11/ 07/ 2008
I learned yesterday that I’m considered by some of my gay friends to be a fag hag. Call me a killjoy, but I was kind of offended.
When I think of fag hags, I think of women who brag about having gay male friends like they’re accessories. I think of women who measure their fabulousness based on the amount of attention they get from a community that is stereotyped beyond belief. I think of the hours these men put in (for what reason, I’ve no idea) hanging out and shopping with these insufferable people who treat them like talking pets and who probably talk about themselves more than is healthy.
UPDATE: another explanation can be found here: http://outfrontonline.com/social/humor/stuff-gay-people-like/stuff-gay-people-like-fag-hags/
That stereotype aside, the idea that I would make friends with people because of their sexual orientation offends me. First of all, I have the most amazingly bad gaydar it’s ridiculous. I didn’t even realize most of my gay friends were gay at first, because sexual orientation just doesn’t cross my mind when I meet people unless they’re people I’m sexually interested in. Not to mention, before moving here I had surprisingly little exposure to the gay community even though I lived in New York, mostly for coincidental reasons. My best friends there are all straight. What’s more, prior to meeting my boyfriend, they were mostly straight men, not women (a.k.a. the farthest thing away from gay stereotypes).
Here, it’s a different story. I formed an instant bond with several of my co-workers here, several of whom are gay, though I didn’t know it at first. We get along famously because they are awesome people. And they are awesome by their own merit, not because of a label people apply to them. I don’t care how much some gay men enjoy being stereotyped, I simply do not believe that being attracted to the same sex gives you instant fashion cred, or special insight into my female mind.
Anyway, this came up because I think a maybe-closeted coworker may have been trying to come out to me the other day. When I said as much at dinner last night, and said that I didn’t understand why he’d pick me and that situation as a platform to reveal himself, my other gay coworkers laughed as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, and called me the “biggest fag hag a the table” (effectively insulting my other colleague, who herself has accepted the title with pride).
Of course, I know this was meant as a compliment of sorts, but I’m still offended. I don’t understand why gay men would use it as a compliment … as an Asian woman, I know what it’s like to be in that role. Scores of non-Asian men throughout the world just love surrounding themselves with Asian women because we make neat, exotic accessories. They think it’s complimentary to tell Asian women they are beautiful, but we don’t laud them for it; when I tell a man he has an Asian fetish, or is a sinophile etc., I mean it as the sincerest expression of disrespect.
I’ll take their compliment, but I still think the label at least indirectly sets the world back in terms of marginalizing gay men. And for the record, I make friends of all genders and sexualities based on the high standards I set for what I feel are good personalities.