Leaving Heterosexism Behind

Alex is my best friend, my confidante, my lover, and my other half. When we’re together, life feels like a constant party—a type of party I never thought would be possible with my romantic partner because I thought I would marry a man.

From an early age, presentations of heterosexuality demonstrated to me that female friends are a crucial part of dating life because while men are fun for sex and baby making, they seemed to be shown as being fundamentally incapable of understanding their partner in the same way a “girlfriend” can.

In Sex and the City, the men in Carrie’s life served as a backdrop for her true love—her gal pals. In fact, the four of them (Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte) spend most of their time laughing at men or comforting one another about them.
The message seemed clear: a woman needs female friends because that’s where the fun happens.
The Sex and the City gang has the most fun with each other. Sure, the romantic dates with men are presented as desirable, but not in the same way as the sexy clubbing, classy brunches, and hilarious misadventures they have with one another. Other examples of boyfriends as a backdrop include: the entirety of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Will & Grace—though slightly altered, the concept is the same—and all Disney movies—the Prince is definitely presented as desirable, but all the fun is had with the Princesses’ trusty animal companions.

Before meeting my gorgeous Alex, my own love life followed this mold. After coming out as a lesbian, the thing that most surprised me is that this mold was shattered. Of course, it could be argued that I was incapable of meeting the right man because I’m gay. While this may be true, the differences between my heterosexual relationships and my relationship with Alex still shock me. I genuinely feel like I am living my life with my best friend. Imagine your very best female friend—all the laughter, inside jokes, crazy adventures, late nights spent talking—and then also add physical attraction and closeness and you would have our relationship.

We have “sleepover” nights when we do our nails and watch chick flicks, we both adore the color pink and anything that sparkles, and we regularly have dance parties in the kitchen while cooking dinner. Entire nights have been spent cuddled up on the couch with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream talking about our hopes, desires, and fears. I’ve run through the streets of Paris with Alex clinging to my back like a koala and laughing hysterically. There is nothing we don’t share with each other and if we ever have a fight, I don’t call up a friend, I sit down and discuss it with my partner.

I’m not sure that all of our closeness can be attributed to the fact that we’re a gay couple. I know many happy straight couples that regularly describe their other half as their “best friend.” But I do know that at least some of it can. After all, even the most understanding man can never truly understand what it means to be bloated or exactly how it feels to have cramps. Alex and I share everything together and even though being gay has put me in the battleground of discrimination, I can honestly say that I never looked back when I left heterosexism behind.