Your Gay Best Friend Is Not a Prop
We all know the ’90s are back in a big way. In ’90s style, nostalgia fads like Tamagotchis and Posh Spice’s black mini dress are popping up everywhere from Coachella to Kansas. But one fad commonly found in that decade’s TV shows is better left in the past — the Gay Best Friend as an accessory.
Carrie Bradshaw had her Stanford Blatch. Charlotte York had Anthony Marantino. Samantha Jones had, well, pretty much anyone she wanted….
The “Gay Best Friend” was paraded out by single female characters when they wanted to attend “fabulous” parties without a straight date, but couldn’t bare the idea of going solo. They would call up Stanny to hang on their arm for the night. Fans of Will & Grace will recognize that many viewers at the time the show was airing wanted a Will or a Jack in their life, some hoping they could even eventually “turn” their gay bestie straight. We’re so excited Will & Grace is coming back for a reboot, but hope this tired trope is behind us for good.
At the time these shows were groundbreaking for representing gay characters on primetime, having some of the first opening gay main characters on a sitcom, and for sexuality playing a central role in the storytelling of a smash television show.
These shows deserve credit for pushing the envelop and moving the LGBT+ movement forward at a time mainstream America still held onto horrible misconceptions about this community. Television shows like these helped put gay characters in the living rooms of everyday Americans and made them laugh with them not at them.
However, the idea of using a gay bestie as props the way these characters of the past did sounds ludicrous nowadays! Thanks to progress made for the LGBT+ community, the general population understands sexuality and gender identity far better than we did in the ’90s. Gay, straight, or somewhere in between, all friendships should be treated with dignity and respect.
If you have a friend who comes out to you, listen to them, support them as best you know how — and if you need help, seek out resources to better direct you or confide in a trustworthy source (with your friend’s permission — do not out them!).
Just like your straight friends, everyone needs a friend to listen, to have fun with, to make memories with, to love. Make as many happy memories with your loved ones as you possibly can!