This week I went to see the movie 'Jackie Brown' with my friend Pricey. He asked me to pre-order three tickets from the cinema as his 'gay friend' was going to be coming with us. Dutifully I ordered the three tickets but then I got to thinking about the way Pricey had described his friend. I started to wonder how this guy's sexuality was in any way relevant to our going to the movies. The answer was that it had no relevance to the situation at all.
We've all done it though, at some time or another, described a gay friend (if we have any) to someone by saying "My gay friend..." As if his or her sexuality makes a difference to the situation in any way. I mean, why is it we don't describe our heterosexual friends as "My heterosexual friend"?
Perhaps I am being ignorant here. Maybe among gay people that is indeed the way they would describe me. I don't know, but again, I have to wonder about the strange convention of someone the sexuality of someone else when all you're going to do is see a movie with them?
It could all get very complicated. Imagine if the convention of revealing a person's sexuality to someone was to escalate and grow into something else. "Hello, this is John my friend who while not gay did once have an experience that in many ways could be viewed as an outworking of deep repression that for many years he has been trying to ignore." Or perhaps "Yeah, you're gonna meet Helen, my friend who would never admit to being a lesbian but who has shared a bed with at least three different women."
I didn't need to know the sexuality of Pricey's friend. It made no difference to the way I behaved toward the guy for the entire evening. But I don't suppose that will stop people from 'tagging' him as their 'gay friend' when describing him to others. Maybe it's nothing, though now I wonder how Pricey described me?