In 2020 when we discuss acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community, we have to acknowledge and rejoice that we have come so far. We really have. But somedays it feel like there are still miles to run to get to the finish line.
In this time of culture war and grand renaissance we're all learning. And hetero/cisgender people still need to understand a few things. The best route to understanding is empathy. If you don't know, then ask me. Ask me about my fears, my goals and my triumphs as it all pertains to my struggle as a gay man. You'll be surprised about our similarities and about what the community still must endure while you believed the struggle was over. Just don't be inappropriate.... unless you're asking me out.
Redditor u/Eat-the-Poor was hoping the LGBTQ community members would be willing to share some truths that need to be heard by asking.... Homosexuals of Reddit, what is something about being gay that a straight person would never guess is a thing you have to deal with on a regular basis?
TMIUmmm GIF by memecandy Giphy
People asking how you have sex. I've had neighbors, a former boss, and family members ask me immediately after I told them I have a serious girlfriend. Its like, you wouldn't ask a straight person that.
Like, "hey, so, I'm gay. I've been dating my gf for four years. Sorry I've been telling you otherwise."
Them: "so like...lol...how do you have sex? Who gives and who receives? Do you use toys? Lol I heard lesbians use a lot of toys. Cause you don't have anything down there, you know? Do you just lay next to each other? How does it happen, lol!"
And I'm like, "uhhhh..." As if it weren't awkward enough to tell your foolish self I'm gay already?!
Having some sort of conception of the future.
Since gay marriage is a relatively recent thing (and it came suddenly and unexpectedly) you never grew up assuming that you would ever get married, have kids, or build a home. The question of "what do I want to do with my life" really was never addressed in your younger years because you assumed there was no future for you.
If you managed not to die from AIDS or by your own hands then you were not going to have a real love life, real friendships, a family that supports you, etc. all of that was dependent upon you making the world believe that you were straight, a facade that you might be able to keep up with for a while, but not forever. Eventually the mask would slip, people would find out, and your life would slowly unravel from there.
Unlike other kids who were excited to live their dream as a doctor, a cop, a vet, or whatever else, the whole idea of the future was something to avoid for me, because I was always so certain that if I would even be alive to experience it, it would be lonely and pointless.
But thankfully none of that happened. I'm still here corporeally but that's about it. It's just that since there was never any thought put into my long term future now I'm bearing the consequences of it as an adult.
Do No Harm
People just don't understand what it's like. And there's no ill intentions in many cases!
I live in a very liberal, gay friendly area. I recently had to get tested for an uncommon urinary bacterial infection (which ultimately just turned out to just be problems induced from sitting more due to COVID WFH). The doctor saw my ring and started to go on about if it came back positive my wife would need to be tested as well, risks to women, etc.
It was strange, I actually felt bad for how she was going to feel when I had to politely interrupt her and say I was married to a man. She was absolutely mortified by her assumption and kept apologizing.
No harm. No negativity intended. But it was a reminder that in all aspects of social interaction it's just one more hurdle I need to overcome.
Always Outgay pride rainbow GIF by Capital Pride | Have Pride 365! Giphy
Once you come out you never truly stop coming out.
Every time you fly, cross a border, get stopped by a cop etc. Same question and how do the two of you know each other? I am always tempted to say "We have been sleeping with each other for 35 yrs." But I never will.
My next door neighbor that I spend a lot of time with was raised extremely religious to the point where she wasn't exposed to pretty much anything. (No Harry Potter, no news). When I told her I was bi, she had a lot of questions, but it was kind of refreshing to be able to answer honest questions without dealing with preconceptions. She was very sweet and kind about it. She just wanted to understand what she's never been exposed to before.
Never One and Done
The mini internal debate you have every time you tell a story about your SO. Do I say friend or girlfriend? Have I come out to this person yet? Is there someone in the vicinity who I don't want knowing I'm gay? If I do say gf, will the person think I'm getting political/over sharing even though they wouldn't think that if I said boyfriend instead of girlfriend? Coming out is not a one-and-done deal. You have to make that snap judgement a thousand times and every time it's scary.
Convo with Dad
The first thing that comes to mind is a few years back I was talking to my dad, and he mentioned when he met my mother, she was having serious family issues with her own father. They didn't get along, at all, and my dad helped solve the issue because the way he was raised... family was the most important thing, and he "couldn't date a woman who didn't get along with her family."
I had to tell him if that's an expectation he has for my future spouse, he better get over it before I meet her. Cause when you're gay, there's a very real chance your SO will not have a family to bring you into.
It hadn't occurred to him before then that my future wife might not get along with her family, and that our family will have to become her's instead. It's something I accepted a long time ago, but my dad really struggled with the idea for a long time.
DangerMeaning Excuse Me GIF by 1091 Giphy
Knowing that there are some people who really hate gays even though everyone today pretends they are totally cool with them, and there's always a chance decisions will be made at work that result in you not getting the promotion or straight-up getting fired.
The "It" Approval
People being overly loving of my sexuality, sometimes it feels really forced. I appreciate the support, but I feel like it's trendy to support gay people.
It's something to be celebrated. But for example, it's like acting like someone's 28th birthday is just as meaningful and a milestone as age 30.
I grew up Catholic, and my parents and friends were super against gay people. Now that it's trendy I feel like it's easier to support.
I DoEpisode 12 Showtime GIF by Shameless Giphy
Planning my wedding was a pain.
"Are you going to wear a dress? Are you going to have bridesmaids or groomsmen? Where do we sit? Are you allowed to do it in a church"
YES. Our wedding party consisted of myself, my husband, the minister, and my baby SIL as the flower girl. My husband and I walked each other down the aisle. The minister read a Walt Whitman poem. We exchanged rings and vows and had a nice buffet set out for us. No dancing, no silly games, just marriage and fake Italian food. It was great.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.