Best known for his four-legged friends, Woof Rainbow Dog Show founder Steven Oates returns to YOUR ex to bestow the virtues of friendships with straight men.

I love straight men. I know that as gay men we are prone to the odd crush on the straight guy at work, the tradie down the road or the latest star All Black, but these are not the heterosexual men I love.

Its easy to build friendship circles of people just like us. As queers, we share sensibilities, humour, taste in music, fashion – sometimes politics. Some of us even find ourselves living within a chosen family of fellow gays. We can provide each other with the support and understanding most of the outside world cant give us. The extreme version of this lifestyle can be seen in the larger cities around the world with big enough populations to support living in gay ghettos.’


As tempting as it is just to mingle with the like-minded, dont discount how amazing a great friendship can be with straight men. I know growing up gay can be tough, and its usually the straight guys that taunt and bully us. These experiences can leave a bitter taste in our mouths and tarnish our views of straight men. Why would you bother trying to be friends with them? Girls and gays can be more fun and more likely to see the world as you do. Better the devil you know, right?

This may be true for many, but never be afraid of giving someone different a chance. Throughout my life, I have been very fortunate to adopt several straight men into my chosen family, and I dont know where I would be without them. These men, although different from queer friends, offer a friendship that is just as deep and rewarding.

Friendships within the gay world can be complex. In small places like New Zealand, many people within gay friendship groups have often slept with one another. For some gays, hooking up can be their primary way of meeting and making new friends. I have seen friendships suffer when competition and jealousy creep in – lines can be blurred and feelings hurt.

Relationships with straight men are not necessarily what I would call simple,’ but being free from any agendas or ulterior motives, there can be a refreshing transparency.

My straight male friends are often the first I confide in when I am having problems of the heart. They’re not going to tell half the community, like my gay friends might unwittingly do. And when the chips are down, I’m never surprised when they are the first ones checking in on me and showing up.

Furthermore, they won’t judge me. They’re not questioning my latest hair colour or if I’ve put on a few pounds. Their minds don’t think that way, at least not about men!

Not being in the rainbow community, they can see things one step removed, which usually allows them to give balanced and practical advice. You feel their care and sense their protective natures. I know they have my back.

This doesn’t mean I dont love my fantastic gay friends, but if you only surround yourself with one type of person, you never know what adventures you may be missing out on. I believe having a diverse mix of people in your life gives you the greatest source of joy and happiness. I love everyone, but right now I want to say to the good straight blokes in this world, ‘Thank you!’

Article | Steven Oates.