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GBF: Shackling in the Midst of Liberation

The concept of a “gay best friend” is perhaps one of the most crippling labels a human can face. And, sadly, its use is something intended to flatter.

Calling someone a “gay best friend” takes gayness — an undeniably innate characteristic of one’s being — and makes it one’s identity. In a sea of redeeming qualities a person can have, the use of this term suppresses all but one: the very characteristic that was likely suppressed for far too long.

Often, this is done without any sort of consent.

What was meant to show a loved one’s lack of care for differences, instead, becomes a blinding spotlight. Our loved ones revel in our self-acceptance almost as much as us sometimes; often, they’ve watched our internal struggle for years and want to help us maintain our current outlooks on our identities.

Sadly, though, friends tend to think this is best done in celebrating ones gayness by utilizing the dreaded “GBF” label.

That spotlight is resented because of the time put into accepting one’s identity. For most, that acceptance comes from years of reflection — usually initiated by discourse and, in turn, discomfort. In choosing to welcome one’s unconventional facets, a “coming out” process is initiated.

Whether in subliminal nuisances or bold proclamations, most come to a point of public informing.

To take that delicate process and make it an identity for someone is exploitation. Still, it’s something our loved ones do daily, unknowingly.

Prefacing a gay friend’s introduction to outside sources as being your “GBF” means sharing too much; really, it speaks to failed loyalty and expected friendship confidentiality.

In coming to accept a facet of oneself, there’s a hope to be viewed as a culmination of facets, not a facet-induced limitation. And, so, for those trivializing and undermining that delicate process — through pandering to the “GBF” label — it’s worth finding a more comforting mode of establishing inclusion.

Freshman journalism and mass communication major at St. Bonaventure University
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