Do Lesbians Need Rules for the Gay Girl/Straight Girl Friendship?

GAY/STRAIGHT FRIENDSHIP: In honor of this weekend’s football related festivities, Gawker’s Brian Moylan has laid out a Contract for the Gay Guy/Straight Guy Friendship. Rules include :“We Don’t Want to Have Sex With You” and “Don’t expect that we’re going to be the guy you point to when you have to say, “I love gay people! I’m friends with a gay!”… This should be a relationship of equals based on strictly above-the-belt affection and shared interest. We may be on different teams, but as men we’re all playing the same sport.” 

Reading it, I was intrigued by how much more complicated it seems to be for gay men to have straight man friends than it is for women. Not that a humor piece should be taken as a psychological indicator of The State of Gay Friendship, but I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a similar piece on straight girl/gay girl friendships — it just seems less complicated, and therefore less funny, and in my experience has always been so. Statistically, gay men are more likely to live in Urban Centers (with accordingly higher gay populations) than gay women are, which may explain some of our perceived discrepency.

But perhaps that’s only because I am a gay woman, I’ve always had straight friends, and therefore according to my sample size of the five people I know, we seem to be on the right path. So basically we’ve got no stats to back us up on this one, but it seems that lesbians have more straight girl friends than gay men do straight male friends. Furthermore it seems that lesbians have reportedly been far more successful than gay men in actually convincing their female friends to switch teams.

What do you think, lesbians and strais? If you’re gay, do you have a lot of straight female friends? What about vice versa? What about you, small contingency of Autostraddle’s male readers, do you think it’s more complicated for dudes? Why?

What would you include in a “Contract for Straight/Lesbian Friendship”?

GAY MARDI GRAS: Animal Liberation NSW, whose 2006 float was nominated “most creative,” was shunned from this year’s gay Mardi Gras in Sydney by organizers who wanted it more “fagged up.” Says a spokeswoman: “The subsequent feedback was that our entry didn’t fit the criteria of being queer orientated, so we changed the name to Sydney Queers for Animal Rights, but [again] they rejected us. … We’re really, really disappointed. In fact, I’m just gobsmacked.” (@advocate)

QUEER SCHOOLS: There’s the Hetrick-Martin Institute’s Harvey Milk High School in New York. The Minnesota-based GLBTQ Online High School on the web. And now a new project in Los Angeles, where LGBT students will have the chance to graduate from high school without being teased, tormented, and harassed on their way to class. The school, which serves grades 7-12, is a collaboration between Opportunities for Learning, a charter school with 34 locations across Los Angeles and Orange counties, and Lifeworks, a mentoring program for LGBTQ youth sponsored by the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.”(@latimes)

V DAY: The marketing department over at New Line decided to “de-gay” the upcoming romcom “Valentine’s Day.” What, you didn’t know it was gay to begin with? Yeah, well, that’s why you have us! “[Eric] Dane is a victim of advertisement editing that eliminates the trace of homosexual relationships in a film, even though they are central to the storyline. In other words, the film’s advertisements have been “de-gayed.”” (@cnn)

SEX DOLLS: Hey! Have you heard of Real Sex dolls? They’re only the creepiest things ever, and Contexts magazine is unimpressed that CNN is covering the new sex dolls “like it’s the iPad.”

To some men, she might seem like the perfect woman: She’s a willowy 5 feet 7 and 120 pounds. She’ll chat with you endlessly about your interests. And she’ll have sex whenever you please — as long as her battery doesn’t run out.

MEN: Apparently men are about half a century behind suddenly; they’re where women were in the ’50s! Waa! Who knew? This is clearly a topic best covered by Samantha Bee, who points out that the crisis is clear enough. Men only run 485 of our Fortune 500 companies and just three branches of government. She visits the “Better Man” retreat in the woods to investigate.

GAY MEN AND WOMEN: In these trying times, John Oliver thinks we should stop letting old people serve in the senate. Because really how are they any better than gays in the military?

RACHEL MADDOW: “Tucker Carlson‘s Daily Caller website has made a habit lately of calling Rachel Maddow “a man.” The site also maintains that this is not at all offensive. We’re not buying it: While it’s not not surprising that a site run by Carlson would take cheap shots at Maddow, it’s kind of interesting that they try to claim they’re not cheap shots.” (@jezebel)

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3179 articles for us.

50 Comments

  1. Oh John Oliver. Some things are just funnier with an English accent. Like flaming decrepitude. :D
    If Samantha Bee turns gay, can she be my really funny girlfriend? And get me a visa for Canada?

    Haa I remember being really nervous about my best friend being upset when I came out because of how much time we’d spent (before I realized I was a lesbian) in a fake Facebook relationship. Sure ‘nough, a few people asked if we were together but that had less to do with FB and more to do with people assuming she’s gay more often than anyone does with me. But I’ve never felt the need to define anything really with any of my straight friends, the only times things can get confusing is when one of your pals isn’t as straight as maybe they’d believed.

  2. Honestly, it seems more important to me to lay down some boundries in an all gay friendship, cause that’s where lines tend to get blurred.

  3. So my best friend was a lesbian and I was straight…and now we are dating. I guess I strengthen your hypothesis. And now I guess I’m bi, but who cares lol.

    • how sweet! i know they often say that women have a more fluid sexuality. although personally i can’t imagine being attracted to a guy now, so hopefully mine stays the same, haha.

      also, i like your username! <3 edith piaf

  4. My work wife is straight and we’ve never had to lay down any ground rules. Most of my closest friends are lesbians but I do have straight friends too and it’s never come up.

  5. I think a more dicey relationship is “gay girl/straight roommate.” that shit needs some ground rules, take it from the girl who got whiplash freshman year from trying to stare at the wall anytime anyone took a shower.

    • A friend of mine in high school (lo those many years ago) had a convo with me after gym class while she was completely nekkid from the showers, just to see if my eyes would drop below chin level. I was up to the challenge, I must say, but it was verra painful. LOL

    • this situation was mostly hilarious for me. I lived with 6 straight girls last yr! Mostly from my experience they like to ask alot of questions about my rainbow lifestyle and we can both boost eachother’s self esteem by talking about how we would totally do eachother if things were different. (even though we never *really* would) (sometimes girl’s boyfriends don’t like this). But I love my friendships with straight girls! I’ve never really had a ‘gay bubble’ of friends, and I’m sorta thankful for that because it’s less drama me thinks.

      • living with straight girl FRIENDS is awesome, i agree! i enjoy telling my roommates they look bangin’ before they go out for the night. living with straight strangers who have been randomly assigned to you in a lottery is kind of awkward though.

        • true that is awkward at first! I only knew the 1 girl going into last yr, & thought they would be weirded out by living with a random gay girl, but ended up friends with all of them! now I only live with 1 straight boy who is my best friend/other half – which is incredibly different but just as nice!

    • Y’all are making me VERY happy to have never had roommates. Except for all those times my old girlfriend would call home and, you know, say I was her roommate.

  6. A vast majority of my friends are straight, and my best friend is a straight guy and I’ve never once felt the need to set up guidelines or boundaries etc.
    Nobody assumes I’m interested or even attracted. Even when I say things like, “Come out with me tonight. I’ll buy you a drink and tell you you’re pretty.”
    So maybe my friends are just a little more open minded than others, but in my experience there’s nothing but love and welcoming attitudes from friends, old and new. No homo.

  7. I have one curious friend and a bi sister. I have no idea of the rules that may exist for gay/straight friendships. When I meet gay people I never ask questions about there sexuality. Its rude. Plus I am already a learned person, I dazzle them with my knowledge.

    When my sister was completely submersed in her gay world and I was around her friends I would act the same as I would around my friends. Ex. I like to grab/poke things/places doesn;t mean I want to smash. Same for guy friends too.

    My sisters best friend at the time bet my sister that she could ‘turn me out’ which I thought was hilarious and told my sister to double her bet.

  8. Most of my friends are straight, but I’m not the only gay girl in our group. There is definitely no weird tension at all. If anything, they love it. It’s like the ultimate perk… lol they want to know everrrything… but I try and keep things a little under wraps.

    If I had to put any rules down, I’d probably say…

    If you’re straight and you make out with me because you’ve been drinking… you really don’t have to wig out about it… let’s be real, I’m not looking to shack/start a relationship. We’re just having fun :)

  9. I’m not sure how I feel about separate schools for LGBTQ students. On one hand, I’m happy they get to learn in an environment free of harassment. On the other hand it seems like a wrong step toward ‘separate but equal.’ When schools were/are split by race and gender, people fought against it. Black students fought to go to white schools, women fought to go to men’s schools. They knew they would have to put up with harassment, but that it was a step toward changing that. A step toward fair and equal treatment. If every kid who gets picked on gets homeschooled or goes to a special LGBTQ school, it’s going to make things worse for the kids who stay, imo. The responses from some people will be, ‘if they don’t like it here, they can go to one of those schools for people like them.’ It’s not helping the greater cause of having equal rights/treatment for all. ‘Yeah, we would like same-sex marriage and health care benefits and all that because we are people, just like you, equals. But… we also want separate schools because we are special/have special needs.’ It’s just not going to go over well, I don’t think. I don’t know.

    • In Toronto a seperate black school is seriously being established, and I feel the same way. I was like WHY ARE WE GOING BACKWARD? The main argument was more on wanting to focus more on black history to make the education more relatable, and fight off dropout rates. So it’s pretty much the same deal as LGBT focused schooling.
      IMO it seems like a bad band-aid fix to larger social issues.

      • We’re never going to learn from each other if we stay separate. My dad was teased/treated horribly in his school for being Jewish, and to a (much) lesser extent, so was I. Should we have just been driven out to an ‘alternative’ Jew school?

        I get why they do it, but I don’t know if I agree.

    • I see what you’re saying, but if you look at the kids who go to these “gay” schools, they weren’t bullied in a way typical of your average gay teen. Many are gender variant and a lot of them have been abused and are/have been homeless. These are teens who night not otherwise graduate from high school and really get a lot out of being in a safe place with a support staff.

      • I know, it’s why I’m so torn. Like Christine said, it seems like a band-aid. At the same time, I don’t know what else we can do anymore to not need these band-aid solutions. It’s a catch-22, I guess.

        • To be fair, black-only or black-power schools were big in the 70s, and I don’t know that I can say they were a terrible idea. I mean, they were a response to a time in which kids of color in white schools were treated terribly, and not only were not taught their own history but were taught self-loathing and the “inferiority” of their own culture. Granted, they don’t really still exist now, but I don’t think they were an unreasonable response to the situation, and I guess I feel the same way about GLBTQ schools. It’s true they might be a temporary or band-aid solution, but I would hate to tell kids that they just have to suck it up and stay in regular schools and be abused because taking them out isn’t a good long-term solution.

  10. Of my everyday circle- I’m the only gay girl. I absolutely have rules with my straight friends. Both spoken and unspoken. I don’t know if its the midwest thing, or our ages, or the fact that we are almost all mothers, or what. Now, I am the ultimate flirt, and I def flirt with my straight friends- and they love it. But we still have rules and lines with it. They have rules about how far they can push me too. In fact I txted my best friend, and she said we absolutely have spoken and unspoken rules.

  11. My number 1 rule for a lesbian/straight girl friendship would be:

    1.Let’s go ahead and agree in advance that when we get drunk and make out on Memorial day that it won’t be awkward afterward. mmmmk?

    I mean that might be a good rule to have in place.

    • my straight friends kiss me a lot when they’re drunk, i think that says a lot more about them than me. that being said, i love my straight girl friends more than anything. we joke around about it a lot, we have fun with sexuality, and it’s never awkward. i think it’s because they’re all really smart and if i say “you look nice today” they’re not like “OMG EW MAYBE SHE HAS A CRUSH ON ME EW”.

      • Yea, here’s another good example of where there should be a rule. Either it shouldn’t happen or it shouldn’t mean anything to either party. Shouldn’t happen is the safer bet because you can’t always control how something feels once it happens.

  12. The only one I have ever had to lay down is:

    I can’t be your experiment. It’s just not fair. I often ask them how they would feel if an attractive guy did the same.

    Other than that, flirting, cuddling, etc, I’m all cool with.

  13. I went away to uni last year, having had long term boyfriends before, and came back to my home friends with a beautiful girlfriend (yay!). Mostly they are straight girls, and they think it’s the sweetest thing that has ever happened ever, which is great. But also they get drunk and try and sit on me and all wrap themselves around me and get all whispery in my ear, which is funny a bit and weird a lot, I’ve known them since I was 11. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat. Maybe its time for some rules?

  14. The only rules that really matter are those that you and your friends set for yourselves. No need to have a blog tell me what to do!

  15. i don’t have much straight girl friends but i do have a best friend but he’s a guy and he’s gay so that’s a bit different.
    And with the few straight girl friends that have, we don’t necessarly have rules, which makes me wonder if they’re really straight sometimes. So idk, maybe i should have rules, i don’t think it makes a difference cause i’ll break them – i mean, that’s the fun part right?

  16. Most of my good friends are straight guys. Actually, I kinda have an issue with getting really friend-close with girls. Ironic much? I keep myself in check by saying: “Don’t fall for straight girls Alex! Ever. So what if she looks good in boyshorts? Stop staring! Move along.” No intentions = no stress. Sometimes I just want a lezbro who could understand all of these things…

    • My BFF is a gay boy and the people I spend most of my time with are boys, gay and straight. The only straight girls I really hang out with are those that I’ve known forever and we’re more like family so nothing weird there. To be completely honest super straight girls bore me and the rest are just really good fun.

      Alex! I think finding that perfect “lezbro” can sometimes be as hard as finding a girlfriend. But it can happen, and when it does, you’ll get to smile warm happy smiles when you both commiserate over “girl problems” lol. Good luck!

    • Does Anyone not look good in boyshorts?

      I don´t think women are more sexually fluid, it´s more that a fluid sexuality in men seems to be the ultimate taboo. And i always thought that straight guys were best at “light” Homoeroticism, i mean look at the army.

    • So true. Before I came to this mystical fairy land called womens college all of my friends were straight stoner bros and whomever their girlfriends happened to be at the moment. I definitely found that I sought out friendships with guys and avoided other girls. Maybe this is odd because on the lesbian scale I’m pretty femme, but it’s what I felt comfortable doing. Now I am surrounded by beautiful women everyday and have many many straight/gay/bi/queer/trans/whatever friends to giggle and take whiskey shots and play topless spin the bottle with. Life is good.

  17. Interesting point on the gay/straight friendship. I actually don’t have many close gay friends, in fact, all of my close friends are straight. And the only guy who I think of as a close friend is gay.LOL Maybe it differs with each country, in Taiwan, students at large pretty much accept gays and lesbians as friends. Though they do sometimes joke that me or our gay boy friend might move our sights on them, which is just slightly annoying. I haven’t encountered any hostility regarding being gay, yet.
    Some guys that I know do think that it’s easier for a lesbian like me to get the girl I want because I’m friends with mostly girls. But I have a rule about never falling for straight friends. It’s an unspoken rule between our everyday interaction.

  18. They have real sex dolls (of both genders) on display at the museum of sex in nyc. Those things are terrifying. They also have some torso available for your feeling pleasure and let me just say somebody went to town on the inside of that lady. Wow. Not fun.

  19. i have many wonderful straight, gay, and lesbian friends. and they are

    i also have a great group of “straight” girl friends who are actually really fluid. like, so what if we got drunk and made out cause i just love you y’know.

  20. I am actually navigating this now, with making straight girl friends. Usually my friend circle is pretty queer, and there’s a fair bit of flirting and goofing around in that sense.

    With straight girls, I don’t really talk about my sexuality too much, and try to focus on surface topics, or other things. Occasionally I’ll have to field awkward questions. Occasionally there’s weirdness, if a straight friend is feeling “experimental” and I have to figure out how to navigate boundaries.

    The drunk kissing thing has never occured with straight girls with me, so I can’t really say on the ground rules for that situation. I pretty much have an unspoken rule to STAY AWAY FROM STRAIGHT WOMEN in that sense, drunk or sober. An ounce of prevention and all that, in terms of drama.

  21. I am thinking of experimenting and making out wiht this girl. But I don’t know if I should because I don’t want to be gay. I just want to have the experience. It looks like so much fun. Shoud I experiment???

  22. Haha, i guess i have….understandings with my best straight female friends
    1. I’m not interested like that, fancying hetty girls is a waste of my time and yours
    2. you don’t flirt with me unless you mean business
    (unless we are super-close this includes the over-touchiness that crosses into a grey area)
    3. I will never talk to your chest or perv when you’re changing
    4. bed-sharing is A-Ok
    5. if i want to be uber-graphic, I’ll talk to my guy friends
    6. no, you can’t get off with me for male attention
    7. you only get to ask what it is lesbians do in bed once and once only.

    My best friend said if I was a straight guy she’d date me – and it wasn’t awkward – we must be doing something right.

  23. I think the reason why gay women are friends more often with straight women than gay guys are with straight men is more because of the way it appears from the straight woman’s end. Being mistaken for gay isn’t perceived as quite the insult to a straight girl’s femininity that it is to a straight man’s masculinity, since the male gaze sees lesbians as “hot” (and while there are certainly some straight girls who feel the same way about gay men, good look finding examples of that in the mainstream US media) and because in general, the pressure for girls to conform to gender roles is a lot less than it is for guys.

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