Gay men/straight women relationships become problematic if they are objectifying or tokenizing. I personally have heard "finally, a gay best friend!", "I've always wanted to be friends with a gay guy!", "I love gay guys!", and countless other variations of these phrases more times than I can count. Obviously, these statements are loaded with much deeper implications than a mere appreciation of gay culture. When someone seeks out or values an individual based solely on their sexual orientation, they fail to see them as a whole person with their own unique attributes and flaws. If they did, they wouldn’t need the qualifier ‘gay’ before ‘friend’ because they would recognize being gay as simply one aspect among many that make up an individual’s identity. The Gay BFF becomes at best a one-dimensional supporting character in the story of their life, at worst an accessory brought along on shopping sprees and mani/pedi dates. What’s more is that this desire for a Gay Best Friend is deeply rooted in stereotypes of what a gay male is supposed to act like. As a GBFF, your role is not to complain about the second class status of being a gay male in the United States, be interested in sports in any way, or (heaven forbid) talk about gay sex. Your role is to tell your female friend she looks fierce, help her pick out outfits, and gossip about other girls and her boy troubles. When someone intentionally looks for a Gay BFF, they are looking for someone who fits into the stereotype of a gay male, with little to no deviation. They are looking for a token gay friend.
This is not to say that gay men/straight women relationships are fundamentally wrong, or that they should be avoided. I myself have several straight female friends who I love and appreciate dearly, and whom I consider among my strongest allies. There are many similarities between the struggle for women’s rights and the struggle for gay (queer) rights, which creates the strong potential for gay men to be allies to women and vice versa. And this certainly isn’t to say that gay men/straight women shouldn’t engage in a shopping spree or a juicy gossip session from time to time (I’m definitely the one gay male at a boozy brunch with a table full of women). This is to say that gay men shouldn’t be objectified by straight women solely for being gay, and we certainly shouldn’t be expected to engage in stereotypical behavior (whether we do or not is irrelevant). Like any other underrepresented group, we are not here for your tokenization or enjoyment. So let’s drop the qualifier, shall we? Let’s stop looking for your gay best friend and start looking for a friend, someone with whom you can develop a mutual respect and understanding with over common interests, regardless of how well they fit into a stereotype.