Opinions do not necessarily represent CUIndependent.com or any of its sponsors.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Staff Writer Max Sendor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“But isn’t being gay a choice?” This is among the many questions I have gotten since I came out as gay in 8th grade. At times, the questions have been fairly legitimate, but others have been less so. Sometimes, they can even border on offensive. I try and make sure that I respond to these respectfully, but I make it clear that these questions can be offensive. I also say they can either not ask that question in the future or give them a way to ask it in a more polite way.
In this article I am going to answer and break down why these questions should not be asked.
“Are you guys brothers?”
This question comes up a lot for gay couples. I have seen it happen in public and someone asked me first hand. This is funny to me because, most of the time, they do not really look alike. It probably has to do with how the couple hang out together in such a loving way. It seems that people find it easier to assume that they are brothers and not a couple.
“Which one is the guy and which one is the girl?”
Here is another question gay couples get a lot. Society teaches us that there are strict gender roles to follow, especially in relationships. When the couple is only guys or girls, these gender roles kind of get thrown out the window. There is no girl in a gay couple, just as there is no man in a lesbian couple. Generally, there is a ‘back and forth’ exchanging of roles in the relationship. This can manifest as a more dominant person and a more submissive person, but that is about the extent of it (this also happens in straight couples too). Don’t frame gay relationships like this; both people have equal and non-conforming roles in the relationship.
“When you are on a date, who pays?”
This ties in with the previous question. One person chooses to pay or we split the bill. It changes by person and depends on the situation. Does it really make a difference to you who pays in the end anyway?
“Do you know (fill in the blank)? He is also gay!”
I find this question funny. There are so many people in the world, though the statistics on the percentage of gay men in the world are controversial . If you think about how half of the world population is male, then you might assume a number of the world’s men are gay. There are are about 7 billion people in the world, so you are asking me if I know one random guy out of millions of people. Most likely, I do not know that guy. Occasionally, I actually will and it will be funny, but most often than not, I won’t.
“Are you afraid about getting HIV?”
This question is a bit more legitimate but still not a great question. While the gay male population has the highest frequency for being HIV positive, prevention tactics have become much better than they were in the past. As long as I am having safe sex, getting tested and being vigilant about my sexual health, I do not have a need to get nervous about it. Also, if I ever did contract HIV, I know that you can still have a practically normal life anyway. There is no need to stigmatize it even more.
“Do you think it is a phase?”
I have been out for about 8 years and, at this point, I am absolutely certain it is not a phase. The majority of people, when they come out to you, are truly gay. When I receive a question about it being a phase, that means that being gay is not seen as a legitimate or valid sexuality in your eyes. It also means that you think you know the person’s identity than they know themselves. I am pretty sure that if the person is coming out to you, they have thought about it for a long time and are pretty confident that it is not a phase.
If you have ever heard these questions or thought these questions, please try and keep them to yourself or try and think of a more polite way to ask it. They are mostly based on misconceptions or fiction, so just avoid them.
And to answer the first question: No, being gay is not a choice, and it will not change. Anyone who tells you otherwise is misguided or just plain wrong.