it’s important to your cause. While this is most commonly discussed in disability studies, it applies to any group that is popularly defined by their label.
In the end, I can't stop you from saying anything; I can only suggest. So, if you want to talk about your GBF, try switching it up and saying something like “oh yeah, that’s my friend Colin over there. He’s an English Major, likes to knit, plays 'The Legend of Zelda' more than any healthy individual should, and he’s gay.”