“Hey everyone, this is my lesbian friend, Dana.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this at parties or brunches, or pretty much any social event. For years I used to grin and bear it, my teeth clenched into a passable smile. No one ever introduced me as “This is Dana, the singer” or “This is Dana, she’ll crack you up!” or “this is Dana, she can be a little reserved until you get to know her, but then she’ll be your friend for life.” It wasn’t until I started writing for AfterEllen, when you could say my lesbian-ness was at its epoch, that I started resenting it. Weird how that works, huh? I guess taking charge of my identity made me realize how much more there was to me.
Today when Paper magazine brought the site Every Girl Needs a Gay to our attention, I could barely stop the steam from exploding out of my head. EGNAG is exactly what you think it is. It’s a matchmaking site for straight women to find their gay Prince Charming, for the low, low price of $20 for a three month membership. The one who will lift them out of the doldrums with a witty quip, or perhaps a MAKEOVER!!! In other words, it boils gay men down to the human version of a pashmina, something to make you feel warm and accessorized.
According to the site, “2016 has been declared the year of the GLITTER!” (Their capitalization, not mine.) Ah yes, gays are to glitter as trolling is to Twitter. We have it coming out of every orifice! We are walking bombs of glitter, just waiting to explode.
So why is a lesbian, on a site for queer women, talking about this?
Because this doesn’t just happen to gay men. It happens to all queer and trans folks, and it’s insulting as hell. But right now, I’ll stand up for the site’s target audience. I’ve known and had deep friendships with many gay men in my life, and the thought that all that intellect and kindness and love would be simplified into something so cheap, makes me angry. In one way, straight women’s love for gay men has helped tremendously the fight for equality, there’s no denying that. I know a group of straight women who have ferociously fought for equality. They stood outside in the snow and rain, marched across bridges and capital lawns. They are true allies.
“Whether looking for an online friendship or a ‘fun fling’…an occasional companion or a long-term relationship – we are here to help you connect with your next best friend.” – EGNAG
Anyone who would use this site is not a true ally. Gay people aren’t here for anyone’s amusement (unless we are telling jokes, then we are). We are people with jobs, and families, and senses of humor. We can be kind and cruel, fierce and introverted. We can be everything and anything because we are so much more than our sexuality. I’m way more interested in discussing the songs I like to sing at karaoke, than explaining my sexuality. If you want to be friends with someone simply because they are gay, you need to ask yourself some serious life questions. A gay man isn’t the balm to soothe what’s missing in your life. A lesbian isn’t just a pal you can check out hot girls with. Equality starts small. Ever Girl Needs a Gay is a giant step backwards in that.
If you want to be my friend, get to know me. The same for anyone other queer person on this planet. You don’t need a matchmaking website to do that. You just need a little empathy and an open heart.