After centuries of persecution resulting in shame, suppression, and secrecy, the LGBT community is now gaining more rights as same-sex marriage laws are slowly progressing across the world. In spite of this increasing and promising progress, intolerance remains through hurtful, internalized stereotypes, and misconceptions that lead to microaggressions—indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination.
These microaggressions may not seem significant, but they actually have a great negative impact on the daily lives of the LGBT community. Here are 15 microaggressions and why they’re problematic, from the point of a view of a bisexual millennial.
1. “I’m only defending homophobic people to play devil’s advocate.”
Listen, no one needs you to do that, Jerry. They can defend themselves and you can stand against violence. Next.
2. “You’re lucky, you can have sex with anyone!”
Uh … My standards haven’t dropped.
3. “Interested in a threesome?”
As Meghan Trainer so eloquently put it, “my name is NO, my number is NO.” Stop fetishizing bisexual people, please and thank you.
4. “I had sex with a girl once, to explore.”
I had sex with a guy once, to explore not reaching orgasm.
5. “You dress in such a feminine way, you don’t really look gay.”
Femmes are just as gay as the next butch. I’m not going to cut my hair short and put on small bows to fit the stereotype and help you identify me better.
6. “Why do you feel the need to label yourself?”
Funny how there’s no issue with labeling yourself straight, but as soon as the word queer comes into play, it’s better to avoid clearly stating your sexual orientation.
7. “I’m fine with your sexuality, as long as you don’t have a crush on me.”
Oh. My. God. This one is by far the most annoying. Let’s be clear: being bisexual does not equal being in love with the entire world population. So, not only are you not my type, but if we’re friends, chances are I genuinely care for you in a non-sexual way. As long as someone does not make moves on you, please refrain from making this very hurtful comment. It’s painful to be treated as some kind of creep that will make moves on their friends and take advantage of the time they spend with their friends to satisfy some voyeurist tendencies or sexual cravings.
8. “Isn’t your partner twice as jealous?”
No, because, again, they know I am not attracted to every single person I meet. You can be bisexual and feel happy and safe in your relationship.
9. “Now that LGBT couples can get married, what’s the point of going to Pride?”
I’m sorry, did you hear about the US supreme court approving of the transgender ban in the military? Or about the country of Brunei, who has decided to punish gay sex with death by stoning? Did I mention the scary reports on LGBT persecution in Chechnya? I think it’s safe—and unfortunate—to say that we still have a long way to go when it comes to LGBT rights. Pride is a time to feel proud as an individual and united as a community, but it’s also a time to acknowledge the current issues we still have to solve.
10. “Who wears the pants in the relationship?”
In this house, we wear skirts only. Why would one of us need to be a man for this relationship to thrive? Also, can we please all agree to put an end to outdated gender roles?
11. “Don’t you want children?”
I personally believe that love makes a family, not blood. Even if you feel differently, you should not assume that LGBT couples don’t want children. Also, that question is invasive and uncalled for. Most of the time, it feels as though people believe you’ve never thought about it before and that they’re going to enlighten you and make you “reconsider your lifestyle.” No, thanks.
12. “Why did you wait so long to come out? It’s easy nowadays.”
Some people still get disowned or kicked out of the house, miss out on job opportunities because of employers’ blatant homophobia, and lose friends when coming out. It’s not your place to judge someone’s decision to wait to come out or to not come out at all. Coming from a liberal family in a country that protects LGBT people, it took me 18 years to come out and be true to myself because I was so scared of prejudice. Everyone’s journey is different.
13. “If you’re really bi … How come you’ve only dated guys before?”
Well, the whole point of being in the closet is being somewhat careful not to make any sign of your sexual orientation public, right? Even if I had dated girls before, you wouldn’t know about it. But even then, your dating history is not necessarily an indicator of your sexual orientation.
14. “I’m sorry, I just can’t picture you with a girl, it’s so funny to me.”
Ugh. When people don’t fantasize about two girls being together, they laugh about it—not helpful either. Same-sex relationships work just the same as heterosexual relationships!
15. “How can you know if you’re bisexual if you’ve never been with a girl before?”
How come you assume someone is straight even before they date someone of the opposite sex, then? Besides, you might not need to date to figure out who you like and are attracted to. Believe me, I knew way before I could do long division and understood what dating was!
If you are straight, chances are you might not understand how big a deal all these comments are, but they actually reveal the blatant homophobia and prejudice of our society. Before making such hurtful assumptions and comments, take time to educate yourself on LGBT issues. Being the target of these microaggressions is exhausting and although we try our best to remain patient and kind in the face of discrimination, we shouldn’t have to.