Queerness is not a new phenomenon, yet unfortunately, it is often treated as such, or even a trend. Although some queer people may acknowledge that particular questions or statements from straight people are not intentionally offensive, the ignorance behind them is inadmissible given the numerous informational sources that are available.
Appreciate that given circumstances somewhat pressure us to “come out”. What do I mean by that? Well, what would you do when colleagues try to play matchmaker and introduce you to a guy when you like girls? When new friends who suspect you may be queer, ask you indirect questions when trying to confirm their suspicions? What about when family members (the crazy aunts especially) ask when you are going to find a husband? These situations literally never end, and some queers find it would be more comfortable to just come out. But then the interrogation begins…
So, when did you find out?
Beloved, when did YOU find out you were straight?
Your questions are weird man, go away! Why on earth would you automatically assume that someone you recently met, feels comfortable enough to share such personal details? Some queers may be. Not all. People often establish a solid relationship before they are brave enough to ask personal questions, but the minute we disclose our sexuality (which we shouldn’t have to) the questions get fired from every direction.
Please, have some manners. Not all queers are open books. Many feel they must state what they like or who they love to avoid awkward predicaments, but no, that one “confession” does not supernaturally make you guys besties. Capisce (Cah-peesh)?
God loves you
You okay hun? Did I say something that suggests I need your pity? I don’t know if that’s a subliminal for “God still loves you despite your sins” or “You’re sinning because you feel unloved but let me reassure you”? Both are patronising. I love God too, queer faith exists regardless of whether or not you think it possible. And for irreligious people, that statement can be rather contentious.
My friend is lesbian (queer) too!
Okay, my friend is straight too? What are you saying? Thanks for letting me know that I’m normal by confirming that there are others like me.
Seriously, what an odd statement? You are not required to declare that you have queer friends, so we know you’re not a homophobe/transphobe. Some of us couldn’t care any less than we already don’t.
It confirms that you are oh-so proud of yourself being the great human you believe you are for accepting people who literally do not trouble you.
Any sentence with “lifestyle choice”
If choosing to live our truth is a lifestyle then our lifestyle is consistent with yours. You are a straight person dating a straight person; I am a gay person dating a gay person. Neither of us made the conscious decision to be attracted to that gender it is just a natural attraction, not a “lifestyle choice”. Why would we “choose” to be persecuted by the majority anyway? Common sense is really not so common if I have to state this. We are just as worthy of happiness and freedom as you are. If you don’t agree there’s something wrong here.
And straight ladies, don’t hit us with the “He’s put me through so much I might just turn lesbian” either! What did you think “turning” lesbian was gon’ do for you sis? You heard it was easy over here, huh? This just reinforces the notion that queerness is a trend, which leads to my next point…
It’s just a phase/ you’re confused
Curiosity surrounding other areas of self- discovery- religion for instance- is often respected. So why does perceived curiosity surrounding sexuality warrant disrespect through comments that denote being a lost cause? If someone states that they are queer, then that is exactly how you should take it. You are not to marginalise them. Why does there have to be a probationary period that must be passed to receive “queer accreditation”? Why must we be of a certain age to be taken seriously, when you wouldn’t tell a cisgender heterosexual child who likes someone of the opposite sex that they were going through a phase (of being heterosexual)?
Overtly expressing doubt about someone’s sexuality can make it more confusing- sometimes causing them (particularly young queer people) to feel they need to meet certain criteria; to have to prove themselves so that you believe them. It is not to be treated like a job application. Sexuality is already confusing as it is. Many ethnic minority families raise their children to believe there is only one legitimate type of love, which may evoke internalised homophobia, transphobia and self- loathing. Unlearning the only thing you know to be true is a confounding process. Also question whether you genuinely believe they are confused or if your comment stems from you not wanting it to be true. The latter is not your concern, people owe themselves a wholesome life over living up to expectations that you really have no right to hold.
What if they are confused? Why is that… wrong? If in that moment they genuinely believed they had discovered their sexuality, why is it a bad thing if they turned out to be wrong?
And what if they weren’t confused? Was “it’s just a phase” a respectful response to their coming out? How unbecoming!
Who’s the man/woman in the relationship?
Uhhh … a man, in a lesbian relationship? A woman in a gay relationship? NEXT.
How did you come out?
As I said, mind your business. I don’t know you like that. Don’t assume that we all come out (of this desolate place that nobody can locate). I personally decided that I don’t need to announce who I date, to those I’m not wanting to date. People around me used their brain, noticed a pattern with my partners, and as you know, 2+2=4 (“-1 that’s 3 quick ma….” I’m joking! Credits to Big Shaq though).
Others may have, or may want to come out. It could be or could have been the most traumatising experience for that person, and you don’t know if they have healed from it. Recognise that it could trigger their anxiety or depression. Wait for us to discuss it with you or for a definite sign that we would feel comfortable with your asking. The same applies for “How did your family react?”
What?! Queers are honestly the nicest people!
Another nonsensical response from a heterosexual when a queer person discloses that their family reacted negatively to them coming out.
“Straight people are the nicest.” Does that sound normal to you?
You definitely just exposed yourself: you do not see us as individual human beings if you assume that we are all apparently so nice because we are queer. How does one’s sexuality make them a nice person? Pointing this out to you in the moment is awkward as you probably intended to compliment me (queers), however it can be belittling. Do I sound nice right now, or like I’m biting your head off? Right.
If you are not attracted to men, why are you attracted to women who dress like men?
Since when does the way someone dress define their gender? The last person to ask me this was a heterosexual cisgender male friend- my perfect opportunity to ask him:
“If you are attracted to women, why wouldn’t you be attracted to a guy if he was dressed like a woman?”
For the life of me I couldn’t understand why my friend was speechless, as I technically asked him the same question he asked me. So long as they are not transgender, “masculine- presenting” women are still women, just as “feminine presenting” men are still men.
Listen babes, don’t worry about who we are attracted to. We are not attracted to You.
Side note: There’s a similar, very PERSONAL one that is brazenly asked (to which my answer is the same- it’s still a woman). We can predict when it’s coming too; the numerous pauses are a giveaway.
Heterosexual: “Sooo…. I-if… if lesbians are not attracted to men… th-then… why do they use a…”
Me: “I’ve gotta go, my mum’s calling”
These are 9 of the 9 million+ things that heterosexuals should not say to queers. This is not being sensitive, all I’ve done here is flip the script. If what you say to me (queer), would sound weird if I said it to you (heterosexual), then it IS.