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No, you don't need a ‘gay best friend.’ And yes, asking for one is offensive.




A participant waves a rainbow flag as he takes part in the Gay Pride Parade on June 7, 2008 in Warsaw, Poland.
A participant waves a rainbow flag as he takes part in the Gay Pride Parade on June 7, 2008 in Warsaw, Poland.
Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images

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When freelance writer Philip Ellis was young, it wasn't uncommon for people who found out he was gay to ask "Oh my god! Will you be my gay best friend?"

Fast forward to today, and Ellis has continued seeing this desire for a token gay friend not just among peers, but in TV and movies as well. Hence came the inspiration for his recent article, "Just Because I’m Gay Doesn’t Mean I Want to Be Your Sidekick," where he outlines the stereotypes and expectations placed upon LGBTQ individuals by their seemingly well-meaning heterosexual counterparts. As he states in the piece, he found himself conforming to the image that straight friends and media set before him: that he was there to "respond to the emotional and sartorial needs of a straight protagonist."

AirTalk discusses the issue with Ellis, and opens the phones to listeners who have experienced similar social pigeonholing. Have you found yourself in a situation where a straight person wants to befriend you purely for your sexual preferences? As an LGBTQ youth, did expectations to check particular boxes influence the way you came out? Call 866.893.5722.

Guest:

Philip Ellis, freelance writer and author of the piece "Just Because I'm Gay Doesn't Mean I Want To Be Your Sidekick," which was featured on the style and culture blog ManRepeller.com; he tweets @Philip_Ellis



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