How to deal with homophobia?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by anonymous39, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. anonymous39

    anonymous39 New Member

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    I just wanted to get peoples advice on dealing with subtle homophobia. For example sometimes when I mention Pride or gay bars to acquaintances or classmates they have a weird reaction. These are people that don't necessarily know that I am gay. I mentioned something to one of my classmates about working on Pride and he said, with a kind of a disgusted look on his face, "Ehh, that should be interesting...I guess".

    I was also having a conversation with a classmate and mentioned going out to a bar (a known gay club) and he said, "was that weird? I don't know those types of people."

    I am not sure if they would say these things if they knew I was gay. I usually don't tell people straight up that I am gay, people usually find out when I am talking about someone I am dating or when I mention gay events. I am very out of the closet but sometimes I feel that people EXPECT me to tell them that I am gay within the first five minutes of meeting them. I don't think of being gay as something I need to announce, just as straight people usually don't tell me they are straight when I first meet them.

    I guess my two questions are 1) What to say to people who say things similar to the examples I gave above? 2) How do new people usually find out that you are gay?

    Thanks for any suggestions!
     
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  2. Just Me

    Just Me Well-Known Member

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    1. It depends on how involved they are/[are going to be] in my life. I either ignore them, tease them by making some hetro comment, or inform them. For the most part I ignore blatant homophobic remarks. People like that aren't worth my time.



    2. Is a tough one because I don't (I hate saying this, but don't know how else to say it) "look gay".
    With new people in my life I either mention my girlfriend and they figure it out, or if it ever comes up I just tell them. People usually get it after they ask if I have a bf...
     
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  3. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    1. It depends. If they are acquaintances, I usually deliberately misunderstand them and give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they legitimately don't know any queers, or were just caught off guard because they thought you were straight. "Yeah, it will be really interesting! I've done it a few times and met loads of cool people. Wanna come with?" Smile. Don't collude in their awkward homophobia. If they persist, or say something that's more direct, stop smiling and say something along the lines of "That's not cool. Please don't make comments like that around me."

    If they are friends or family, I'll name what I'm seeing. "You seem kind of uncomfortable. Do you have any questions about Pride, or the queer community? As an [ally, representative, queer - whatever you're comfortable with], I'm always happy to have respectful conversations." (My boss, super nice but also super straight, admitted to me and a genderqueer coworker in a bar once that she never knows how to use pronouns and is embarrassed to ask about it. She got a cheerful seminar on trans* issues from my coworker, and bought us a round. Sometimes you just have to give people the opportunity.)

    Sometimes, using this tactic, you will get bullshit. It's good to have a way to deal with it - to shut down the conversation, and to avoid participating in it.

    2. I mention my fiancee - "Oh, my partner, she's always trying these ambitious recipes...", or an ex - "I dated this woman once who...". I say, "as a queer woman...". I make a joke about coming out when I was a kid. I admit a celebrity crush on Emma Thompson. I make a comment about not having dude problems when my female coworkers are kvetching.

    I don't announce it - I just don't avoid it when it comes up. When someone is being awkward because they don't know, I find a way to bring it up. It's so much a part of my life, I usually don't have to do much declaration.
     
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