I've been having a ponder about things I value in many of my good friends – both online and in RL. And one of the main things is my not having to navigate the Stereotype Fences.
I often feel pressurised to be someone I'm not, to act a way I am not, to conform either to what straightness tells me I should be or to conform to what I'm supposed to be to be a “real” gay man.
And it's tiresome and tiring. I hate editing myself in case something I said/did was just “too gay.” And I hate checking myself because something I said/did comes off as “straight emulation.”
I hate that there are so many rules to just being.
Which is where I come to my friends.
I value the friends where I can snark and cruelly rip into someone and not have someone think “he's such a catty queen”. I like that I can flirt outrageously and that not be a comment on my being gay. I like that I can flounce, wear my hair long, dress in outrageous fancy dress, listen to my cheesey or oogle hot guys and not have people roll their eyes at how utterly gay I am.
I also value friends where I can say “I don't actually carry a condom in my wallet because I'm happily monogamous” and not be accused of “wanting to be straight.” I like being able to discuss my conflicted and painful considerations about having kids without being told that wanting to have kids is such a “straight” thing. I like being able to say that I've never done drag and don't want to and not have it declared that I am rejecting being gay. I like whining about Beloved, a joint household, even utilities and bank balances without being told I'm “trying to be straight.”
My friends let me be me, no boxes, no stereotyped fences, no identity policing. And I don't think I can underestimate the value of that.