Oct 05, 2016 12:44 AM GMT
NYT: Obviously, there have always been friendships between gay men and straight men, but only recently have they become more prominently, and comfortably, represented in TV shows, movies, books and blogs.
There is often a traditionally masculine sense of familiarity at play in these portrayals, exuding a feeling particular enough to suggest its own term: bromosexual relationships.
Their emerging representation contrasts with one that has become a cliché: the connection between a straight woman and her gay male best friend.
Vin Testa, 26, a math teacher in Washington, D.C., who is also an L.G.B.T. liaison for the district’s public schools, said the changes in relationships between straight and gay men have been so rapid that he sees a significant difference just since he graduated from high school. One of his greatest obstacles in coming out, he said, was something he thinks many gay men share: “the intense fear of losing those masculine friendships we have had.”
For men of an older generation, there is more distrust to surmount. “Our traditional way of thinking of relationships with gay and straight men is that they are hostile, even bullying,” said Michael LaSala, 57, the author of “Coming Out, Coming Home: Helping Families Adjust to a Gay or Lesbian Child.” “For that reason, gay men have traditionally not felt comfortable in these relationships.”
Mr. LaSala, who is gay, said he could not imagine being close friends with a straight man when he was in his 20s. In the last few years, however, he has formed a warm bond with Dr. Robert Garfield, 70, a straight man who wrote the book “Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship.” The two lecture together on the negative effects of homophobia on straight and gay males.
For gay men, Mr. LaSala said: “friendships with straight men can be very healing. When you experience a close friendship with a straight guy and that person is very accepting, it’s a balm for some old wounds.”
At the same time, striking contrasts exist in the two worlds. Gay men say it is common for their heterosexual male friends to be jealous of, or at least compelled by, the efficiency and seeming ubiquity of man-on-man hookups.
“Straight guys complain, ‘You can just meet a guy and go home and have sex,’” Mr. Toussaint said. “One hot straight guy I know complains, ‘With a girl, I have to take her out and put on all these airs, when all I want to do is sleep with her and move on.’”
On the other side, some gay men express jealousy over certain aspects of heterosexual male presentation. “Straight guys can let themselves go and no one cares,” Mr. Gregory said. “Gay men are judging each other worse than women in terms of body shaming.”