I’m not here to be a whiny, woe-is-me queer. I live in hella gay Oaktown, am in a loving relationship with a woman, and generally feel safe and accepted about my sexuality. I don’t have much to complain about. But there are still ignorant, infuriating straight people out there who have asked me some ridiculous things over the years. From my mother to my college acting teacher to many, many, many straight men, some people just don’t get it. So I am here to publicly shame them for your reading pleasure!
1. “How can you have children?”
This lovely question comes courtesy of my mother. When I came out to her at 19, she looked at me with a mixture of horror, disgust and disappointment. I had never seen that look on her face before, and it was quite jarring. Panicking, I desperately tried to soothe her by telling her I could still get married and have children. She narrowed her eyes and asked incredulously, her words dripping with disgust, “How can you have children?” Well, Mom, because I still have a uterus and there is adoption and because not all kids have a mommy and a daddy who are married and live in the suburbs. She came around eventually and is more or less fine with my homofabulousness. We’ll see how it goes when she finds out I don’t actually want kids.
2. “This might change for you, you know.”
I came out as gay early sophomore year of college. I was in a conservatory Theatre BFA program and the students and professors were like my family. We all looked up to our movement teacher and acting teacher the most. My acting teacher was a brilliant and sometimes frightening woman with high standards who cared really hard about us. When I came out to her, she smiled and congratulated me… and then told me in a warning tone that this might change for me. I mean, sure, sexuality is fluid, but it felt dismissive and de-validating to baby dyke Ash. No one would ever say that to a straight person. Lo and behold, here I am nine years later, still gayer than a double rainbow. (I’m really still gay, guys, I didn’t do it just to spite her).
3. “How can you be gay when I want to have sex with you so bad?”
This grammatically incorrect question is frequently thrown my way in varying forms from creepy straight guys who don’t understand that their wanting to fuck me has nothing to do with my own sexuality. It comes from the delightfully homophobic assumption that queer women are ugly. (Pro tip: Many queers are hot as hell). Try as I might, this question does not enrage me any less the more I am asked it. I learned at a young age that telling a guy you’re gay doesn’t make him leave you alone. After he gets over the initial shock, he’ll ask invasive questions about your sex life and try for a threesome with you and your girlfriend. Being hit on by guys get old, but I don’t let it stop me from wearing my voice by being femme as fuck in short skirts, tights and lipstick for days. Believe it or not, you can look feminine and –gasp!– not be straight.
4. “So, like, no dudes at all?”
One time, when I worked at a retail store in New York, a straight male coworker overheard someone mention I was gay. He turned to me, mouth agape and exclaimed, “You?! You’re gay, Ash?” Despite my answering affirmatively, he continued to ask me over and over before saying, “So, like, no dudes at all?” Yeah, bro, it’s part of the whole lesbian thing. It was embarrassing: we were in the workplace and I was his superior, yet I felt like I had no authority in that moment. I really don’t get why it’s so unbelievable that I am gay. Hop into my head for a moment and you’ll see just how gay I am. Or look around my apartment, my decorating scheme is “trees and naked ladies.”
5. “How do you guys have sex?”
Similar to you, except better. Because fingers and sex toys never go soft.
Featured Image: Flickr user Guillaume Paumier via Creative Commons