Something I notice a lot is stereotypes about the LGBTQQA community. A lot of the time when I tell someone that I’m a lesbian, they say “But you don’t look like a lesbian”. Or when a guy tells someone he’s gay, they say things like “You don’t seem gay though”. People seem to have the idea that all lesbians are masculine, and all gay men are feminine. This does not only exclude all other gender identities, but it perpetuates stereotypes and generalizations, not to mention gender roles. Your personality, how you dress, and who you hang out with has nothing to do with who you are attracted to. I mean think about it. There isn’t really a signal to indicate that someone is straight, unless they tell you so, so why do people think they know when someone isn’t straight? Honestly, you can’t tell by looking at someone! Keep an open mind! Assuming ones sexual orientation can be hurtful! Here are some things to say to make people more comfortable:
- Instead of: Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?
- Say: Are you dating anybody?
- Instead of: Are there any guys/girls you like?
- Say: Do you like anyone?
I think you get the idea. Asking broader questions can help to eliminate tension when you don’t know someones sexuality. If someone is not straight, they might feel uncomfortable with these questions, and it will make it harder for them to “come out of the closet”. If someone is straight and you make the assumption that they are not, it puts them in a weird position as well. Try not to make assumptions, and remember that peoples identities can change!
This is a picture of me and my friend. We are both lesbians, but you probably wouldn’t assume so by looking at us, would you?