By: Shannon Foster
“Do you have a boyfriend?… or girlfriend?”
At first I think that it’s a good thing, that they considered that I might not be straight and might be in a same sex relationship. My response is the same either way, shake my head and try to steer the conversation elsewhere. I don’t want to talk about my love life to people I barely know. Ask me about my college work or what my plans for the future are instead.
But these people can’t leave the conversation at that. They assume that my dismissive response is because I’m upset at them for even suggesting that I was queer, but I’m not.
Them: Do you have a boyfriend?… Or girlfriend?
Them: Well you never know these days do you.
Them: Got to ask it that way just in case…
As a queer person, it’s incredibly alienating. They assume that just because I don’t have a girlfriend, I’m not queer. The idea of single lesbians or bi people hadn’t occurred to them. And if I don’t have a girlfriend, they try to include me in their conversations about political correctness and about the things ‘they cannot say anymore’. I have terrible social anxiety, so only feel comfortable confronting people who I’m close to, so I am forced to stay quiet, silently raging at them. Then they wonder why I’m being so quiet.
It’s worse than if they hadn’t considered that I could have a girlfriend at all. They asked the question to make me think that they are okay with it, but their response made it clear that they aren’t.
It’s a subtle type of betrayal that I can’t quite place. They aren’t telling me I’m going to hell, or stopping me from getting married, but it still hurts. It reminds me that people around me, that I thought I would be safe with, still have those views. I can never be too careful with who I chose to talk to.
I surround myself with, progressive, open minded people who I know will accept me and that I can trust. So it’s shocking when I’m reminded that most people still exclude people like me. I thought I lived in a progressive society, but I keep getting proved wrong. These people hide in plain sight, doing the bare minimum to not be called a bigot. They pretend to be accepting, but are just waiting until they are in ‘safe company’ who won’t get upset and tell everyone.
It doesn’t matter what topic it’s about: race, religion, sexism, disability. They are always there, lurking in the background, waiting to pipe up about their discriminatory views.
So, how should they ask the question? There are a few ways I can think of but not all of them will work for everyone. Most of these focus on having 1 partner, but could be adapted to fit polyamorous people too.
Is there a special someone? Do you have a Significant other/other half? Is there someone you hold dear? Loved ones?
Submitted by our fan Shannon Foster to share With LGBT News’ fans.