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Gay men, straight women: enduring bonds

I've known my BFF Natalie Palmer since ninth grade.

She's still my best friend 21 years later. We've shared some defining moments: her wedding and the birth of her two children; my coming out of the closet as a gay man; losing my mother at 23 years old; our 20-year college reunion. I couldn't imagine making it through any of these milestones without her by my side.

Though I have one loving sister, I easily consider Natalie a sister from another mother. More important, she set the standard for an ilk of relationship that I have grown to treasure and celebrate: the bond between gay men and their straight girlfriends.

Judging by popular depictions, a straight woman's connection with a gay man offers only the shallow benefit of an enthusiastic shopping buddy or a sassy hairstylist. But through the lens of reality and closer inspection, these relationships run deeper and wider. And there seems to be a growing acceptance of the unique duo.

Read the full column on CNN.com HERE.