The Gayest Friendship Fights I Had as a Closeted Baby Lesbian

Friendship fights! Friendship breakups! Frenemies! For a lil closeted baby gay, friendship conflict tends to come with a heavy layer of queer subtext. Personally, I chose to express my frustration over not being able to kiss girls by becoming overly invested in them emotionally and then fighting over really stupid things. As someone who proudly claims to have nemeses, I’ve also had my fair share of frenemies through the years. Much like Kim Possible and Shego, my frenemies and I had our fair share of sexual tension.

There was Annie, who got a Barbie cash register for her birthday and then would NEVER LET ME BE THE CASHIER. We fought over that cash register endlessly. Our Barbies also had shared custody of a poodle, which caused a lot of conflict.

There was Ryan, who beat me out for the role of the mouse king in our elementary school’s production of The Nutcracker. The role was cast based on height, and she was a fraction of an inch taller than me, so she got it. I never recovered.

There was Cass, who I met during a summer day camp. She always wore a white visor, and she was mean to me for absolutely no reason. She wouldn’t let me sit next to her on the bus on the way to camp! For some reason, I had this elaborate Charlie’s Angels-esque fantasy about her where we kicked down the emergency door of the bus together and like idk did a heist or something? She was always wearing the white visor in these daydreams.

There was Becca, who I played cello with in the middle school orchestra. We were always in competition for solos. One time, I told her I had a crush on the boy who played bass in the orchestra. He had burned me a copy of his Yeah Yeah Yeahs CD. A week after I told her about my totally hetero crush, Becca started dating him.

There was Katie, who always made fun of my sports bras and told me I needed to start wearing cuter ones. We also used to fight over who got to be which character when we taught ourselves choreography from The Cheetah Girls.

There was Allie, who I was partnered with for a civics and economics project in 8th grade. The assignment was to pretend to be roommates, and we were randomly assigned jobs and salaries and had to budget our lives together. I suggested that we share a car and carpool to work every day, and she didn’t like that idea. Eventually, our disagreements over the project made me cry.

There was Logan, who was a mean cheerleader who hung out with all the popular boys I despised (they despised me, too). But Logan was in the middle school yearbook club, and I was the editor in chief, so she would suck up to me in order to get good assignments. So I asked her to french braid my hair every day in yearbook class, and she did.

There was Susie, who told everyone I wasn’t allowed to watch PG-13 movies. Specifically, we were at church youth group, and she quoted the movie Bruce Almighty, and I laughed along with everyone else, and then she loudly declared to the ENTIRE ROOM: “Wait, Kayla, you haven’t seen that movie! It’s PG-13, so your parents wouldn’t allow you!” I cried for three days.

There was Victoria, who literally punched me in the thigh when I didn’t cry during The Notebook. She also told me it was weird to bring a girl to the 8th grade dance, even if we were going as just friends.

There was Ellen, a fellow musical theater student at the arts high school I went to. We were somehow always up against each other for the same parts, and I once accused her of trying to steal my life.

There was Jenna, my doubles partner on my high school tennis team. Off the courts, we didn’t like each other one bit. On the courts, we were a fierce doubles team that made it to states every year. I should probably write a screenplay about this one.

There was Cecily, who was also an intern on Obama’s 2008 campaign. I was the star intern in the office until she showed up. She was smart, beautiful, and I hated her!!!!!!! One time we got into a competition to see who could recruit the most volunteers, and I won.

There was Devon, who one day got so mad at me for saying another girl was my best friend that she made me sign a “friendship contract” that pardoned me for the “horrendous crime” of loving someone more than her and also established her as my real best friend. The contract was drawn up and signed in Calculus class, where she also made a girl who sat next to us sign as our witness.

There was Kate, who asked me to run lighting for her senior dance project. Much like the civics and economics project in 8th grade, I became so invested in the work that she made me cry.

There was Stephanie, who changed her Facebook relationship status to “in a relationship” as a joke because she kept telling people that Finn on Glee was her boyfriend? I thought it was a weird joke, and it made me mad, so I refused to participate in our weekly tradition of secretly passing notes about the previous night’s episode of Glee during English class.

There was Jen, who I used to get into fights with at every party we ever went to together in college. We also worked at the college newspaper together. Our fights were dumb, mostly about nothing, and always alcohol-fueled. We’re both gay now.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 847 articles for us.


  1. these posts are always so beautiful and relatable Kayla

    i remember fighting with my middle school best friend over whether or not you had be to sexually attracted to your husband or if you could just like them as a friend.

    we both date women now.

    • omg YES!

      “There was Ellen, a fellow musical theater student at the arts high school I went to. We were somehow always up against each other for the same parts, and I once accused her of trying to steal my life.”

      *eagerly awaiting new updates*

  2. I read the title of this and was immediately like, “You mean, my life?”

    In 8th grade I made fun of my best friend for being flat chested because I didn’t know how to tell her that she was really pretty.

  3. Please please never stop deconstructing your life down to its myriad repressed-baby-gay pieces for us.

  4. This is so freakin’ awesome. Your fights were way cooler than my fights. And more plentiful too, Geez you got around.

  5. I feel like the fights I avoided may have told queerer tales – like I was the only girl in my elementary school who never fought over being a certain Spice Girl. I was too busy perfecting my Harriet the Spy routine in my giant, worn year-round raincoat.

  6. KIGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!(My very first ship!!!). But I mean great article made me see my fights in a very different manner it did

  7. The closer I came to realising I was bi, the more intense my friendship feels became–though I was too passive aggressive and conflict avoidant for them to erupt into actual fights. There was a girl I was a tiny bit obsessed with (so casually glamorous, so radical, so warm), and when she got too busy to hang out with me much, I would spend literal hours sobbing about it to my boyfriend. I also spent a lot of time gushing to him about the distracting beauty of various friends, classmates and random women around campus. He figured out I was queer a good while before I did, bless him.

    • I have confirmation that at least one more on the list is but honestly…..there are probably more

  8. At Girl Scout camp, when I was 10, my friend Eileen faked a fall on a hike because she was upset that I had started hanging out with other girls. She sprained her ankle and had to be on crutches the rest of the week. I miss her!!!!!

  9. “There was Jenna, my doubles partner on my high school tennis team. Off the courts, we didn’t like each other one bit. On the courts, we were a fierce doubles team that made it to states every year. I should probably write a screenplay about this one.”

    If you write this screenplay, they have to eventually fall in love. That’s just how movies (and real life) should work.

  10. Once I was staying the night with my best friend in middle school the summer before we started high school. She snuck out to see her new boyfriend without me and I was left behind to cry on her trundle bed and listen to “Fifteen” by Taylor Swift on my iPod Shuffle until I fell asleep.

    • It was all very heterosexual, that’s what platonic heterosexual friends do. Yup. Nothing to see here.

      • Hah. Exactly.

        I had a camp friendship like that. I was soooo devastated when she started dating a guy (and by “a guy” I mean my brother, which added a whole nother layer).

        Nothing. To. See. Here.

  11. Can the next Queers IRL photo gallery be our gayest outfit before we knew we were gay? Because I have a couple doozies.

    • There’s a photo of me at three years old in overalls and roller skates. (And let’s not even talk about the period in high school when I wore cargo pants and flannel almost exclusively.)

      I’m still not out to my family, but all my friends say they’ve got to know already. :P

  12. For the most part I didn’t have fights with friends, although I had a couple spectacular friendship breakups with women friends that were more intense than any romantic breakups I’ve ever had.

    The worst friendship breakup was with my best friend from summer camp – we both came out as bi in college, independently, and while we talked a lot about our mutual feeeeeeelings for each other we never quite got together. And then we fought bitterly over something petty and didn’t talk for at least 10 or 15 years.

    I actually usually refer to her as an ex now because there’s no other term that comes close to describing our whatever it was.

  13. I would say this is relateable but…it’s not so much. My best friends growing up were from daycare and most of us are still real close (and only one straight cis person, so like idk man) and they’re basically my siblings and when we fought it was Sibling Fighting except like it was more me being the Sibling Referee bc Rules Were My Life (at home I would put myself in time-out if I misbehaved and occasionally would argue with my parents that I hadn’t actually spent enough time there for my infraction so no actually, I wasn’t allowed to leave yet. Often while crying. Because Rules, Man.)

    My other good friendship growing up turned out to be a distant cousin–we didn’t know until freshman year of high school when both of our parents showed up to see us in the school play and went “What are YOU doing here??” and surprise they’re cousins (by marriage) but the cousins that didn’t speak a whole lot because my friend/cousin’s grandfather Married A Protestant and that was Not Done so they didn’t really talk a ton.

    So basically my friendships were less gay stuff and more “surprise! we’re family now” relationships (which is still kinda gay bc chosen family is kinda gay, y’know?).

  14. I would absolutely watch that tennis movie, omg. My high school had a tennis team and my absolutely-platonic-and-no-a-gay-crush best friend was on it. So many confusingly emotional home matches.

  15. There should be at least fifteen different movies off of each one of these you’re amazing

  16. How can u remember so much? I love your brain.

    This makes me think back to awkward slumber party moments. Middle school is ROUGH. Girls are complicated.

    I still haven’t seen The Notebook, but I don’t think I’d cry either.

  17. I’ve never related to anything more!! So many emotional girl friendships over the years..

    It’s not that I ever had a crush on my best friend in high school, but we had notebooks full of letters and songs dedicated to each other, but would go days communicating only through moody facebook statuses if one of us thought the other one had chosen a new best friend and I had to be consoled by another friend when I found out she got a boyfriend at camp… the happy ending is that even though we went to the senior dance with boys as our dates, we went as Mickey and Minnie to the after party together. (Almost ten years later we live our bi lives in different hemispheres, but low key just as codependent…)

  18. I think I understand this now….in high school my two best friends and I were hanging out and the two of them realized they were wearing the exact same outfit basically and I wasn’t so they danced around for about 45 minutes in a circle being goofy and weird while I sat on the couch and tried not to cry but did a little. And I am now dating one of them? Is this one??

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